Poem Analysis: Harlem By Langston Hughes

1044 Words 4 Pages
Langston Hughes: Harlem
In his poem "Harlem", Langston Hughes provides information about dreams and about what happens when dreams are disregarded or deferred. The author puts emphasis underneath the thought of dreams, and compares them to very specific things in our everyday lives like raisins, festering sores, rotting meat, and heavy loads. He suggests on how dreams can be real as flesh and as crucial as food so we can comprehend the truth of dreaming and the danger of not following up on our fantasies. From here, this essay will discuss the structure of this poem and the imagery involving the dream.
First of all, this poem is a free verse with an irregular meter. I believe this type of form helps the author to say more about the
…show more content…
For instance, Hughes states, ' ' Does it dry up/ like a raisin in the sun? ' ' (Hughes 1-
2) In this quote, we don 't have a clear idea of what the author is trying to say but we can suppose that when something dries up, it loses its moisture and it 's water. It tends to shrink and deteriorate little by little. Basically, it makes us think about summer and heat. However, Tom
Hansen, who wrote the article On Harlem disagrees with this. He explains that this poem provides a series of disturbing answers to the questions. He adds that five of the questions in this poem are the answers to the opening question which is pretty complex. As we read the poem with a closer look, Harlem consists of eleven lines separated into four stanzas. The first and last stanzas contain one line while the other two contain seven and two lines respectively. With every line, the speaker blends it up by making few lines short, and others longer. A few lines contain only monosyllabic words, and other are filled with syllables. There are three examples
…show more content…
Therefore, the speaker is trying to make us prove that dreams are as important and necessary as our everyday tasks like cooking and cleaning. With the same idea, Tom explains that the imagery progresses from the visual ("dry up" and "fester"), to the olfactory ("stink") and, in part, gustatory ("syrupy sweet"), to the kinesthetic ("sag") and organic ("explode"). This progression of imagery really draws the reader into the poem by seeing the drying up and the festering and in the end, by feeling the collapse and the explosion. Furthermore, this imagery is also viewed in a different perspective. When dreams are ignored, the speaker explains that the consequences can be really dangerous. For instance, Hughes says, ' ' Or does it explode ' ' (Hughes 11). This line is a metaphor which concludes this poem by making us think of bombs and fireworks that can harm people. This makes a lot sense since this poem was written during African-American Civil
Rights Movement where there was a lot of violence and oppression. Another example of this kind of imagery is when Hughes writes, ' ' Maybe it just sags/ like a heavy load ' ' (Hughes

Related Documents