Analysis of "Dream Deferred" by Langston Hughes

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Dream Deferred

A dream is a goal in life, not just dreams experienced during sleep. Most people use their dreams as a way of setting future goals for themselves. Dreams can help to assist people in getting further in life because it becomes a personal accomplishment. Langston Hughes's poem "Dream Deferred" is speaks about what happens to dreams when they are put on hold. The poem leaves it up to the reader to decide what dream is being questioned.

In the opening of the poem the speaker uses a visual image that is also a simile to compare a dream deferred to a raisin. "Does it dry up/ like a raisin in the sun?" The simile in the question is comparing a dream deferred to raisin in the sun. Like a raisin, a dream deferred shrivels up and turns dark because the sun has baked it. The emphasis on the sun is important because it stresses time-we measure time by the sun's movement. Like the raisin, the dream has been on hold for a long-time consequently, it has transformed into something very different than it once was. The visual image can be used because of the detailed description being used in the first stanza. The second stanza, which is not a question but a suggestion, also uses simile "like a heavy load." The last stanza uses metaphor, "does it explode?"

This poem does not choose the dream but leaves it up to the reader. The speaker's position is clear that any important dream or goal that must be delayed can have serious negative affects. As I looked at each question I found out what those affects are. Hughes's offers a possibility of negative affects within the poem by using a raisin as symbolism. A raisin is already dried up and nutritious. However, if a raisin is left in the sun to long it becomes too hard to eat. Its value has been sucked out and it is no longer nutritional. This action symbolizes a dream. A person's dream in life is central to what makes the person a valuable member of society, but suppose that person with the dream is told they



Bibliography: Barksdale, Richard. Langston Hughes: The Poet and His Critics. Chicago: American Library Association, 1998.

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