Langston Hughes Harlem

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Known as “the bard of Harlem,” Langston Hughes was a prominent figure during the Harlem Renaissance, an era of increased black cultural activity devoted to the formulation and sustenance of ideas. A man of both black and white descent, Hughes wrote poems concerning race, acceptance, and the voice of the oppressed. In the first line of his poem “Dream Deferred (Harlem),” Hughes asks, “What happens to a dream deferred?” and the rest of the poem attempts to answer this question (Hughes, line 1). The use of imagery in Hughes’s “Harlem” expresses the creative and random concept of imagination by engaging the reader’s five senses: touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound. His first speculation appeals to the reader’s sense of touch, in which he wonders if a dream deferred will “dry up / like a raisin in the sun” (ibid. 2-3). The comparing of a deferred dream to a raisin implies that the dream itself will age until it appears uglier and deformed. Hughes suggests that the dream will eventually feel weak and wrinkled to the touch. By the time you’ve recalled the dream you’ve postponed, it is too old for use. Its texture has changed, and it no longer feels right in your hands. Without your nourishment and consideration, the dream has shriveled and soured like a plant. The speaker’s next…show more content…
9-10). However, his next line is that of sudden realization: “Or does it explode?” (ibid. line 11). Here the speaker has reached his decision, italicized so that the words resonate within the readers’ heads. If the dreams of the people are delayed for so long, the buildup of frustration— no matter how hopeless the dream may be— will prove to be too much to handle for one person and have effects on us all The final line conveys both the celebratory nature of the Harlem Renaissance and the harmful blast of an
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