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Harlem (Dream Deferred)

Harlem (Dream Deferred)

  

by Langston Hughes

Foodstuffs and Domestic Life

Symbol Analysis

As he explores what happens when dreams are put on hold, our speaker uses a series of similes that compare the act of deferring dreams to that of raisins drying in the sun, meat rotting, sugary syrup crusting over, and heavy loads sagging. This imagery remind us of everyday, ordinary tasks and makes us feel like our speaker is arguing that dreams are as important and as necessary as eating, cooking, cleaning, or carrying something.

  • Line 2-3: Our speaker uses simile (notice the word "like") to compare deferred dreams to a raisin drying in the sun.
  • Line 4-5: Our speaker uses simile to compare deferred dreams to a festering, bleeding sore.
  • Line 6: Our speaker uses simile to compare deferred dreams to rotten meat.
  • Line 7-8: Our speaker uses simile to compare deferred dreams to sugary things that have crusted over.
  • Line 9-10: Our speaker uses simile to compare deferred dreams to heavy loads that sag.

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