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The Poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes

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    The poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes spoke volumes to me.

    I’ve endured a lot in life; however, I managed to deal with the obstacles of the world that challenged me. Throughout the poem, Hughes use several different figurative languages such as similes, metaphors, and hyperboles to enhance his poem.

    He used the word “like” quite often in the poem. For example, on lines one and two he stated, “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun.” Hughes compared a dream to a raisin. In other words, raisins don’t start out dry, it starts out a plump juicy grape.

    Sometimes in life, we can have our goals and dreams all mapped out, but situations happen that cause us to put everything on hold. The poem is giving readers an insight of a visual painting of what dreams are like with effort and without effort. For your dreams to reach reality one must set aside a plan to reach those dreams. If you don’t have a plan that goes alone with your dreams, your mind can drift off into other directions causing a deferment.

    Life throws so many fireballs at once, we must be equipped to extinguish them. Speaking from experience I had so many dreams once I graduated high school to go off to college to become a Registered Nurse.

    After high school, my dreams were altered, and my life became overwhelming. I became pregnant, unemployed, in excessive debt, and without support from anyone. My life began to slowly dry up like a raisin. The little faith I had in God kept my dream alive and from drying up completely.

    Hughes use a metaphor at the end of the poem, “Or does it explode.” On line ten Hughes is comparing a dream to an explosion. We have dreams but sometimes allow things to get in the way of us pursuing them. If we don’t overcome obstacles they can destroy our dreams. The anxiety, burdens, and negative people could potentially cause you to give up on your dreams. If you allow burdens to get the best of you, you will be left dreamless.

    Line ten of the poem uses a hyperbole which is an exaggeration. Dreams cannot explode in real life. Hughes is trying to convey that if you allow your burdens to pile up on you, whether it’s in a dream or reality, your mind will eventually explode.

    Reflecting on my life a couple of years ago, my mind would have exploded if I allowed the burdens on my shoulder to weigh me down. The moral behind the poem is, never limit yourself from obtaining your dreams or desires in life. You may have to take baby steps to accomplish your dreams but try not to postpone them. Everyone’s situation is not the same but delaying your dreams could cause a blackout.

    Hughes wanted to paint a picture that inspired his readers to bring their dreams to reality. He also wanted them to know what the picture would look like if they decided to postpone their dreams. I really enjoyed the inspiration behind this poem because it enabled me to think outside the box.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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