Harlem (Dream Deferred)
by Langston Hughes
Harlem (Dream Deferred) Summary
Our speaker asks what happens if dreams are postponed or put on the back burner. He offers some possible answers to his question. He wonders if these postponed dreams dry up like raisins in the sun. He wonders if they fester like sores. He wonders if they rot like meat or get all crusty, like sugary syrup left out in the open air. He suggests postponed dreams sag like a heavy load. And, finally, he wonders whether dreams explode if they are postponed. There's something about this last line that makes us think it is really the answer to his first question.