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Dream Deferred

Analysis of Dream Deferred
Dreams are the driving force of America today. Every person has some sort of dreams and or goals. Although in life everyone has dreams and goals, there are obviously more struggles for some ethnic groups than for others. The poem, Dream Deferred, by Langston Hughes, is one man’s expression of his dreams during a difficult time period.
As a black man in a time period where African-Americans were considered an inferior group of people,dreams and goals would have been difficult to realize. Langston Hughes aptly expresses his frustrations in his poem, Dream Deferred. As people read this poem, in any time period, they can relate to the simple universal message that the poet expressed. Hughes is very expressive in how he feels about dreams he has had and the factand his frustration at not being able to pursue and/or fulfill those dreams that he is unable to pursue or fulfill those dreams.

In his poem, Hughes asks the reader to think by posing the question, ?What happens to a dream deferred??(1). This first line opens up a whole world of thought. Hughes was a man living in a difficult time period where such things as dreams were hard to come by, and those that a person did have were given little or no credit, much less opportunity to be fulfilled.[true] During his life, Hughes faced many challenges from a broken engagement to discrimination due to his skin color. He starts answering his question with various similes, each seeming to represent what could happen to various dreams.
Hughes asks ?Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun??(2-3), signifying dreams that are so old they are hard to recognize, childhood dreams that flame up at one stage of life and at a later stage are still sweet to remember. Each subsequent line seems to focus on a different aspect of unfulfilled dreams, yet each one is typical of the time frame of Hughes’ life. The words and phrases, ?Or fester like a sore?(4), and ?Or crust and sugar over?(7) are both symbolic of the hard manual labor that African-Americans had during the early 1900’s. Historical studies have recounted the work that many men did during this time period, in the cotton and sugar fields, or working with crops.
?Maybe it just sags / like a heavy load?(9-10) is a powerful illustration of a dream that sits within a person and weighs there making everything else one does never enough. Yet it also seems to relate again to the heavy work that men did during the time from of Hughes’ life. As the reader puts all of these illusions together, one’s own dreams and ideals are brought to the surface just as Hughes brings his poem to a close with flair. ?Or does it explode?(11) is the most powerful line of the poem. It is separated from the other lines of the poem and italicized, adding emphasis to it visually. The concept of a dream exploding is a powerful conclusion of what could happen to the poet’s or reader’s dreams if they are pushed aside or unable to be pursued.
All in all, this poem is a very universal poem. Written by a talented African-American man in a time when people of his ethnic group were denied many freedoms, this poem has lived on for years even with the changes in society. There are still many struggles for Americans, of every ethnic group, today to recognize hopes and dreams, but society has come a long way from when this poem was written. ?Dream Deferred? is a poem that will never be outdated.
English Essays

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