Langston Hughes: in the Beginning There Was Language

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In The Beginning, There Was Language
A dream is a hope, a wish, and an aspiration. Everyone has dreams about what they want to be when they grow up, how they want to live, whom they want to marry and how their life will turn out. However, not all dreams can come true right away. Many of them are just out of reach and can only be attained by hard work, leadership and determination. The poem "A Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes is an example of just that, a dream that is just simply out of reach. So what happens to a dream deferred? Deferred, defined by The New American Webster Dictionary, means to put off, delay or postpone something to a later date. Poetry is filled with many different aspects of poetic language just a few of them being, connotation, denotation, metaphors, similes and imagery. This poem, by Langston Hughes is one of many thatis filled with these different types of poetic language and spikes the ears, eyes and imagination into painting a picture of what the poet was feeling. A dream should always be realized, never deferred.

The poem opens up with a rhetorical question in the very first line, "What happens to a dream deferred?" (1). The rest of the poem goes on to propose an answer to the question. Langston Hughes makes it a point to use words with a very negative connotation, such as dry, fester, sore, stink, rotten, crust and sag. All of these words have an off-putting attitude, and by describing things in a deconstructive manner, the poet creates a very gruesome picture for the reader, leading you to believe that all of these bad things happen when a dream is deferred. These descriptive words however, lead us into the next element of language in poetry, figures of speech such as metaphors and similes.

Within this short eleven-line poem, there are five similes present. A simile is a comparison of two objects using like or as. The first simile used is comparing the "dream deferred" (1) to a drying up "raisin in the sun" (3)....
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