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Subject Harlem
Posted by Kim
Posted on Thu Nov 26 01:11:07 1998
From IP fanny.sedorm.fju.edu.tw  

Journal --- Harlem
I have heard ¡§Harlem¡¨ this word for many times from many Hollywood movies. If I did not remember it wrong, it should be a district in New York where the Black-African Americans ¡Vlive. My impression of this district is dirty, and has a lot of crime.
I feel that this poem is full of depression. Langston Hughes uses many terrible and disgusting similes to describe his dream, and uses only one simile that sound a little less disgusting! Langston Hughes points out the place he talking about in the title, and mentions it no more in the poem. By so we can tell that this dream may probably be a dream of the African Americans.
Langston Hughes compared his own dream with American dream, which is about adventuring, and establishing a world of their own through making efforts. I think at the 60¡¦s, African Americans were not part of that American dream. They were only the white¡¦s tools to get this dream move on faster. They made lots of efforts to carry out the American dream but they are not the ones who enjoy from their efforts. Their own dream, was deferred, and even did not have a chance for them to carry it out upon today!
In the first line, he starts with the question and then supplies five possible answers.
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
I guess he is trying to tell us how the original dream ¡V the juice and sweet grape ¡V is burnt by the heat of sun (the white) and is shrinking and even worse, becomes a raisin. At the time of 60¡¦s, African Americans did not receive equal respect from the white and most of them were labors. They did not receive education. If they would like to change this situation, they could not have succeeded because they were illiterate and could hardly find a way to fulfill their dream. This is why Langston Hughes says they are like a raisin in the sun.
Or fester like a sore ¡V
And then run?
The most disgusting part of the poem, I think. This dream now even becomes a dirty, wounded thing. He might mean that this dream does not have its own place on this land, and that why it has to run away.
Does it stink like rotten meat?
I can smell the unpleasant odor by looking at this line. I think he is probably saying that no one can fulfill this dream, and that it is ignored by other races. So this deferred dream is rotting and seems to have no chance to be carried out forever!
Or crust and sugar over ¡V
Like a syrupy sweet?
Here, Langston seems to give us one good possibility this dream can become, something sweet and makes us feel better from those unpleasant things. He lets us see a bit of hope; however, it is not true, because it comes one serious stanza.
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
He did not use a question mark this time. Though he says ¡§maybe¡¨, but I think that this is Langston¡¦s answer to the very first question. This dream is just like a burden on African Americans¡¦ shoulders, and they can not lift it up. Compared with the sweet thing on the last two lines, this one becomes more sad and shocking!
Or does it explode?
This sentence is in Italics. It gives forth a great amount of power. It seems to me that there is no hope for African Americans to carry out their dream in the world of the white. They are pressed, squeezed and banished by the racists, and this deferred dream can never come true.
I think that why the author uses so many questions is to let the readers think about it and learn from this question. From those questions, they can learn how rough this dream is. Also, compared with ¡§The Negro Speaks of Rivers¡¨, this poem¡¦s tone is more negative and desperate and sad. It seems that there is nothing can be done to help this dream!


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