What kind of dream are we talking about here? The dreams we all experience whilst sleeping? Daydreaming? Most definitely not, this dream has to do with conscious goals, hopes and aims for the future.
The speaker is suggesting that this dream is already delayed and frustrated and that time is of the essence - this dream has to be fulfilled or else.
The poem does not offer any solution to the problem of the postponed dream. It merely puts before us some tentative examples. Something happens but the speaker isn't quite certain what.
The reader is offered a series of comparisons. The dream is like:
- a raisin in the sun - a fruit which was once juicy, a nutritious food, now is seen to dry up and become useless. As the sun rises each day, time passes, nothing happens.
- like a sore - a flesh wound or symptom of illness which, once neglected, begins to turn bad and could be harmful to the health. Too late for a bandage or cream?
- rotten meat - a protein foodstuff that has been left out or forgotten about and is already beyond use. There's something rotten in the state of forgotten dreams.
- a syrupy sweet - sugar brings energy and life but this has been out too long and gone crusty. That dream was sweet once upon a time.
- a heavy load - who wants to carry such weight unnecessarily? Everyone has baggage but doesn't history show some people have always carried more than others?
So these five contrasting elements help shape the poem and bring strong visual energy into the mind of the reader.
The fact that food is prominent brings home the idea that this dream has to do with survival (of the fittest); what is taken in to the physical body is important but in the end a dream deferred can result in explosive consequences. Because it's like a ticking time-bomb?
The final line metaphorically sums up the whole notion of what can happen when an individual's or a people's dream fails to manifest in real time. Oppression, societal pressure, prejudice and historical baggage and other factors can play their part in denying the dream.
Harlem, An Analysis of a Langston Hughes Poem Essay
1405 Words6 Pages
Harlem, An Analysis of a Langston Hughes Poem
The short but inspirational poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes addresses what happens to aspirations that are postponed or lost. The brief, mind provoking questions posed throughout the poem allow the readers to reflect--on the effects of delaying our dreams. In addition, the questions give indications about Hughes' views on deferred dreams.
"Harlem" is an open form poem. The poem consists of three stanzas that do not have a regular meter. To catch the reader's attention, the writer made sure that specific words and questions stood out. As a result, the lengths of the lines vary and certain syllables are stressed in every line. The first line in the poem: is the longest…show more content…
The last line, "Or does it explode?" (11) is an example of a metaphor. The writer implies that a postponed dream--destroys, causes a violent or even disturbing emotional reaction.
Langston Hughes was a successful African-American poet of the Harlem renaissance in the 20th century. Hughes' had a simple and cultured writing style. "Harlem" is filled with rhythm, jazz, blues, imagery, and evokes vivid images within the mind. The poem focuses on what could happen to deferred dreams. Hughes' aim is to make it clear that if you postpone your dreams you might not get another chance to attain it--so take those dreams and run. Each question associates with negative effects of deferred dreams. The imagery from the poem causes the reader to be pulled in by the writer's words.
The speaker opens the poem by questioning, "What happens to a dream deferred?" (1). This single line instantly gives the reader an idea of what the poem is about. The first question produces curiosity in the reader--makes the reader want to find the answer to the question.
"Does it dry up/like a raisin in the sun?" (2-3). suggest that a postponed dream will eventually be forgotten or fizzled out. The image of a raisin stimulates the reader's sight and taste senses. The dream is like a sweet grape which is fresh and new. If you set that grape aside (in hopes of coming back to it later) it most likely will be bitter, dried out, kaput, and