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Harlem (Dream Deferred)

Harlem (Dream Deferred)

by Langston Hughes

Analysis: Sound Check

There's a tinge of Jeopardy to this poem (thanks to the six questions), and there's a healthy dose of the Blues (thanks to all of the dream talk, the straight talk, and the soul-searching). When we read this poem aloud, we can't help but inflect (raise) our voices at the end of each question. The result is a sound that doesn't quite ever settle down; every line sounds like an airplane taking off into the sky. Even the final line, which contains a full and complete sentence, launches us into the poetic outer space. Maybe it's those italics mixed with that final question mark, but this last line propels an already moving poem into a whole new universe. In fact, if this poem were a song, we imagine there would be a key change right before this last line.

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