Analysis of A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

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The poem A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes basically describes what happens to dreams when they are put on hold. The speaker in the poem originally entitled it Harlem, which is the capital of African-American life in the United States. The title was changed to accommodate all dreams in general, and what happens when people postpone making them come true. The speakers attitude toward the poem is an advice-giving attitude. The poet doesnt want people to postpone getting what they want. The poem is written in an informative/caring tone to help people live the lives they dream of having.

In the opening of the poem, the poet uses a visual image, which is a simile, to compare a deferred dream to a raisin. The speaker asks the question Does it dry up/like a raisin in the sun? (2-3) This phrase creates the image of a raisin that used to be a firm, moist, and healthy-looking grape that has become shriveled up into a raisin. The speaker doesnt emphasize the appearance of the raisin, so it isnt as good of an image as the simile. This image gives an emotional effect of a dream deferred shriveling up and turning dark because the sun has baked it.

The words and phrases, Or fester like a sore(4), and Or crust and sugar over(7) are both symbolic of the hard manual labor that African-Americans had during the early 1900s. Maybe it just sags / like a heavy load(9-10) is a great picture of a dream that sits within a person and weighs there making everything else one does never enough. As the reader puts all of these illusions together, ones own dreams and ideals are brought to the surface just as Hughes brings his poem to a close with style. Or does it explode (11) is the most powerful line of the poem. It is separated from the other lines of the poem and italicized, adding emphasis to it visually. The concept of a dream exploding is a powerful conclusion of what could happen to the poet's or reader's dreams if they are pushed aside or unable to be pursued. All in all, this poem

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