Harlem by Langston Hughes Essay

Harlem by Langston Hughes Essay

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Langston Hughes poem “Harlem” is about what could happen when an entire African-American
population is oppressed and must ignore or postpone their dreams. The more dreams are postponed
the more the dreams will not happen and in the poem it is clear that Hughes has a very strong opinion
on the subject.

In the poem Langston Hughes uses a range of illusions, rhetorical questions, figurative language and
stanza to explain that a dream deferred can end with the entire population in a war.

In the poem it seems as if Langston is talking from the perspective of someone living in Harlem he
explains how equality and freedom is sadly not what the African-Americans of Harlem experience. For
them life is different and only humans experiencing the same problem can really understand what life
for them is like. Hughes saw the life and dreams of many African-Americans destroyed and the line in
the poem “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” Is an illusion that explains how a dream and the life of
the dreamer was sucked away and crumpled until there were simply the old bits left just like the process
of a grape going into a raisin. Hughes knew the pain and sorrow internally and externally that the
African-Americans were going through and that is what the line “or fester like a sore and then run?”
means. Their dream festering inside of them but never fulfilled. Langston Hughes saw these points in
the life of Harlem and knew that equality and freedom was definitely not present. The poem portrays
consequences that begin off bad ending in worse.

Langstons use of rhetorical questions keeps the poem interesting and alive. It implies its own answer
while still making it’s point. One of many rhetorical questions used in the poem ...


... middle of paper ...


...y of thinking while others take a dream as our guides . The type of dream Hughes is
describing is simply a dream in what you want to achieve in life. And in the poem the dreams of the
African-Americans aren’t able to move forward as they are being blocked from being achieved. The last
line of the poem “Or does it explode” is a warning that the population was so frustrated that there
was nothing left that they just burst and when an entire population explodes war begins.

In conclusion the poem Harlem uses figurative language to explain the feelings and thoughts of the
African-Americans living in the Harlem area while explaining what happens when their life goals and
dreams have been oppressed and nothing can be done. Racism is still happening and is an issue that
needs to be stopped before people really do explode from anger and frustration and a war begins.

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