Compare & Contrast Essay of 2 poems

12 Responses

  1. Differences of Poetry
    No two things are exactly alike. This applies for poetry as well. The two poems “When Black People Are” by A. B. Spellman; and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes; are two completely different yet similar works: this is because not only are the theme of the poems different, but the structure and the point of view that the poems are written in, are also different: but they also have similar attributes.
    Between the two poems the themes are different yet slightly similar. Hughes’ poem is about all people having history as one; he talks about the idea of being truly united regardless. This is done in lines four, five, and six: “I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. / I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep. / I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.” Hughes’ used the names of rivers to emphasize the idea of all people having history since all the rivers are on different continents. In Spellman’s poem he talks about how modern African-Americans are either united and fighting each other, or united and fighting an outside force. This is shown in the first stanza when he says: “When black people are with each other we sometimes fear ourselves/ whisper over our shoulders about unmentionable acts & sometimes we/ fight and lie. these are something’s we sometimes do.” These themes show that they have a common topic but their themes are still different
    The structures of the poems are noticeably different just by looking at them; but are similar in format. Hughes’ poem is composed of twelve lines and written in free verse, with a rhyme scheme of: a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, c, c, c. There is slight rhyme because of the repetition of rivers: “ My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”; “I’ve known rivers:/ Ancient, dusky rivers./ My soul has grown deep like the rivers.” Spellman’s poem is also written free verse but is composed in stanzas with a rhyme scheme of: a, b, c ,d ,b, e, f, g, c, h, i, j, j, b, j, k, l, k, m, n, l, o. Also with Spellman’s poem, as with Langston Hughes’, there is repetition of words but there is no rhyme pattern: “& the white army moves like thieves in the night mass producing/ beautiful black copies & then stealing them away while my frequent/ death watches me from orangeburg on Cronkite & I’m oiling my gun &/ cooking my food & and saying “when the time comes” to myself &/ over, hopefully.” They have similar format and both have some elements of rhyme, but other than that they have nothing in common.
    The point-of-view of the poems, or POV, are once again similar but different. The two poems are both written in first person. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is written entirely in first person singular. The pronouns used are: “I’ve”, “my” and “I.” For example: “I built my hut upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.” In “When Blacks Are”, Spellman switches back and forth between first person singular, first person plural and second person POVs, using the pronouns: “we, “ourselves”, “I”, “our”, “you’re’’, “I’m” and “us”. For instance: “When black people are with each other we sometimes fear ourselves/ whisper over our shoulders about unmentionable acts & sometimes we/ fight and lie. these are things we sometime’s do,” They both use first person singular, yet Spellman uses first person singular and second person.
    “When Black People Are’’ and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers”, have similar characteristic within their themes, structures, and POVs but they still have their own unique attributes. Whether it’s more than POV, a difference in in a topic, or even just changing the way the poem is structured; you can find differences in poems no matter how similar they seem.

  2. Kaylan Roberson
    July 13th, 2011
    2nd hour: Poetry
    Spellman and Hughes
    The two poems, “When Black People Are” by A.B., Spellman and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes are different because they have different themes, different tones but, share the same subject. These two poems were brought to my attention during class and they are truly amazing poems.

    The theme of “When Black People Are” is modern day blacks. Today blacks are still being portrayed in an ignorant and rude manor. On TV shows they make us look ghetto, aggressive, or dirty. An example of this is when the author says “…… sometimes we fight & lie.” I’m very sensitive about this because there are so many black today who are successful. There are black CEO’s, billionaires and millionaires. Yes it’s true that blacks has problems but what race/culture doesn’t? This poem helped me to realize that when blacks are together they either gain strength or fight. Of course, I’m praying for more strength in the black community. The theme of “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is the origin of blacks. The author uses an example of this when he says, “I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.” This poem discusses the importance of being black. It goes through a historic timeline of where are race originated from. This poem also has some major events in it. Reading this poem allowed me to realize that we are all one race whether were black or not.

