Analysis Of My Dream, My Dreams Must Wait Till After Hell

1648 Words 7 Pages
Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem, “my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell,” emphasizes the role that dreams play in the narrator’s life, by showing the strength that they lend to him while he suffers in hell. Brooks uses the themes of hunger and insecurity as well as the imagery of “bread” and “honey” to represent the vital, essential need for dreams. This traditional sonnet is included in the sonnet sequence, “Gay Chaps at the Bar,” that introduces the narrators as young soldiers recently returned from war. Favored by writers in the Harlem Renaissance, Brooks wrote the collection in strict sonnet format with iambic pentameter. Yet, the poem does not mirror the rigidity of the sonnet because of Brooks’ careful use of enjambment. The tone of “My …show more content…
These are bread and honey, traditional biblical forms of nourishment. This biblical imagery gives his dreams a touch of holiness or sacredness, or it could be a comparison of deferred happiness as a deferred entrance to heaven. These dreams are to be put away into storage, emotionally compartmentalized, until they can be retrieved again, “I hold my honey and store my bread / In little jars and cabinets of my will” (Brooks 1- 2). Bread is a staple, bland food found in the cupboards of both rich and poor households. Honey, on the other hand, is produced by a strenuous amount of labor and is undeniably, perhaps even unbearably, sweet. By comparing the narrator’s dreams to humble foods that evoke home, bread and honey, Brooks makes the argument that dreams are just as important as food, perhaps even more as it seems that the narrator draws strength from their dreams. The dreams like “bread and honey” nourish and fill the narrator up with a certain sweetness, but the narrator keeps them guarded with their “will,” and locked in figurative cabinets. Because there is very little imagery in this poem, uncharacteristic of Brooks’ style, the imagery of latched jars of bread and honey are strengthened and create even more tension. There are several end-stopped lines, “I hold,” “I store,” “I label” and “I bid” (Brooks 1-4), meant to show the reader …show more content…
The narrator does not know when they’ll be able to eat again of their bread and honey. In other words, the narrator does not know when they’ll be able to revisit their old dreams. The doleful line, peppered with uncertainty, suggests that the narrator’s feelings of security actually depend on the strength of their mental bread and honey. Much depends on the narrator’s dreams. In Lines 7-8, another demand is made, this time of the narrator, “No man can give me any word but Wait / The puny light” (Brooks 7-8). Brooks once again uses capitalization to emphasize a command. The narrator is on edge: they want to know when they’ll be relieved of their post, when they can return home, when they can go back to their dreams, and all that is gifted to them is “Wait.” This doesn’t give the narrator any sort indication of the time they have left. This is the second direct command we see in the poem and it can be interpreted as a response to the first command made by the narrator to his dreams, “Be firm” (Brooks 4). “Wait,” simply dictates the narrator to be patient, demands them to continue putting aside their present dreams, delaying their reunion. This limbo is seen as agonizing, as a hell itself, but it can also be seen as hope. In an attempt to defamiliarize hope as a light, Brooks successfully uses irony. Brooks gives the reader

Related Documents

Related Topics