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Harlem (Dream Deferred)

Harlem (Dream Deferred)


by Langston Hughes

Harlem (Dream Deferred) Theme of Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Dreams are awesome things, and we can chat about them until the cows come home. But are dreams really dreams if they are never pursued? In "Harlem," the speaker discusses the darker underbelly of poems; that is, he wonders what happens when dreams are ignored or "deferred." The result is not too pretty.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. Dreams come in all shapes and sizes. What kind of dreams do you think our speaker is thinking about?
  2. What does it mean to defer a dream?
  3. Our speaker offers several possible answers to his first question. Which of these answers do you think he believes in most?
  4. Why does our speaker choose the word "deferred" over words like "ignored," "postponed," or "forgotten?"

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Dreams explode if they are deferred.

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