    The tones in these poems are very different as well. The tone of “When Black People Are” is timid and bittersweet. The author says, “Times like this are times when black people are with each other & the strength flows back & fourth between us like borrowed breath…” It’s bittersweet because he discusses the bad and good of our race. The author wanted to inform us that we must learn to love on another and strengthen each other instead of killing or fighting each other. He just wants us to be aware of the things going on around us today. The tone of “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is proud, arrogant, and egotistical. I felt like this was the tone because throughout the poem the author kept saying “I” went here, “I” seen that and “I” heard this. For example he says “I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.” He also says “I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.” Yes he was educating us but I feel as though he could’ve educated us better by just listing the major events instead of saying he went there and done this.

    I like the topic of both poems. The topic is across about blacks. Both authors did an excellent job on giving their view on the black race and I respect both views. I also like how these poems favored each other. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” showed the growth of blacks and “When Black People Are” told us to keep the strength strong and not to let that die with modern day blacks. You know each poem is about blacks because of the titles themselves.

    I like how these two poems have different themes and tones but, share the same subject. Both of these poems have impacted me in a great way. I’m excited to know that we are reading poems about my race and it’s not Black History Month. The depth of these poems is truly amazing. I must say these are two poems I really like.

  3. Similarity’s in the Poem

    The poems “When Black People Are” by A.B Spellman and the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes are similar because of these 3 things: both talk about African Americans, neither have rhyme scheme, and there both free verse poems.
    The two poems by A.B Spellman and Langston Hughes, both talk about African Americans because A.B Spellman mentions that “When black people are with each other we sometimes fear ourselves”. That’s basically saying black people can’t be themselves around other black people. Langston Hughes was talking about the flow of human blood.
    There should always be a rhyme scheme if there is a poem. In these two poems, there aren’t any rhyme schemes because I guess they felt like what they had to say couldn’t possibly rhyme. Langston Hughes could have said something like “dusty” and “muddy” to make a rhyme scheme. Langston Hughes uses rivers 3 times in a different line, that’s a little bit of rhyme scheme but not a lot.
    Free Verse is a type of poem that both poets decided to use for their poems. A free verse poem is also another way of saying it has no rhyme scheme. The poets A.B. Spellman and Langston Hughes had no other poetry method to use but the free verse. A free verse example from “When Black People Are” is “It is the fear of winter passing and summer coming to my door saying hit it a.b., you’re in it too”. Free verse from “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.”
    In the result these poems take apart of similarity. They both talk about African Americans, no rhyme scheme, and there both free verse poems. I enjoyed reading these 2 poems by A.B Spellman and Langston Hughes.

  4. Salome Curtis
    2nd Block
    7/13/11
    Spellman vs. Hughes
    In most works of writing you can find similarities. In the poems “When Black People Are” by A. B. Spellman; and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes, there are similarities that can be drawn: These similarities include: lack of rhyme/ rhyme scheme, a free-verse structure, and the common topic of black people.
    In the poems “When Black People Are” by A.B. Spellman; and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes share many similarities. For example, both poems have no rhyme structure. There is repetition of words but no exact pattern. Spellman’s Rhyme scheme is a,b,c,d,b,e,f,g,h,I,j,j,b,j,k,l,k,m,n,l,o. The rhyme scheme in Hughes poem is a,b,c,d,e,f,g,h,I,c,c,c. Hughes poem is written in first-person The poem has some type of rhyme scheme because of the word river used more than once. For example “My soul has grown deep like the rivers” and “I’ve known rivers: Ancient, Dusky rivers”; which can be found in line’s three, ten, and eleven. The
    Both poems also are written in free-verse format; that means they have no set pattern of any kind. The poems have no set structure that they must follow. A line length varies throughout each of the poems. Another example that can be used is the lines do not rhyme. In “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” lines one and two quote “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and other than, the flow of human blood in human veins”. In the poem “When Black people are” lines eight and nine quote “it is fear of winter passing & summer coming to my door saying hit it a.b ,you’re in it to”; these lines are wrote out in a paragraph form.
    Last but not least, the subject matter of both poems is African Americans. The poem “The Negro speaks River” by Langston Hughes; he speaks more on the ancient blood of our African Americans. Hughes goes back to the root of African American history. The repetition word of “rivers” is compared like the heart and soul of the African American community; ancient and wise like the dusty rivers. In the Poem “When Black people Are” by A.B. Spellman he also speaks on are black people as a community. Spellman Speaks of our fears and how we fight; but still come together as one. A good quote he stated was “Times like this are time when black people are with each other & strength flows back & forth between us like a borrowed bath…”
    These poems are two outstanding poems. I would encourage everyone to read these poems and really analyze what they are saying because their words are deeper than what is being written on paper. Even though the theme and topic may be slightly different you can still draw out similar ideas. These are only to examples of activist poets that convey a similar message.

