Throughout his poem, Hughes uses diction in order to suggest hidden meanings behind his words and phrases. For example, Hughes uses the phrase “dry up” in his poem suggesting that we allow opportunities that will advance us in our pursuit of our dreams to escape our grasp or fade away. Likewise, Hughes says our dreams “fester like a sore”; in other words, thoughts of our dreams pester us until we achieve them, though we may lack a personal motivation to achieve them. Hughes goes on to question that our dreams could become “like a syrupy sweet”, being sluggish and gloppy like a syrup in our reality, yet delightful for us to reflect on in our minds. The idea that our dreams develop and gather as “a syrupy sweet” would, suggests that our dreams remain stationary or unable to keep progressing in our lives.
Through his vivid depiction of images, Hughes stresses this unfinished dream. The phrase “raisin in the sun” figuratively depicts our dreams as something that becomes very crinkled or...
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...structure, Hughes creates the diction and imagery that contributes to the theme of the poem. He uses his concise writing to his advantage by using the rhythm as a way of stressing the theme throughout the poem. The meter Hughes uses in the poem has no distinct pattern and seems incomplete. Thus conveying his message that our dreams remain lost, they were aspired but never completed.
Altogether, Hughes creates a vibrant illustration depicting the perception that dreams are aspired, put aside, and never completed in “Harlem” by combining the use of diction, imagery, and slow rhythm. These literary elements contribute towards the theme of the poem by hiding meanings within the text through his figurative language, creating vivid images showing how dreams become pushed away in the reader’s mind, and exemplifying incomplete dreams through his incomplete rhythm pattern.
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