Literature-In-English Paper 3, Nov/Dec. 2014  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Main
General Comments

Question 12

Examine the use of literary devices used in ‘The Negro Speaks of Rivers’.

  • A good number of candidates attempted this question. Many of them mentioned the literary devices used in the poem but failed to makes references to lines in the poem.

    The required answer should include the following points:

    • The use of the experiential ‘I’ throughout the poem as in, ‘I have known rivers’, ‘I’ve seen its muddy bosom…’ etc. This use portrays the Negro as the participant observer of the growth and development of the chequered history of the human race.
    • The repetition of ‘rivers’, ‘I’ve known rivers’, ‘…like the rivers’, etc. this and the mentioning of the major rivers by name signifies the Blackman’s pre-eminence.
    • The use of simile: ‘ancient as the world’, ‘deep like the rivers’, etc. These similes signify the Blackman’s contribution to the making and development of world civilization as shown in the building of the pyramids.
    • The use of personification/ allusion as in ‘I built my house near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep’, ‘I heard the singing of the Mississippi…’ etc.

      Candidates’ performance was fair.

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