  5. African American Poems

    The two poems “When Black People Are” by A.B. Spellman and the “Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes have different themes and tones but, they share the same subject.
    The poem “when black people are says that when black people stick together they become stronger But sometimes when black are with each other we sometimes fear are self’s”. I agree with that quote because some times when us black people are together there are those ones that like to act ignorant and crazy, then you have those ones with class and well behaved so if you mix those two together then you will have those who will come together and ones who won’t. ”Negro Speaks of Rivers” talks about were African Americans come from and there origins. Langston Hughes talks about what he seen throughout his life and some of the things he has done. Like when he says “my soul has grown deep like the rivers” he means his soul has grown deep as an African American.
    Similarities in these two poems are there subjects. These two poems are discussing the life of Americans. They both are talking about African Americans and some of the things that they have done, and the things that black people. Had to deal with and go threw in the past dealing with segregation.
    The tones in the poems have their differences also. The tone of “The Negro Speaks of Rivers “is egotistical, self-centered and arrogant I believe this is the tone because through the whole poem the author repeatedly used “I” for example he says “I bathed In the Euphrates when dawns were young” yeah he did a lot but I feel that he could have said something else that a different person has done. The tone of “When Black People Are” is humble and bittersweet. The author says “when black people are with each other we sometimes fear ourselves whisper over our shoulders about unmentionable acts & sometimes we fight and lie” it’s humble because he is making our race seem inadequate.
    Both of the poems “When Black People Are” and “Negro Speaks of River”. Have their similarities and differences. The differences are the theme and tone and the similarities are the subjects. Both poems have the same meanings and the same views about African Americans but there just written different. Both poets have seen a lot of things that has to deal with segregation and they mention that in their poems.

  6. Shauntara Thomas
    Two Poets, Two Minds
    Have you ever read something and felt like you were part of the story? That’s how I felt after I read the two poems “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes and “When Black People Are” by A.B. Spellman. The three main parts I’m going to talk about is how they have the same format, different themes, and different tones.
    In both poems there’s no rhyme scheme at all, or rhyme. When they don’t have a rhyme scheme it’s considered a free verse poem. When you read the poem it’s like they’re telling you a story instead of a poem. For example “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than…” and A.B. Spellman says “It is the fear of winter passing and summer coming to my door saying…” They’re both still poems but the way they tell it is like a story.
    Even though the poems have the same format, they do have differences. For instance the themes of the poems are very different. In Langston Hughes’ poem “I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.” He’s basically talking about how we are all one race no matter if you’re black, white, pink or purple. In A.B. Spellman’s poem “Times like this are times when black people are with each other.” His poem is pointed towards one minority [blacks] he talks about African-Americans gaining and fighting for strength together.
    Lastly, the tones of the poems are also very different. A.B. Spellman’s poem has more of a bittersweet, confident, and faithful tone because he say’s things like “But I remember driving from Atlanta to the city with stone and Featherstone…” On the other hand Langston Hughes has more of a proud, arrogant, and egotistical tone to his poem. In his poem he say’s “I’ve known rivers: Ancient, dusky rivers. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”
    I enjoyed reading both of these poems. What makes these poems so unique is how it’s two different poets; two different minds but they both have their similarities and their differences. Two different meanings but it’s like they were both trying to express the same ideas in their own words. Two different tone one was faithful and one was arrogant. Both poems were free verse, which I liked because it’s more like a story and I can put my self into their shoes.

  7. The Two Poems
    The poems “When Black People Are “ by A.B .Spellman and the poem” The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes have some similarities and differences because they both talk about the same subject of black people ,they are both free verse , and a difference is that in the first poem is written in stanzas and the second one is written in lines.

