Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study


Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study

Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study

Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study

Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study

The poem ‘Harlem’ by Langston Hughes deals with the theme of a dream. But the dream that the poet had in his mind while writing the poem is not mentioned in the poem. Even the title word ‘Harlem’ is absent from the body of the poem. Literally, ‘Harlem’ is the name of an area in New York City. During the 1920s an intellectual, social and artistic movement rose out in Harlem which is called ‘The Harlem Renaissance’. This movement aimed at bringing out the hopes and aspirations of the Negros, the most oppressed human race.

The poem begins with the question:

‘What happens to a dream deferred?’

The poet tries to show the effects of a deferred dream with the help of some fantastic imageries like the imageries of raisins, sore, rotten meat, syrup and heavy load.

But it seems that there is no answer to the question with which the poem begins. Yet the imageries are very significant because they give us some ideas on the effects of the dream that remain deferred in our life. 

We dream in life, but most of our dreams, except only a few, don’t get fulfilled.  The life of these people become sweet and happy whose dreams come to reality and the people whose dreams never come into reality become their life boresome and unbearable.

In the last stanza, the poet has used two imageries of sagging and exploding. The imagery of sagging refers to the dreams which never come true. These deferred dreams become unbearable as a heavy load is unbearable to us. The imagery of exploding refers to those dreams which, for not being able to come out naturally, burst out suddenly causing huge destruction to our society.

In the poem ‘Harlem’, the poet has employed alliteration and rhyme as poetic devices to contribute to the effect of the poem.

The alliterations used in the poem are: ‘dream deferred’, ‘does it dry’, ‘syrup sweet’.

The rhyming words used in the poem are: 

sun —–run

meat —– sweet

load —- explode.

The poem is about the effects of deferred dreams. The poet Langston Hughes tries to show that some of our deferred dreams become as fine as raisins, some fester like sore for not being able to get fulfilled, some stink like rotten meat, and some, which get fulfilled in real life become as sweet as syrup.

Thus the poet, by employing alliteration and rhyme, has succeeded in bringing about the effects of the poem. 0 0 0

Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study

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N. B. This article entitled ‘Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study’ originally belongs to the book ‘World Poetry Criticism‘ by Menonim Menonimus. Langston Hughes | Harlem | An Analytical Study

Books of Literary Criticism by M. Menonimus:

  1. World Short Story Criticism
  2. World Poetry Criticism
  3. World Drama Criticism
  4. World Novel Criticism
  5. World Essay Criticism
  6. Indian English Poetry Criticism
  7. Indian English Poets and Poetry Chief Features
  8. Emily Dickinson’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  9. Walt Whitman’s Poetry-A Thematic Study
  10. Critical Essays on English Poetry
  11. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: Return of the Spirit-An Analytical Study
  12. Tawfiq al-Hakim’s Novel: ‘Yawmiyyat Naib Fil Arayaf’-An Analytical Study
  13. Analytical Studies of Some Arabic Short Stories
  14. A Brief History of Arabic Literature: Pre-Islamic Period

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I am Menonim Menonimus, a Philosopher & Writer.


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