In five pages this paper explores how the poet employs such literary devices as metaphors in these poems to illustrate the power of language to readers. Two sources are cited in the bibliography.
Power of Language in Langston Hughes Poems The Negro Speaks of Rivers and Mother to Son , -- for more
information on using this paper properly! There is perhaps no author who understood the power of language and utilized it more masterfully than Langston Hughes (1902-1967). The
blank page was this artists canvas upon which he painted vivid word pictures that chronicled the history of the African-American struggle. Hughes wrote novels and essays, but it was
his poetry that defined for many African Americans what it meant to be black and to be proud of their heritage. Black was more than a color; it was
a tradition, a culture, and an approach to life that was handed down from one generation to the next. In two of his earliest poems, The Negro Speaks of
Rivers (1921) and Mother to Son (1922), Hughes eloquently speaks of the black experience in a language that is symbolic, poignant, and inspirational. These works rely heavily upon metaphor
that serves to reinforce the poets powerful message. The Negro Speaks of Rivers was a poem Langston Hughes penned while still a teenager while crossing the mighty Mississippi River (Tracy
65). He and his oft-estranged father were going to Mexico to become better acquainted (Tracy 65). This is important because the poem is, in essence, about African Americans
becoming reacquainted with their past: Ive known rivers: Ive known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul
has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.