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Langston Hughes' Expression Of Racial Disparities

1195 words - 5 pages

The poem "Dream Deferred" was written by Langston Hughes (although the name was originally "Harlem"). Despite the short length of this poem, it is able to convey many emotions that illustrated the time period. Approximately ten years before this work was published, the depression was coming to an end. Jobs were scarce in general, but even more so for someone of African American background. Hughes felt the difficulty of trying to exercise all the rights he was supposedly granted by the Jim Crow Laws. This poem is derived from that difficulty. It leads the reader to ponder the 'American Dream' and if it really was, or is today, attainable for people of color.According to Walter C. Farrell, Jr. and Patricia A. Johnson, "A Dream Deferred" was originally published in 1926, but expanded and added to "Montage of a Dream Deferred" which was published in 1951. "Montage of a Dream Deferred" is a collection of Hughes' poems that reflected the pains of the Negro community that were sustained in trying to achieve the American Dream. Hughes tries to convey these emotions in the pieces he writes. Harry Phillips comments that, "[...] the poet guides us...to a deeper acknowledgment of African Americans' disillusionment with the American dreams of seizing opportunity, working hard, and enjoying success." It is a known fact that African Americans that came home from fighting for our country were not offered the same rights as Caucasian Americans. Since this statement is a fact, it is very important to understand the true meaning behind the words of Langston Hughes. The words used in his poems are more then just words, they are emotions he expresses in his writing. Those men came home with the dream that they too could own a home for their family, only to be denied by their country based upon their race. It is also a known fact that separate but equal laws did not really accommodate fair treatment between the races. School systems in white areas were better funded than those of colored neighborhoods. It seemed as if although both races were allotted the same rights, African Americans received what was leftover from the Caucasian communities.In "Dream Deferred", similes are used to convey the feelings that emerged from these situations. Harry Phillips observes that, "[...] Hughes uses the image of a dried raisin to convey the idea of shriveling and devaluation." The thought of a dried out raisin can be compared to a person who is empty, and yearning for a better life. I also perceive this as the feelings that accompanied not being given the same opportunities to excel in life as those that the opposite race were welcomed to. According to James Presley, "There is a wall about Harlem, and the American Dream, as a reality, exists outside Harlem." Harlem was the birthplace for African American artists, poets, musicians and civil rights leaders. There are many famous people that should be impressed upon from Harlem such as Malcolm X. Malcolm X was a leader for the African...

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