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This is all about illustrating how the river symbol is developed throughout the course (sorry, terrible pun) of the poem. What you are going to do is use a flow chart style to track the progress of the river symbol as the poem continues. This will help to reinforce ideas around how Hughes controls the image to ensure the reader only gets particular meanings out of it. The symbol is introduced to the reader. Its significance is currently unknown and only suggests to us that the speaker has known of rivers, which suggests that the speaker has a connection with the natural world.
I ve known rivers
Next line that develops river image
So the idea is that on the arrows you quote lines that develop the river theme and then in the boxes you explain how the river image is modified, how it shifts/changes and what significance that has.
T-Charting the Course of the River
This activity is about getting you to track the development of the river image through a nice simple T-Chart. It demands that you select important lines from the poem that significantly modify the river image and then explain how the image is changed and what the implications of that might be. Line from the poem I ve known rivers How the symbol is developed/implications The symbol is introduced to the reader in the opening line. The connotations are open as the poet has modified the noun in anyway. However, the phrasing does imply a connection between the speaker and the river. We therefore ask okay, so what? Why is that important? and so an ambiguity is built for us, to some extent demanding we read on.
You don·t need to do every line that modifies the river image, but you should have a range of 4 -5 different possibilities to write about so that you know that can explain how the image is developed across the whole poem.
This is straight-up analysis and demands that you engage with the broader ideas of the poem by interrogating a specific aspect of the poem. You will need to have a think about the broad statement that is given to you and then work towards crafting an argument that expresses your opinion. I expect that you·ll make use of multiple pieces of evidence to illustrate how the poem as a whole is working, rather than just focusing on individual moments. Topic for analysis: ´Symbolism takes an individual experience and makes it universalµ To what extent is symbol used in ¶A Negro Speaks of Rivers· to express a universal experience/sensation/way of seeing?
Analyse This«Point of View
This is straight-up analysis and demands that you engage with the broader ideas of the poem by interrogating a specific aspect of the poem. You will need to have a think about the broad statement that is given to you and then work towards crafting an argument that expresses your opinion. I expect that you·ll make use of multiple pieces of evidence to illustrate how the poem as a whole is working, rather than just focusing on individual moments. ´Poet·s use their speakers to give us a different set of eyes to see throughµ Explain how narrative point of view is used in ¶A Negro Speaks of Rivers· to help the reader see differently.
A Negro Speaks of Rivers: The Graphic Novel
This activity is all about how you visually represent that development of the river image. What you·ll need to do is create a comic strip that shows the development and progression of the river image. I imagine that the first image will represent the line ´I·ve known riversµ and will show something fairly sim ple that expresses the connection between the speaker and the river. As you continue on, your imagery will become more complex and will change as Hughes changes up and modifies his image. The expression of your understanding will be expressed in your imagery ² use the lines of the poem as captions, speech bubbles, etc.
I ve known rivers
Okay listen, here·s my argument«
This is about taking a broad statement and making a stand using the poem as justification. This is the kind of thing that they do at scholarship level (but they don·t tell you exactly which text to talk about) and it demands that you construct a full argument that draws on evidence from various parts of the poem to support your thinking. With this particular statement, I would like to see you focusing on the use of narrative point of view and some ideas around both the individual ¶I· aspects of the point of view as well as the wider ¶we/us· aspects that Hughes combines into his individual narrator. ´Successful poetry makes room for the reader to become someone else and, as a consequence, opens them to ways of seeing that would previously have been impossible.µ Explain the about statement with close reference to ¶A Negro Speaks of Rivers·.
Character Profiling the Speaker
For this task, your job is to investigate both the individual and collective aspects of the speaker in ¶A Negro Speaks of Rivers·. To do this, you·ll need to draw an outline of the speaker. The one on the left is pretty rubbish, so you should draw what you think that speaker might look like ² it doesn·t necessarily have to be human. Then, on the inside you need to write some quotes. These quotes should relate to the individual experience that Langston Hughes is expressing ² stuff that tells us about this speaker as an individual. With each quote, you need to write an explanation. On the outside you will write more quotes. But these will relate to the collective experience that is being expressed ² so what are some lines in which the speaker represents a whole community? What is that community? And how does that line achieve that purpose?