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A Dream Deferred Is a Dream Forgotten

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Poems by Langston Hughes all involve strong emotions and encourage the reader to relate them to his or her own life. They inevitably strike as truthful and accurate accounts of human experiences, full of raw emotion and depth. The poem called “Harlem” has made the strongest impression on me personally because it pushed me think about my future and reassess my goals.

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For every human being, and especially for a young person, dreams are as important as oxygen. They allow people to lift themselves above the monotonous routine and aspire to something great. That is why Hughes has touched the deepest corners of my heart with the first line of his poem: “What happens to a dream deferred?” (Hughes, 2012). It took me by surprise, as I am sure it did many people, because we do not often think what would happen if we forget about the dream for awhile and do the task at hand. However, this poem really pushes one to stop and think about important things in life, the future that could become present is we stopped deferring our dreams. The poet describes the dream vividly comparing it to a raisin, a sore, rotten meat, and sweet syrup. Finally, in the separate two lines, he states: “Maybe it just sags/ like a heavy load” (Hughes, 2012). At this point the reader recognizes his/her own dreams that were either infected, or covered with a crust of false sugar, or dried up into nothing, or became just heavy thins to carry around. Whatever really happens, the message is clear – deferring a dream does not lead to positive results and happiness.

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Langston Hughes’ “Harlem” provokes a person to critically analyze the life he/she is living and become more aware of the desires and dreams. It makes one think that life cannot be spent just dreaming, it has to be spent in the constant and persistent efforts to make the dreams come true.

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