Harlem Langston Hughes

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“Harlem”, also known as “A Dream Deferred”, is a poem by Langston Hughes published in 1951. The four stanza, free verse poem is composed of six questions and one declarative sentence. This poem reflects the post-World War II mood of many African Americans. The Great Depression and the war were over, but for many African Americans their dreams, whatever particular form it took, were still being deferred. Through this poem Langston Hughes examines the possible effects caused by the dream, when they are constantly deferred. As Hughes explores what happens when dreams are put on hold, the speaker uses a series of similes that compare the act of deferring dreams. To catch the reader's attention, the writer also made sure that specific words and questions stood out. As a result, the…show more content…
With the unique use of his stanza form, Hughes uses his first line in the poem to grabs the reader's attention. As line one is the longest line and it is separated from the rest of the poem. Continuing down further the first image in the poem is formed with the use of a simile. The narrator states “Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun?” (line 2-3). The simile likens the original dream to a fresh, juicy, green grape and since the dream has been neglected for too long, it has probably dried up. The second simile, “Or fester like a sore-- / And then run?”, conveys a sense of infection and pain suggesting that it eats at the skin, constantly aggravating it because the sore has not been obtained (line 4-5). Comparing the dream to a sore of a body, the poet suggests that unfulfilled dreams become part of them, like a longstanding injury that has gathered pus. The word “fester” connotes something decay and “run” literally refers to pus. From this viewpoint of the speaker, this denotes to the pain that one has when one’s dreams always defers. A postponed dream is like a painful injury that begins to be
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