Langston Hughes' poem begins with a deceptively innocent question: "What happens to a dream deferred?" (Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun 1). From the opening line, the reader is left to contemplate an infinite number of possible outcomes, among them if it partially dies, if it continues to live into the next generation, if it matters what kind of dream it is, and many others. And then, suddenly, he adds to it to further focus the question and thusly to compound and raise its complexity. He asks, "Does it dry up / Like a raisin in the sun?" (Hansberry 2-3). Now, whereas the reader could initially answer the first question in whichever way he wished, he now finds him...
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...n many other ways-whether in our own or our future generations' lifetime; we just have to learn to recognize those other ways in which they so are fulfilled.
So simply, what does happen to a dream deferred? It takes on a life of its own.
* Hansberry, Lorainne. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Vintage Books, 1988.
* "Lorainne Hansberry: 1930-1965". The Black 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential African-Americans, Past and Present. Ed. Columbus Salley. USA: A Citadel Press Book, 1993. 276-7.
* Marre, Diana. "Lorraine Hansberry: (1930-1965): Playwright, Activist." Notable Black American Women. Ed. Jessie Carney Smith. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1992. 453-4.
* Robinson, V. Roberts and M. S. Barranger. "Hansberry, Lorraine Vivian: (1930-1965)". Ed. Darlene Clark Hine. Black Women In America. New York: Carlson Publishing Inc., 1993. 527-8.
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