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The United States of America is, probably, the only country, which was the last to discriminate other nations and the first one to abandon it. But still, we have to ask ourselves a question whether these people, representatives of other nations, can be a valuable part of the society, can they form and lead some part of the society. Although it is hard for someone to understand, but law cannot form the public opinion: people from other nations feel themselves outsiders in their own country. Someone will ask where we can get this information from, and the answer is the literature. Looking through different poems, novels, etc., we can feel that authors consider themselves as true Americans, but they still do not want to forget about their native language, traditions, and history. These fishes also are involved into the process of creation general opinion, that people from other nations feel themselves as outsiders. However, it should be mentioned, that they do not regret it. For a better understanding, there is a need to turn to some examples of literature.
The first type of the literature, which is to be examined, is The Negro Speaks of River written by Langston Hughes. In this poem, the author touches the issue of roots, although he does not use this word: some textual details as veins and rivers give us this understanding. His meaning of roots has either familiar or even historical sense: while reading the poem we understand that it (poem) is much more complicated than it can be seen at the very beginnings.
Having read the poem, reader understands that rivers and veins are the history of African-Americans. The author combines history of his people and veins. He is trying to explain that it (history) is like vein: the same deep, important and twisted. The issue of how ancient the nation is, is opened through the phrases about early civilizations, the Nile and pyramids.
Moreover, these roots, which are represented by the author, are also symbols of immortal soul, which has no endings and, furthermore, its beginning is also unclear, …My soul has growth deep like the rivers…. In this phrase, the author connects himself to the Earth and its history, he shows that his immortal soul is as old as rivers, so as water, so as any type of life on Earth.
Moreover, the speaker is trying to show that the ideas represented in the poem are spoken by African-Americans, but not only by him. We can understand it, having read the line, I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young. I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep (Hughes). After that the speaker proofs his thought by speaking about Mississippi and New Orleans places, which are clearly particularly important for African-American history.
By comparing rivers with root, he, in the same time, shows that his people are as important as rivers for the world, they provide life and survival; they are integral part of the world as African-American are a part of the society. They are as vines, without which persons cannot live at all. The rivers have something like a separate location, but it does not mean that they are not important.
The speaker said, Ive known rivers…. It means that he is deeply in the history of his nation. Knowledge and identity are important for each person as they form us and make us people who we are now.
The next type of literature, which will be examined, is A Memory by Eudora Welty. This psychological example of the literature is different from The Negro Speaks of River; however, from the first minutes we can find the first common clue: the setting of the plot of both works is in Mississippi, which is, as it was mentioned, quite important for different nations.
I would like to add here the quote of Eudora Welty as it is represent the general idea of the Memory, …where external act and internal voiceless life of the human imagination almost meet and mingle on the mysterious threshold between dream and waking, one reality refusing to admit or confirm the existence of the other, yet both conspiring toward the same end… (Fuller). The author tried to show two different world, which the main character is trying to combine, but fail to do that.
From my point of view, the main idea here is also family and its general meaning. As we know, each family is different and exactly family forms us as personalities. The author creates this separation, which we were talking about, based on memory, …the greatest confluence of all is that which makes up the human memorythe individual human memory…. Here time, also, is subject to confluence. The memory is a living thing it too is in transit. But during its moments, all that is remembered joins, and lives the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and… (Fuller).
I believe that by showing the family, describing it, the author at the same time was pointing out this cultural difference, as each family is different from the others. Moreover, by describing the thought and feeling of the main leading character, she also shows us, people, as outsiders: all people are different and all of us have some traditions, visions and ideas; we are outsiders by being ourselves. However, at the same time, these differences in ourselves form the necessary combination, which gives us an opportunity to form a society.
So, after general examining, we can see that literature plays an important role in teaching society about different nations, which live inside it; now we understand that even people who were born in the United States sometimes do not feel that they are American, as they are too connected to the society which is in their blood. The authors did not want to say that they need some special attitude towards them; moreover, they did not try to change the general opinion. The authors try to explain that traditions, history and cultural awareness are as important as liberty: there is a strong need to know who you are and where are you from since the person without history is not a person at all.