Analysis of “Harlem” by Langston Hughes

Analysis of “Harlem” by Langston Hughes

Analysis of “Harlem” by Langston Hughes

“Harlem,” which was written in 1951 by Langston Hughes is my favorite poem, as well as a well-known work of poetry. The poem addresses a very imperative theme, that is, the constraints of the American Dream among the African Americans (Foster, 2003, .78). During the early 1950’s, there was still racial segregation in the U.S. African Americans were encumbered with the slavery legacy that rendered them as second-class citizens in front of the law, especially in the South. The poet, Hughes, was closely aware of the challenges that he, as well as other black people, were facing as American citizens. This paper will look into the different elements of poetry that Hughes employed in the poem “Harlem” as well as analyze them.

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The poem’s title, “Harlem,” suggests that the dream is one which has been hidden from the people. It is one of the social as well as civil rights. The speaker muses concerning the destiny of a “dream deferred.” However, it is not apparent who the speaker is, probably the poet, a professor, or perhaps even an undefined black man or woman. The poet, Hughes, applies vivid analogies in order to evoke the image of a dream that has been postponed. The persona imagines it drying up, decaying, foul-smelling, crusting over, and eventually exploding.

Foster, T. C. (2003). How to read literature like a professor: A lively and entertaining guide to reading between the lines. New York: Quill.
Gibson, K. A. (2002). Crash, bang, boom: Exploring literary devices through children’s literature. Fort Atkinson, Wis: UpstartBooks.

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