Analysis of "Harlem" by American Poet Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes poem “Harlem” is a series of similes describing what happens to a dream that is put off. The first simile in line three, “dry up like a raisin in the sun”, is suggesting that the dream is merely forgotten over time. The second simile (in line four), “fester like a sore”, is suggesting that it eats at you, constantly aggravating you because it has not been obtained. The third (in line six), “stink like rotten meat”, is a suggestion that the dream is making you mad because it has not been reached. The simile in line eight, “sugar over like a syrupy sweet”, suggests that the dream is on the horizon and is so close that it you can taste it. The last simile (in line 10), “sags like a heavy load”, is asking if it is a burden on the dreamer.

Hughes switches from similes to a metaphor in the last line. This metaphor “does it explode”, to me, suggests that the dream has finally been reached, I think that Hughes switched to a metaphor in this line to symbolize the drastic difference from not successfully reaching your dream to obtaining your dream, just as a metaphor is a big difference from a simile.

The citation of the Euphrates, the Congo, the Nile and the Mississippi rivers in Langston Hughes poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” are all referenced to because they were some of the major means of transporting slaves back in the old days. Hughes’ poem is not only about slavery in the United States; his poem is about slavery all over the world. To me, his poem tells the story of how slavery has been known (in some form or another) since the beginning of civilization and how Abraham Lincoln (in the United States) eventually abolished it. I also do not sense any hostility in the poem; I think it is just the undeniable facts of history told as Hughes saw them.




Please do not pass this sample essay as your own, otherwise you will be accused of plagiarism. Our writers can write any custom essay for you!
  • Harlem
  • Sample essay topic, essay writing: Harlem - 507 words The Imagery ofLangston Hughes'sHarlem "What happens when dreams are deferred?" is the first line in Langston Hughes's "Harlem," a very interesting social commentary on Harlem in the early 1950's. It talks about a "dream deferred" Harlem, which was a haven for literature and intellect in the late
  • Harlem Analysis
  • Sample essay topic, essay writing: Harlem Analysis - 309 words The speaker of the poem in line one asks when people's dreams are deferred. In line two and three the speaker says that dreams dry up like a raisin. The speaker compares the original dream to a grape in the sun. The grape is juicy and
  • American Poet, Langston Hughes
  • Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902 and died May 22, 1967, was an African-American author. James Langston Hughes was born in Joplin, Missouri. He published works in all forms of literature, but he was best known for his poetry and his sketches about a black man called "Simple." Most of Hughes's sketches about Simple have
  • Playground of the Poetry essay
  • Langston Hughes, born in 1902 and died in 1967, wrote some of the most well know works during the Harlem Renaissance. His poem, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers,” is one his writings from this time period. The poem, if literally interpreted is about rivers, but it holds a much deeper meaning to a trained eye
  • Poem~dream Deferred
  • Sample essay topic, essay writing: Poem~dream Deferred - 538 words After the Civil War won the black people their freedom, it seemed as though their dreams of great opportunities were finally going to come true. However, they were met by even more obstacles, which left the blacks to wonder if their dreams had any chance of