Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,3, Dresden Technical University (Amerikanische Kultur- und Literaturwissenschaften), course: Harlem Renaissance, language: English, abstract: Hughes had always been a part of small black communities, to whom he was strongly attached (Black Renaissance Reader 1251). He felt a strong racial pride, although his father, according to Hughes, hated himself for being black, and although Hughes experienced the vilest forms of discrimination (St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture). One incident in Hughes' childhood shaped his point of view profoundly: During the McCarthy hearings, Hughes reported that his schoolmates stoned him on his way home from school. But one of his schoolmates, a very small, white youth, protected him. He had never forgotten this youngster standing up for him against these other first graders who were throwing stones at him. He goes on to indicate that he had always felt from that time on that there are white people in America who can be an African American's friend. Hughes also emphasized the fact that he never said anything to create a division among whites or African Americans. For that reason I am of the opinion that Hughes' poetry never became a bitter undercurrent, but was shaped by both his positive and negative experiences. According to Karen Jackson Ford, the one thing many readers of "twentieth-century American poetry can say about Langston Hughes is that he has known rivers" (Do right to write right: Langston Hughes's aesthetics of simplicity). "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" became famous for the elevated, declamatory mood, mythic scale, and compelling cadenced repetitions. But however beautiful the poem's cadences, it is remembered primarily because it is Hughes's most frequently anthologized work: "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is one of Hughes' most atypical poems, and nonetheless it defined his reputation (Do right to write right: Langston Hughes's aesthetics of simplicity). In view of the history and experiences that Africans have faced in America, the affirmation by Patricia Liggins Hill that "African American Writing is both a product of, and a response to, its own historical and cultural context" (768) seems to be vital for interpreting Langston Hughes famous poem "The Negro speaks of Rivers".
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