Racism In Hughes's Poem By Langston Hughes

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The poem Harlem by Langston Hughes is a lyric poem, and the author focuses the theme on society “deferring” the dreams of African Americans due to racism. Langston Hughes uses descriptive similes throughout the poem to get his theme of racism across to his audience. In the 2nd line of the poem, Langston Hughes informs the reader that deferring a dream is similar to a raisin. This is because as grapes age, they lose their juice and begin to dry out, turning into a raisin. This is what happens to people when they are forced by society to give up on their dreams. In the following lines, Langston Hughes uses a simile to show the reader the psychological difficulties that will develop if he or she has to give up on something that he or she worked …show more content…
This is known as situational irony. Langston Hughes begins the poem with a question and goes on throughout the poem answering the question with rhetorical questions. Each answer is not what the reader would have expected a deferred dream would feel like. When the reader is asked, “what happens to a dream deferred?” the reader would probably say that the person would get over it as time progresses. However, this is not what Langston Hughes suggests. Langston Hughes believes that as time progresses, the pain and emotions of a person who has to defer his or her dream will continue to build up until it reaches the point that that person will “explode.” This is situational irony because this amount of emotion over something people do not normally think much about is nothing like the reader would have expected and the outcome of the poem is completely different from what the reader expects the outcome to be. The use of situational irony would not be as transparent if the author had not used a specific type of diction in order to get his tone …show more content…
Langston Hughes states each line in the form of a rhetorical question. He does this in order to focus the reader’s attention on what happens when a dream is deferred. As the poem progresses, each rhetorical question shows a more severe result in order to get the reader to a final answer of what actually happens to a dream deferred. Langston Hughes also alternates every other beginning of a sentence with the word “or.” The reason Langston Hughes does this is because he is showing the reader that the previous rhetorical question is related to that rhetorical question in order to show the reader the two different feelings and emotions that a person suffers when society shuts down his or her

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