Poem Analysis “As I Grew Older,” by Langston Hughes
Time passes by, leaving behind memories but dreams never fade. They are immortalised in ones’ souls. In the poem, “As I Grew Older” by Langston Hughes, the persona’s dreams are immortalised since his childhood although he faces numerous obstacles in achieving them. The poem is about one’s dream in life. In the quest of his journey, the persona encounters enormous number of challenges and barriers.
The theme of this poem revolves around the strong willingness and the hardship needed for ones to achieve their goals. For teenagers, dreams seem to be their inspiration in life. They are stronger with the presence of dreams in their life. The persona first introduces his poem with the existence of his dreams, ‘It was a long time ago’ (line 1), and ‘I have almost forgotten my dream’ (line 2). This is typical in most teenagers. They come out with so many dreams, slowly the dreams fade as the time passes by and the dreams are forgotten due to their other commitments and in a certain point of their life, the dreams reappear and they become very enthusiastic about them. The poet uses ‘The wall’ to symbolise the barriers and hardships that teenagers might have come across in order to achieve their dreams. ‘Rose until it touched the sky’, (line 11) the barriers faced by teenagers can sometime be to the maximum point where only courage and determination are needed to resolve them. Physical barrier such as poverty, inter personal barrier that revolves around the teenager’s individual mental states as well as intra personal barrier that takes the others as the medium of control and semantic barrier which includes the communication process. All these four barriers play a very big role in a teenager’s life. These barriers can sometime, degrade the teenager’s determination and they give up hope about their dreams. It is showed in lines ‘I am black’ (line 14) and ‘I lie down in the shadow’ (line 15). For those who believe that they can achieve and acquire their dreams, they will certainly come out from the ‘shadow’ and run towards their dreams along the route of success as in the lines ‘Break through the wall’ (line22) and ‘Find my dream!’(line 23).
There is an ample number of literary devices in the poem “As I Grew Older” by Langston Hughes. The most prominent one is simile as in the line ‘Bright like a sun’. The poet compares his dream as bright as a sun. It is understood that the sun is the symbol of brightness and clearness (Simpsom & Weiner, 1989). So does the persona’s dream. It is so clear to him, shines and never fades in his life. Apart from that, the wall is used is to symbolise the hardships and barriers that need to be encountered by the persona. The symbolism of wall as the hardship and barriers are really effective in this poem. The wall is depicted as hardship, barrier, limitations, conformity, exclusion, imprisonment, alienation and isolation (Calvo & Jacques, 1998) that arises slowly...