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Commentary on Dream Deferred Essay



Langston Hughes's poem "Dream Deferred" is basically about what happens to dreams when they are put on hold. Hughes probably intended for the poem to focus on the dreams of African-Americans in particular because he originally entitled the poem "Harlem," which is the capital of African American life in the United States; however, it is just as easy to read the poem as being about dreams in general and what happens when people postpone making them come true. Ultimately, Hughes uses a carefully arranged series of images that also function as figures of speech to suggest that people should not delay their dreams because the more they postpone them, the more the dreams will change and the less likely they will come true.

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. The speaker asks the question, "Does it [the dream] dry up / Like a raisin in the sun?" (2-3). Here we can see the raisin, which used to be a moist, taut, healthy-looking grape, has shriveled up to become a raisin. The speaker does not emphasize the appearance of the raisin, so the description isn't as significant as an image as it is as a simile. Why compare a dream deferred to a raisin? 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. Because they look so different, few people would believe that raisins were once grapes unless they had been told. Similarly, a dream that continues to be postponed will go through an evolution as well-it won't be the same as the original. On the surface, a reader might not view the outcome as negative because raisins are valuable on their own-they taste good. However, the speaker does not stress the taste of the raisin; he emphasizes the fact that a raisin "dries] up" or loses its life-giving moisture. The comparison of the dream to the withered raisin shows how a dream that is postponed changes dramatically and will not turn out as the person originally intended.

In the poems Dreams Deferred and Dreams by Langston Hughes the author talks about how important dreams are. The author uses many different types of figurative languages such as similes and metaphors and shows how they are alike and different in many ways.

In the poem Dreams the author writes Hold fast to your dreams/for if dreams die (Hughes 1-2 poem 1). The theme of this poem is to try to achieve your dreams and not let them die . In the poem Dream Deferred also by Langston Hughes the author writes about the theme being how a person could basically not be sane without dreams and how important they are to a person. As the author writes Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun ( Hughes 2-3 poem 2). The author is referring how dreams die when not pursued and dry up like raisins when not used or reached.

The author used figurative language in the form of metaphors in these two poems in the first poem Dreams . The author writes For when dreams go/Life is like a barren field/ of frozen snow (Hughes 6-8 poem 1) . Which he feels hopelessness and the author expresses hopelessness in the

lines For it dreams die / Life is a broken winged-bird / that cannot fly (Hughes - poem 2). The author is trying to explain to the reader to not let go of your dreams which is basically the whole poem is about your dreams and how important and I dont think that Langston Hughes could stress that anymore than he already has. As the author writes Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Langston Hughes argues about how readers should never let our hopes, dreams, and aspirations. The author uses to metaphors to make his point to not give up. The author probably trying to encourage people to never feel like there is no hope and for the reader on the verge of giving up to provide encouragement and to let the reader know that there is hope.

Langston Hughes was a prominent figure in writing about the struggles of African Americans. In his work, "Dream Deferred," he ponders the question what happens when a person's dreams are destroyed. The opening line of Hughes' poem asks the question, "What happens when dreams are deferred" or postponed? He refers to several possible scenarios, all with a negative effect.

His first scenario is "a raisin in the sun." This symbolizes a hardening. If a dream is destroyed it hardens the heart. It becomes useless just the like the dried up raisin.

The second situation describes a festering sore symbolizing infection. Dreams that are left to die will infect or poison the mind. Thirdly, Hughes uses the image of rotten meat to describe dashed dreams. This conjures up images of stinch and sourness. The conquered dreamer is left with a sour disposition.

Fourth, Hughes describes demolished dreams as "crust and sugar(ed) over." This again symbolizes a hardening or a shell being formed. The person develops a shell and isolates themselves.

Fifth, Hughes suggests that maybe unrealized dreams are a "heavy load" which symbolizes a burden, something to heavy to bear, something that weighs a person down always.

Lastly, Hughes asks "or does it explode?" This symbolizes destruction. Dreams left unfinished will destroy a person. Langston Hughes realized the importance of dreams and having those dreams torn apart. His poem, "Dream Deferred", uses strong images to create a picture of a negative and destructive outcome for a dreamer left unable to dream

Theme: Having to postpone ones deepest desires can lead to destruction.

Literary devices: The questions are allrhetorical questions, because they intend to answer themselves. Each question in the first stanza usessimile: like a raisin in the sun, like a sore,like rotten meat, like a syrupy sweet. The second stanza which is not a question but a suggestion also usessimilelike a heavy load. The last stanza usesmetaphor, does it explode?The poem employsrime: sun-run, meat-sweet, load-explode.The poem also usesimagery: raisin in the sun, fester like a sore / And then run, stink like rotten meat, etc.


The question, What happens to a dream deferred? appears to be answered with nothing but more questions. But if we analyze each question we get an idea of what the speaker really believes about dreams being postponed.

The dream is a goal in life, not just dreams experienced during sleep. The dream is important to the dreamers life. But what dream is it exactly? The poem does not choose the dream but leaves it up to the reader. Nevertheless, the speakers position is clear that any important dream or goal that must be delayed can have serious negative affects.

As we look at each question we find out what those affects are. With each question the speaker offers a possibility of each negative affect. The first one Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun: a raisin is already dry, and as a raisin, it is a good thing, useful and nutritious, but if a raisin is left in the sun to dry up, it becomes hard and impossible to eat; its value sucked out, it no longer serves its useful, nutritional purpose.

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