Langston Hughes- a Deferred Dream

Topics: Psychology, Rhetorical question, Olfaction, Figure of speech, Langston Hughes, Emotion / Pages: 2 (462 words) / Published: Dec 29th, 2006
In a journey through life, people have certain expectations of how they would like to live their lives. Most citizens of modern society strive to reach a certain level of success and acceptance. It could thus be said that we likely have a dream we hope to achieve. In "Harlem (A Dream Deferred)", Langston Hughes makes use of powerful sensory imagery, figures of speech, and rhyme to show the emotions created when a dream is deferred, or not achieved.

Hughes uses rhetorical questions with similes to show his opinion of unfulfilled dreams. He suggests that deferred dreams, ¡°like a raisin in the sun¡¦like a sore¡¦ like rotten meat¡¦ like a heavy load,¡± cause tremendous pain and suffering. Each of these figures of speech is chosen because it clearly connects the negative reaction someone might have to rotten meat or painful sores directly to the emotion of a lost dream. He also uses the simile, ¡°like a syrupy sweet,¡± to possibly show that, above all, the dream itself is what people enjoy, not the accomplishment. However, Hughes most likely agrees that deferred dreams are bad. In his last line he uses a metaphor to ask if unfulfilled desires in fact can cause people to ¡°¡¦explode?¡±

The powerful imagery created by Hughes¡¯ figures of speech draws a clear parallel between people's emotions and the images of sores and weights that persist and become more intense. A festering sore allows to reader to imagine an increasingly stinging pain. Then the rancid meat attacks our sense of smell with a rotten scent, while a ¡°heavy load¡± gives an image of a weight that stresses the human body until a breakdown. His conclusion is that a person might even ¡°explode,¡± leaving the image of a complete destruction caused by deferred dreams.

Hughes also uses end rhyme to catch the reader¡¯s attention to important descriptive words in this poem. ¡°Sun¡± describes the enduring power of time and a person¡¯s inability to evade the truth, while ¡°run¡± reveals that any

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