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A Dream Deferred and Democracy by Langston Hughes Essay

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Updated: Dec 14th, 2021

Life of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes is an African American poet, was born in Joplin, Missouri, united states of America on 1st February 1902. He was sixty-five years old when he died in New York City, on 22nd May 1967. Langston Hughes wrote many poems during his life among them are A Dream Deferred and Democracy (Roessel et al. 10).

The poem I: A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

The poem “A dream deferred” depicts how destructive our long-cherished desires may turn if we keep on procrastinating.

The poet uses rhetorical questions in order to answer the question of what happens if a dream is deferred. Using these questions, we are able to understand the stand of the poet. According to the poet, Dreams represent those goals we cherish in our lives, they play an important role in the life of a dreamer and their postponement can lead to negative effects (Hughes 8).

From the poem, each question depicts the effects associated with dreams if they are postponed for a longer period. The first question looks at our dreams as the raisins that are nutritious and tender if they are dried well in the sun. But if they over dry, they will become hard to chew and lose all the nutrition, This warns us of the consequences that may befall us if we sit there and wait for conditions to be favorable to us in order to attain our dreams. We should learn to forge our way forward no matter what, or else our dreams will be like raisins that were over-dried on the sun (Hughes and Rampersad 57).

What if we may never lose hope in our dreams? They will fester like a wound and become infected never to heal. Dreams that fester may be infected with diseases like dissatisfaction and restlessness and rather an indulgence in criminal activities (Roessel et al. 39).

like meat that is rotten producing awful odor if not consumed within a specific time that is the situation we will be if left unused for a longer period of time, they may result into unusable thoughts that are crusted over with anger, hatred, and despair (Hughes 19).

The second stanza is a suggestion that our dream goal may sag as if carrying a heavy load thus slowing our moving pace and make us clumsy if they are not realized in time and thus become a burden in one’s mind with statements like I wish…, if only… among others. This might lead to depression and may cause mental illness.

The last stanza uses metaphor to show the result of a deferred dream. Bombs are the ones known to explode resulting in great havoc in society. Deferred dreams may make a person lose hope and explode by committing suicide or homicide or even both (Roessel et al. 87).

Poem II: Democracy by Langston Hughes

The poem is a call for democracy and freedom of the African American people in America.

This poem was written in the early 1900s a time when there was no democracy in America and African Americans had no rights (Hughes and Rampersad 173).

Democracy is the freedom and right of every individual to be part of the Government system. This poem speaks the poet’s mind on equality and freedom, especially in the first stanza. To him, his rights and freedom should move alongside those of the whites without jeopardizing his dignity in any way. He is also an American and should have a right to exist and own property in America as the whites. This is depicted in lines 7 to 9. He detests those people who believe thing will take their course and looks forward to the future to solve their problems. He didn’t want to submit and believed the fight for freedom should a present thing and it is the duty of each individual to participate. He considered freedom as a birthright that everyone should enjoy regardless of their race as depicted in the last three lines (Hughes 31)

Works Cited

Hughes, Langston., and Rampersad, Arnold. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. California: Vintage, 1990.

Hughes, Langston. Selected Poems of Langston Hughes. California: Vintage, 1995.

Roessel, David., Rampersad, Arnold., and Andrews, Benny. Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes. New York: Sterling, 2006.

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