Comparison Of Harlem And The Ballad Of The Landlord

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In “Harlem” and “The Ballad of the Landlord”, poet Langston Hughes shows not only how the United States treats people of color and tries to keep them down, but also how it denies them three of the most basic things that our constitution is supposed to be provide: a right to pursue their dreams. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the word “deferred” as to, “Put off (an action or event) to a later time; postpone.” (Murray, Bradley, Craigie, Onions 1). This is a good word to describe what can happen to the dreams of African Americans in Ameica. In “Harlem”, Hughes describes how African American’s dreams are often forced to take a backseat. This happens because African Americans are put at a disadvantage in this country and often need to work twice as hard to do the same as others who aren’t oppressed. Speaking of dreams being deferred, in the line “Maybe it just sags Like a heavy load” (Mays 1043, lines 9-10, Mays), Hughes describes the way that African Americans can feel hopeless because they are forced to put their dreams aside. Their dreams can even die because of the disadvantages they must overcome. In lines 1 and 2, Hughes writes, “Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?” (Mays 1043, line 1-2). Dreams dying is a very real thing and can happen to African Americans. The oppression they face in this so-called “home of the free” can cause their dreams to never be realized. The last line in the poem is very striking; “Or does it just explode?” (1043, line 11, Mays) In

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