Student: Joyce Chen
Student number: 485220526
1) The Negro Speaks of Rivers (p.761)
Rivers play an important rule in human's history. It's obvious that all of the ancient civilizations and big cities
were established along rivers. In the past, water resource was more important than nowadays because they
didn't have "tap water" system. JBesides, the quality of soil that is along the rivers is better than other places.
The human civilization is always related with rivers, even now. Those rivers that Langston mentioned in this
poem are all significant. For example, the Eupharate is the "young dawns" in the history of human civilization.
The drainage basin of the Congo had developed the civilizations in the middle Africa. As to the Nile, it is the
cradle of the great Egypt Empire. Those rivers are VIVID. They are the witnesses of the history. Besides,
those rivers are all related to color people (not white people) and that is why Langston said "dusky rivers".
He mentioned about the Mississippi because it is located in the South American, the first place where
those Negro slaves arrived. After Abe Lincoln declared the liberalization of the Negro slaves, their world
was just like that sentence: its muddy bosom turns all golden in the sunset. It's a beautiful scene.
There appear a lot of repetitions, especially the three words in the first line. (I've known rivers.)
I think that Langston tried to emphasize on the close relationships between human's cultures and rivers.
Those repetitions gave me the feeling of rhythm. His soul grows deep, just as those ancient rivers keep
on flowing in the history.
2) Those Winter Sundays (p.692)
This poem can be compared with "My Papa's Waltz" because they both mention about the relationships
of family members, especially between the father and the son. In this poem, we see many descriptions,
such as "blue-black cold", "indifferently", "breaking and splintering" and "chronic angers". All of them make
me feel alone, cold, regardless and painful. It seems that there is no warmth and emotion in this house,
the place where they lived. As to the atmosphere, it was the same situation. The weather was cold, but it
seemed that the inside of the house was colder.
About the portrait of the father in this poem, he worked very hard, even in weekday he can't get a rest. His
hand was ached and cracked by the labor, but NO ONE appreciated him. I believe that he was like Chinese
traditional father, who never showed out his love and care in action or words. He only revealed his pain and
tiredness in his life to his son. That is why the boy feared about his father and didn't understand the austere
and lonely "love" from his father' actions. Differed from "My Papa's Waltz", in that poem, there are still some
close and good feelings between the father and the son. As to this poem, I can not see any tenderness and
kindness in the words. The father has made the fire and polished his son's shoes, but there was no emotion
in those actions. Just like the boy said, he didn't know of those love's cold and lonely "offices".