Module 4 – Section 4 Assignment: Critical Response to Poetry 1.
Every word in “Harlem (A Dream Deferred)” communicates a part of the meaning to the readers. Each word conveys more of the impact of a dream unaccomplished. The author is not literally saying but instead is asking. He is imposing the readers to think about a dream deferred. Without having to say it literally, the question rises in the minds of the readers; do I have dreams that have been left sitting? Are they causing this heavy down sagging in my life, in my heart? The author writes the poem in questions which brings up questions to the readers about themselves. As well we have the word ‘Harlem’ in the title. Possibly readers will be reminded of the community Harlem in New York City. Most likely it has something to do with that community or the African-American people who live there. Otherwise, why else would the author put that word in the title? This poem gives the readers a feeling of mouldiness, it surrounds them with heaviness, it brings thoughts about a dream that no one would want to believe in. The whole poem is made up of imagery, in each line we have vivid images from the words written. “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” In this line we see a hot sun with shriveled dried up raisins. Than maybe we think about a dream in this state. “Or fester like a sore– and then run?” Nobody likes to hear the word fester. It only brings images of ugly wounds infected and full of puss. What horribleness to think of a dream that way. Then he asks the question “Does it stink like meat?” He is more or so saying does a deferred dream follow you like the smell of rotten meat? Is it something horrible that you can’t get rid of unless you throw it away or burry it? His next line is not stinky or horrible like rotten meat, and immediately it changes the image in the readers mind to something sweet and sugary but gone stale, no longer having the taste of true sweetness. Then you read the...
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