A Dream Deferred - the Poetry of Langston Hughes

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The poetry of Langston Hughes, the poet laureate of Harlem, is an effective commentary on the condition of blacks in America during the 20th Century. Hughes places particular emphasis on Harlem, a black area in New York that became a destination of many hopeful blacks in the first half of the 1900ís. In much of Hughes' poetry, a theme that runs throughout is that of a "dream deferred." The recurrence of a"dream deferred" in several Hughes poems paints a clear picture of the disappointment and dismay that blacks in America faced in Harlem. Furthermore, as each poem develops, so does the feeling behind a"dream deferred," growing more serious and even angry with each new stanza.<br><br>To understand Hughes' idea of the"dream deferred," one…show more content…
The poem changes moods with the lines"I've seen them come dark/ out of Penn Station - / but the trains are late. / The gates are open - / Yet there're bars / at each gate." The people have not found what they expected and hoped for in Harlem. These last lines help the reader to understand the feelings that accompanied the harsh reality of Harlem. The addition of the blunt question,"What happens / to a dream deferred?" maintains this understanding: this is the"dream deferred," and this is what the people were experiencing. The question is harsh and unyielding, and its position in the poem creates a feeling of seriousness. Another Hughes poem,"Same in Blues," attempts to establish further the idea of a"dream deferred," incorporating a type of dialogue between characters to explain the components of a"dream deferred," adding an element of anger to the end. The first stanza has a woman telling her man that she has to keep moving, followed by the lines,"There's a certain / amount of traveling / in a dream deferred." This method continues through four stanzas, where peopl converse, and a new component is introduced:"a certain amount of nothing,""a certain amount of impotence." The last component the poem introduces is the most effective:"There's liable / to be confusion / in a dream deferred." The poem continues to say that"there's liable to be confusion / when a dream
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