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The Transformation Of A Dream Deferred By Langston Hughes

861 words - 4 pages

In Langston Hughes’ poem, A Dream Deferred, Hughes wonders what happens to a dream that does not come true. He writes, “Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?” In A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, Walter shows that his deferred dream does both. Early in the play, he shares his hopes and dreams for his family and their future with his young son, Travis. He imagines that earning his fortune will cure all the shortcomings and injustices in their lives. The limitations of Walter’s aspirations for himself and his family undermine his ability to save his family. Walter’s acceptance of unjust systems, which makes one man “master” and another one “servant,” compromises ...view middle of the document...

In relation to his son he goes the furthest, imagining himself as omnipotent, “ you just name it, son…and I’ll hand you the world.” At this time, he would have to be god-like to deliver on this promise, since no human being can hand another “the world.” In all the examples, he places himself above others and shows a lack of respect towards them by continuing the debilitating “master-servant” relationship that weighs on every one “like a heavy load”.
Walter’s behavior in this passage is self-absorbed and childish, and Hansberry highlights the problems in several ways. For example, Walter’s trails off when he refers to “a business transaction” that his son “would not understand.” This moment suggests that Walter does not really have interest in his young son, who he claims to be helping. Hansberry has already shown in the play that young Travis may understand quite a bit about business. After all, toward the start of the play, Travis urgently asks his mother to give him the money he needs to make a donation to his class. Travis is well aware that money can open doors and create advantages for people, and he is much more developed than his father realizes. Similarly, Hansberry shows Walter’s shallowness by removing any curiosity or questions from his speech. Walter never asks Travis what his own dream might be. Instead, Walter pushes a his dream down Travis’s throat, and imagines that Travis will happily play the role that...

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