Analysis A short, pithy poem that seeks to answer its own question via a series of images and the use of simile and metaphor - figurative language - which puts the emphasis on the imagination. There are eleven lines with an inconsistent rhyme scheme of abcdbefeghh.
Line 1 What happens to a dream deferred? Speaker, it will probably just fade away. By beginning this poem with a question, we readers are put on the spot.
Line 2 Does it dry up What happens when things dry up? Well, they lose their moisture and their water. They become small and withered. This line makes us think of deserts and summers and heat.
Notice each of the words in this line only contain one syllable. Line 3 like a raisin in the sun? Raisins are supposed to be dry, right? They become raisins by sitting in the sun. Well, actually, raisins begin as grapes and gradually lose their juice when they are put out in the sun.
Famous American playwright Lorraine Hansberry took the phrase "a raisin in the sun" as the title of her play, A Raisin in the Sun.
This play quickly became one of the most beloved works in American theater as it captures the deferred dreams of a black family living in Chicago during the s. Line 5 And then run? We know our speaker is continuing with the wound image here, wondering if dreams bleed themselves to death if they are ignored.
If dreams are stashed away, will they haunt us like rotten meat haunts us when it sits too long in the refrigerator?
The smell is often what reminds us to do something about it, to throw it away. This line stirs our sense of smell, because most of us have had an experience with the smell of rotten meat before. This is a smell closely associated with death. In this line, our speaker makes an interesting distinction between ignoring dreams and getting rid of them altogether.
We are reminded that "a dream deferred" is an ignored dream, not a canceled dream. Line 7 Or crust and sugar over — What kinds of things crust or sugar over?
Can dreams be put away properly? Our speaker compares dreams to sweet-tasting things, stirring our taste buds and drawing a contrast to the bitterness of lost dreams. Line 8 like a syrupy sweet? Syrup reminds us of pancakes and of sticky hands.
We imagine dreams being stuck to the counter in a pool of syrup left over from last Sunday. Line 9 Maybe it just sags Sagging things are things that are old. Floorboards sag from the weight of too many people and too much furniture over the years.
Bookshelves can sag from the weight of too many books. Kindergarteners sag from the weight of backpacks that are too heavy.
The verb "sag" is directly related to the weight of something.
In this way, our speaker may be pointing out just how important dreams are. They are so important that they are heavy, and if they are ignored, they will grow to sag."The Negro Speaks of Rivers" is a poem by American writer Langston Hughes.
The speaker wonders what happens to a deferred dream. He wonders if it dries up like a raisin in the sun, or if it oozes like a wound and then runs.
It might smell like rotten meat or develop a sugary crust. It might just sag like a “heavy load,” or it might explode. This short poem is one of. A villanelle with powerful, repeated lines inspired by the prolonged illness of the poet's father, who became blind in his final few months.
Langston Hughes was first recognized as an important literary figure during the s, a period known as the "Harlem Renaissance" because of the number of emerging black writers. Poem Hunter all poems of by Langston Hughes poems. poems of Langston Hughes. Still I Rise, The Road Not Taken, If You Forget Me, Dreams, Annabel Lee.
Both Langston Hughes’ "Harlem (A Dream Deferred)" and Lorraine Hansberry’s "A Raisin in the Sun" focus on the effect of racism on African-Americans. In both cases, the focus of the authors is.