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Dream Deferred

             The poem "A Dream Deferred", or as some call it "Harlem", reflects back on the time in history of the Harlem Renaissance. Black Americans begin to gain the same amount of freedoms as a white American, and Langston Hughes pens this poem during this point in time. Everyone, black or white, strives to achieve what becomes known as the American dream. Hughes describes the type of dreams that never end up becoming a reality because no one does anything to aid them into action. He uses the literary elements of syntax, figurative language, diction, imagery, and form to convey the diverse types and effects these dreams involve. .
             To emphasize the inquisitive contemplation of the poem, the first line utilizes syntax with the rhetorical question "What happens to a dream deferred?" This type of syntax runs throughout the poem to build up emotion and draw the reader into the poem until the reader finally reads the last line "Or does it explode?" Between these two questions, Hughes gives the reader more rhetorical questions by employing similes to represent the different kinds of dreams that become postponed for whatever reason. The ones that "dry up/ Like a raisin in the sun" or "stink like rotten meat" sit in the minds of people, but nothing is done for the dream's progression. Just as a sore runs when it can not hold anymore of what is inside, so it happens to a dream delayed that someone holds inside for too long-it eventually comes out. There are cases, however, where people talk themselves out of a dream, and these are what Hughes compares to crusting and sugaring over "like a syrupy sweet." The form of the poem allows the next simile to stand alone from the previous ones. Setting apart the first line gives a question that the following lines in the second stanza attempt to answer, but the dreams that sag "like a heavy load" are set apart from the ones in the second stanza because these weigh a person down heavily.

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