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Word Count: 961
A Dream Deferred What happens to a dream deferred a Does it dry up b like a raisin in the sun c Or fester like a sore- d And then run c Does it stink like rotten meat e Or crust and sugar over- like a syrupy sweet e Maybe it just sags f like a heavy load g Or does it explode g Born in Joplin Missouri James Langston Hughes 1902-1967 was born into an abolitionist family As the grandson of James Mercer Langston the first Black American to be elected to public office in 1855 Hughes attended Central High School in Cleveland Ohio but began writing poetry in the eighth grade and was selected as Class Poet His father didnt think he would be able to make a living at writing and encouraged him to pursue a more practical career His father paid his tuition to Columbia University on the grounds he study engineering After a short time Langston dropped out of the program with a B average all the while he continued writing poetry Hughes The poetry of Langston Hughes the poet laureate of Harlem is an effective commentary on the condition of blacks in America during the 20th Century Hughes places particular emphasis on Harlem a black area in New York that became a destination of many hopeful blacks in the first half of the 1900s In much of Hughes poetry a theme that runs throughout is that of a dream deferred The recurrence of a dream deferred in several Hughes poems especially this one paint a clear picture of the disappointment and dismay that blacks in America faced in Harlem Furthermore as the poem develops so does the feeling behind A Dream Deferred growing more serious and angrier with each new line To understand Hughes idea of the dream deferred one must have an understanding of the history of Harlem for each and every line in this poem
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