    In the poem When Black People Are is talking about how African Americans can either fight with each other or they can gain strength when together. An example of that is” Times like this are when black people are with each other and strength flows back &forth between us like borrowed breath…” In the poem The Negro Speaks of rivers it is talking about black people it is talking about we are all one race weather of not we are black. “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins”.
    In both of the poems “When Black People Are” and in “The Negro peaks of rivers” they are both free verse meaning that they do not have a rhyme scheme in the poem ‘When Black People are” in the first stanza it says “Ourselves”,” We”,” Do” and that does not rhyme and in the poem ‘The Negro Speaks Of Rivers” in the first stanza it says “Than”,” Veins” and that does not rhyme either.
    In the poem “When Black People Are” it is written in stanzas for example it says
    “When black people are with each other we sometimes fear ourselves whisper over our shoulders about the unmentionable acts & sometimes we fight &lie. These are something’s we do.”
    And in the poem “The Negro Speaks” an example is
    “I’ve known river ancient as the world and other than the flow of human blood in human veins”

    That is how the poems “when Black People Are” by A.B. Spellman and the poem ‘The negro speaks of Rivers” By Langston Hughes are the same and are different and the same. Some ways that they are different because the poem “When Black People are” by A.B Spellman is written in stanzas and the poem” The negro speaks of rivers” by Langston Hughes is written in Lines. A way that they are the same is that they are both free verse.

  8. Hughes Vs. Spellman

    The two poems When Black People Are and The Negro Speaks of Rivers are similar to me because both were talking about African American’s and what they went through, that’s how I believe the poems are similar because of topic. The details that were used though out each poem showed me what each writer was trying to say. The two poems were free verse, they talked about African American’s and had different settings.
    Langston Hughes and A. B. Spellman poems were both free verse poems. Free verse poems are when poems don’t have to rhyme. The poem could be written without a rhyme scheme and could be written off the top of your head.
    The title told me what I was about to read. Even before I started ready I knew that the poem was going to be about African Americans and things that that happened with them. The title had gave away what I was about to read. But before I started reading I didn’t know what was going to be said in the poems. Langston Hughes and A.B Spellman titles told me that they were going to be talking about.
    The two poems were written in the same setting really. That’s how I feel about it. The poems setting was down south were most African American’s stayed at. Langston Hughes and A.B Spellman told me by the way they wrote the poem that it was down south.
    Both poems are similar because of the things that were in it. I really believe that they were similar and people should agree with me. A.B Spellman and Langston Hughes really had things in common in their poems. If you were to look at the poems you would probably see what I see. Everything I said in this paper is my opinion.

  9. Spellman & Hughes
    In the two poems “The Negro Speak of Rivers” by Langston Hughes and “When Black People Are” by A. B. Spellman, there are differences and similarities: they both are free-verse poems, because they don’t have rhyme scheme; they both talk about he struggles that the African-Americans went through; and they also both talk about how we can connect with one another in hard times and become one, or we already are one no matter what race you are. These are both good free-verse poems and they are similar though they also have their differences too.
    The first similarity is that they both are free-verse poems because they don’t have a rhyme scheme at all. It seems as if A. B. Spellman told his poem off the top of his head: “I sometimes would walk from wall to wall fighting visions…” But not any of the lines correlated with each other at all. In Langston’s poem he talks about the rivers which don’t end in words that rhyme. And I believe they both decided to do free-verse due to the fact that they wanted to express their thoughts. They wanted to let the reader know what was really going on inside of their head, and what they really felt. That is why they are both free-verse poems.
    Also I believe both of them were trying to say that even though us African-Americans do fight and argue all the time, when we need one another, we come together and fight as one: “Times like this are time when black people are with each other & the/ strength flows back and forth between us like borrowed breath…” It happened in the slavery days in books that I read. Everyone went through hardships and had their own problems to worry about. But, it really didn’t matter because even though you might be distant from that person, it doesn’t mean that you’re ever too far away. By this, I mean that you can call on that person because you guys know that you are a family and you need to lean on one another in hard times

    In this poem they both took different tones because they both had a different mindset than one another and wanted the reader to think differently of both of theirs. In A.B Spellman was kind of bitter sweet because he was talking about how black people come together and cherish each other when we need it the most and this al happens during when we are going through hard times. In Langston Hughes poem he had a very egotistical tone because he was saying how he does this and what he saw and being just a very cocky person like the quote that he said “I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young”. And basically just trying to brag about what he did and also accomplished but that is the tone that he took and from my personal opinion I would say it was like ying yang in that matter.
    In these two poems we found out the difference and the similarities that they had and what they consisted if. Both of them put imagery in my head of what they thought and also what they did they are two great poets who did two great poems. And basically just trying to tell us the history and the struggles that the black people went through and the writers did a great job at these two poems.

