A Dream Deferred: Harlem

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The ‘dream deferred’ was a prolonged, deferred, and exasperated dream of African Americans; the dream of triumphing over prejudice and inequality and achieving freedom and justice. In the poem, Harlem, Langston Hughes poses a question of what happens when these dreams are ignored or delayed. The poem is written in free verse and is built upon rhetorical question, to engage the reader about deferring their own dreams. The author uses similes to ground and explain the importance and danger of deferred dreams. The poem also advocates the power of pursuing one’s dreams. He explicates to the reader, that dreams are vital. Through this poem, the reader is reminded of the importance of action rather than just imagining dreams. Each verse highlights the damaging effects of what happens when a dream is deferred. Hughes utilizes alliteration in the quote, “…a dream deferred,” to explore what happens when dreams are put on hold. The author wisely uses an inversion of this phase, to imply that these dreams are being ‘deferred’ against the person’s will. This line expressing the general outlook ...
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