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Harlem (Dream Deferred)

Harlem (Dream Deferred)

by Langston Hughes

Transience Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun? (1-2)

But raisins are already dried up, aren't they? By comparing dreams to raisins, our speaker perhaps wants to describe them as being small and already pretty withered. By this logic, if you ignore them, then you make them even smaller and more withered.

Quote #2

Or fester like a sore–
And then run? (4-5)

Interesting that there's no talk of healing here. In this light, ignored dreams will never heal and go away. They will fester and then bleed like an infected wound.

Quote #3

Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet? (6-8)

Both of these similes have to do with change, and how food changes when it is not carefully put away or when it is not thrown out at the appropriate time. Does this mean that even when you ignore dreams, they won't let you ignore them? Or does it mean that you either have to get rid of dreams or act on them (deferring is not allowed)?

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