  10. Compare and Contrast
    The poems “When Black People Are” and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” are similar and different in some ways. These poems are free verse, The themes are different, and One poem has reputation and one doesn’t.
    In free verse poems you don’t have to write it a certain way. But in “When Black People Are” is written in paragraph form. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” is written in Single line form. In free verse poems you can really express yourself without having to write in a certain way.
    The theme of “When Black People Are” is talking about African American’s coming together as one and uniting. If we unite as one then we can live in a safe place. In “The Negro Speaks Of Rivers” its saying we’re all one. It is saying that were all not going to always get along.
    In “When Black People Are” there was little repetition. When it says “& when alone I sometimes walk each other we sometimes we fear ourselves whisper.” Paragraph 2 and 4 start off with the “&” symbol. In “The Negro Speaks Of Rivers” there’s a little more repetition. Sentence’s 1, 3,4,5,6, and 7 rhyme. It says “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.”
    So, as I stated before these two poems “When Black People Are” and “The Negro Speaks Of Rivers” are similar in many ways. Their also different in ways as well. They both have reputation. These are very fine poems.

  11. Spellman & Hughes

    The poems that I will be comparing and contrasting are “When Black People Are” by A.B. Spellman and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Langston Hughes. There were a lot of similarities and differences between both poems. The three that stuck out to me where both focus on African Americans, both were free verse, and the themes in both poems differ from one another.
    In both poems the authors discuss African Americans. The poems go way back to the olden days. Like when things weren’t that easy to be African American. You would know that both poems are about black peoples simply by the titles of each poem. Spellman also uses the words black people quite frequently.
    Not only did both poems have rhyme scheme but they also have free verse. These poems don’t even have a constant rhythm. There is no pattern in either poem every line is always different. For example in Langston Hughes poem he says “My soul has grown deep like the rivers. I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young”. There was no form of rhyme scheme or rhythm in the lines above. These poems are definitely free verse.
    Although these poems were about African Americans the themes of the poems were different from one another. In the poem “When Black People Are” the theme of the poem was about modern day African Americans. In the beginning of the poem he opens by saying “When black are with each other we sometimes fear ourselves whisper over our shoulders about unmentionable acts & sometimes we fight & lie. These are something’s we do sometimes”. In the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” the theme is about the origin of African Americans. He starts by saying “I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins”. Both authors give you the theme of their poems in the first few lines.
    The poems “When Black People Are” and “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” were two really powerful poems. I really enjoyed reading them both. I enjoyed reading them because of the messages that I received from them both. Both poems had similarities and differences, the ones that stuck out to me were they both focus on African Americans, they both were free verse, and the differences of the poems were the themes.

  12. Compare and Contrast Essay
    Anthony Murphy
    1st hr
    Three differences between the two poems The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes and When Black People Are by A.B. Spellman is format, phrase repetition, and tone. Format, phase repetition, and tone in these two poems stuck out to me because they were so different in each of the poems.
    The two poems have different formats. In A. B. Spellman’s When Black People Are was written in full stanzas with at least two lines in them. Unlike Spellman’s poem, Langston Hughes poem The Negro Speaks of Rivers was written in lines rather than stanzas. Langston Hughes poem was short and direct and to the point but A. B. Spellman’s poem was detailed and longer.
    Also the usage of word or phrase repetition in the two poems is very different. A. B. Spellman didn’t repeat any phrases. Langston Hughes on the other hand repeated two phrases “I’ve known rivers” and “My soul has grown deep like the rivers”. These phrases in Hughes’s poem were repeated to put emphasis on the point at hand. I assume that Spellman didn’t feel that repletion was necessary.
    The tone of each poem is very different. In The Negro Speaks of Rivers Hughes sets a proud and confident tone. For example he brags about where he has been and done, “I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.” And in the next line, “I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.” But in A. B. Spellman’s When Black People Are has a more timid and fearful tone. For example “I t is the fear of winter passing & summer coming to my door it a. b., you’re in it too.” These were examples of how the tones are different in the two poems.
    I’ve talk about the differences between the two poems format, phrase repetition, and tone. I have also gave examples and reasons why they are different. These are legendary poets and famous poems but they are very different.

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