Langston Hughes was a Harlem Renaissance poet whose writing mainly portrayed the conditions of African Americans. “Harlem” is a meaningful lyric poem that expresses the frustration of African Americans who have to undergo various forms of racial discrimination…
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Langston Hughes "Harlem: A Dream Deferred"
In his poem, “Harlem: A Deferred Dream,” Hughes foregrounds the frustration of African Americans whose unfulfilled goals and expectations expose them to a serious destruction. The genre of the poem, the language and other literary devices greatly participate in highlighting the negative impact postponing dreams may have on individuals.
The deferred dreams of African Americans put them in a desperate situation in which anger and frustration are overwhelming. “Harlem: A Dream Deferred” is a very short but meaningful poem that illustrates the mood of African Americans. It portrayed the realistic situation of blacks during the pre-civil rights movement era when they experienced racial prejudice that hindered their hope and kept their dreams deferred. Despite the expectations Harlem Renaissance had for blacks, the dreams failed to be realized and were therefore deferred. The speaker states: “What happens to a dream deferred?” (line 1) Through this question, Hughes engages a reflection about the impact postponing dreams may have on African Americans. Hughes does not only ask questions, but he also proposes answers, and through the literary devices he employs he works efficiently to convey the frustration and anger of blacks. He actually uses language, imagery and other literary devices to highlight the frustration and make the reader feel it and understand it. In the poem, Hughes depicts the destructive effects of dreams deferred; however, these dreams are not just about simple dreams that happen during people’s sleep but goals African Americans have in their lives. These dreams cannot be realized on time because of the racial discrimination and hard living conditions of African Americans. Through questions that cannot find answers or just negative answers, Hughes demonstrates the negative effect of postponing dreams of black people. The speaker answers the first question about the outcome of a dream deferred with another question: “Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun?” (2-3) –A raisin is already dry and ready to eat, so exposing it to the sun will ultimately destroy it. Through this image, Hughes indicates that blacks want to realize their life goals now; they cannot wait any longer. Deferring the dreams of African Americans will make their living conditions worse, and their awareness of the failure to fulfill their goals is simply destructive. The speaker adds: “Or fester like a sore— / And then run?” (4-5) –this image of infection reflects the accumulation of anger blacks feel about having to defer their dreams and the desperate situation they live in. Moreover these lines: “Does it stink like rotten meat? / Or crust and sugar over— / like a syrupy sweet?” (6-8) compare dreams deferred to rotten meat. The smell and decay reflect the negative impact postponing dreams has on African Americans and reveal what they have to endure. The crusty accumulation also symbolizes the destructive effects this waiting period may have on the possibility to fulfill the goals. Even though the second stanza is not a question, it also depicts a desperate situation: “Maybe it just sags / like a heavy load” (9-10). Even the speaker does not seem to know the outcome, but the heavy load expresses the difficulty of the situation of African Americans who cannot fulfill their goals. The last stanza is a question, and instead of a simile it is a metaphor: “Or does it explode?” (11) An explosion refers to a serious destruction that may be fatal. This final image conveys a desperate and hopeless situation postponing dreams puts African Americans in. The poem “Harlem: A Dream Deferred” does not only inform about the danger of deferring dreams but also sensitize people about the destructive impact the failure to
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(Langston Hughes Harlem: A Dream Deferred Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words)
“Langston Hughes Harlem: A Dream Deferred Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 750 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.org/english/1450416-langston-hughes-harlem-a-dream-deferred.
The language of “Harlem” is written after the Civil war and during Jim Crow Laws and it depicts the questions on “dreams deferred” for African Americans. The narrator asks whether a deferred dream becomes a fruit like a “raisin the sun”, a sore that “festers”, “rotten meat”, or a syrup that “crust and sugar over”.
23). Hughes portrayed the coldness he experienced at the hands of his white peers for his being African-American and the racial oppression he witnessed all around him. Through his writings, Hughes supported the activist and radical racial movements and fought for the economic and political freedom of the black.
Both the poems are influenced by the political and racial activities of the time severely. “I, Too” represents the time during the Jim Crow Law where the whites tried to create an equal but, secluded society for the Blacks and how it deeply wounded the feelings of the African Americans.
The America that deserves condemnation and the America that he is proud of! Though he mentions about the struggles of African Americans, the race to which he belongs, the suffering that he undergoes is more or less applicable to the struggles of all non-white minority races of America.
The author of the essay casts light upon the most famous poems by Langston Hughes. For example, the poem “I, Too” represents a powerful statement of hope for equality. It is also stated that this short poem expresses the state of dark-skinned people in America and his belief that the situation will naturally improve due to the inherent wisdom of human nature.
His blackness lies at the core of much of his work, and he is not shy about pointing fingers when he sees a guilty party, although he is just as likely to joke as to get angry. Race was a prominent theme in his work, but even more obvious in his earlier writing is the hopeful optimism of the idealist, who believes that tolerance will trump all and that ultimately, Americans can learn to love one another regardless of ethnic heritage.
" the vernacular encompasses vigorous, dynamic processes of expression, past and present. It makes up a rich store house of material wherein the values, styles, and character types of black American life are reflected in language that is highly energized and often marvelously eloquent1."
Basically the poem centers on the dream of African-American specifically, as the writer has originally named it “Harlem”, which is the capital of the African American in the United States. “Like Brown’s Southern Road, Montage of a dream deferred
f how African-Americans lived during the 20’s up to the 60’s, and was credited for the growth and development of the Harlem Renaissance (Academy of American Poets). Using his own experiences and fusing these with concepts strongly-tied and significant to African-American
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