Poetry Analysis: A Dream Deferred By Langston Hughes

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Hanna Santaren Mrs Maria Pia Reyes English Language Arts 9 5/10/2017 Poetry Analysis: Langston Hughes’ “Dream Deferred” INTRODUCTION “Dream Deferred,” more commonly known as “Harlem,” was written by African-American poet Langston Hughes in 1951. Hughes was an activist for the African-American community in America. According to biography.com, he played a big role in the Harlem renaissance which was a cultural movement the promoted the acceptance of black people and culture. The oppression in the USA was still apparent during the time “Dream Deferred” was written. Although the poem doesn’t target the group specifically, it may connect to the struggle of the minority to achieve the “American Dream.” According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary,…show more content…
Similes can be found in most of the lines. The use of the word “like” in lines 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10 compare very different concepts to a deferred dream. In line 2, “Does it dry up/like a raisin in the sun,” Hughes compares a dried raisin to a deferred dream (Hughes 426). In addition, as stated from an online source, “in the sun” means “in the public eye” which may refer to the idea that the failure of one is news to everyone. In line 4-5, “Or fester like a sore-/And then run,” the poet uses personification to illustrate the concept of a dream building up stress in your life and then not being able to fulfil it like how a sore festers and then disappears unexpectedly. The poet gives life to an inanimate object life to create an image in the readers mind and for the reader to better understand the message. In line 6, “Does it stink like rotten meat” (Hughes 426), it compares rotten meat to a deferred dream. It could mean that when a hope is forgotten, it rots away and collects dust. It is waiting for the owner to return because without them it has no purpose; this relates to the article by Schaper. In line 7-8, “Or crust and sugar over-/like a syrupy sweet” (Hughes 426), the poet uses alliteration to put an emphasis on “syrupy sweet.” In this line, Hughes also compares a deferred dream to a sweet that has crusted over. In relation to how one needs to break the harder layer to get the sweet, this…show more content…
It has also shown the effectiveness of using figurative language and sound devices to portray an idea. By using these devices, the poet created a literal and a figurative meaning to the poem. After analysing the poem, Hughes showed that the concepts listed after the first line were all the things Hughes compared a deferred dream to. He gathered things that an average person wouldn’t like and compared it to a deferred dream. These unappealing things may be rotten meat, a dried raisin, a stale sweet, or a heavy load. This solidifies the fact that Langston Hughes wanted people, more specifically African-Americans, to follow their dreams. In an interview with Mr Lemuel Dingle, he said that the lines, “Maybe it just sags/like a heavy load,” struck him the most. He continues by saying, “there are those dreams that you want to accomplish, but (it) either it takes too long or you just get tired of trying to work on it. So, it just drags you day in and day out.” This interview shows how “Dream Deferred” impacts the reader. It also proves the point that a deferred dream could be a burden to the one carrying it, as stated in the previous
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