How does Langston Hughes use imagery in Harlem?

Asked By: Joesph Quarantelli | Last Updated: 1st July, 2020
Category: books and literature poetry
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In "Harlem (A Dream Deferred)", Langston Hughes makes use of symbolism as well as powerful sensory imagery to show us the emotions that he and his people go through in their quest for freedom and equality. "Or fester like a sore-and then run?" The image this symbol creates is more powerful than the raisin.

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Also, what literary devices are used in Harlem by Langston Hughes?

Hughes relies on alliteration, similes, and anaphora in the poem. Alliteration is the repetition of a consonant sound. Similes use like, as, or than to make comparisons. Anaphora is the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning successive groups of words.

Additionally, what rhetorical device is used in a dream deferred? similes

Additionally, what happens to a dream deferred imagery?

Dream Deferred” by Langston Hughes- Imagery. In this poem imagery plays a huge part in describing what happens to dreams when other ambitions take over, and that dream is no longer sought after. These images have there own significance, but unite together to make the reader understand that a forgotten dream is tragic

What most likely happens to a dream deferred?

The speaker wonders what happens to a deferred dream. He wonders if it dries up like a raisin in the sun, or if it oozes like a wound and then runs. It might smell like rotten meat or develop a sugary crust. It might just sag like a “heavy load,” or it might explode.

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What is the theme for Harlem by Langston Hughes?

Major Themes in “Harlem”: Delay, sadness, and dreams are the major themes of this poem. The poem speaks about the oppression of African-Americans. The tone suggests that their goals always remain unapproachable and lose their meanings.

What is the tone in Harlem by Langston Hughes?

One of the tones of the poem "Harlem" is frustration. The poets uses negative words like "fester" and "run", and phrases like "stink like rotten meat" to convey his frustrated tone.

What is the metaphor in Harlem by Langston Hughes?

In the poem "Harlem," Langston Hughes creates a central metaphor surrounding a dream by comparing a dream to multiple images of death and destruction in order to ask what happens to a "dream deferred," meaning a dream that has been delayed in being fulfilled.

How does Langston Hughes use figurative language?

Written in 1951, Langston Hughes' poem “Harlem” (also known as “A Dream Deferred”) uses figurative language, primarily similes and imagery, to create a powerful image of what happens when a wish is left unfulfilled. In the right column, we see Hughes' poem divested of these similes and images.

What does Harlem by Langston Hughes mean?


Langston Hughes' poem Harlem explains what could happen to dreams that are deferred or put on hold. The poem was initially meant to focus on the dreams of blacks during the 1950s, but is relevant to the dreams of all people.

What is the structure of Harlem by Langston Hughes?

"Harlem" does not have a set rhythm because it includes several lines of varying lengths. Hughes' poem "Harlem" is written in free verse, which does not have a recognizable pattern. The poem is "free" of rules for rhyming or rhythmic patterns.

What does stink like rotten meat mean?

Stinky Meat or Syrupy Sweet? The poem also evokes the reader's sense of smell. The speaker asks if the deferred dreams "stink like rotten meat" or in contrast, "crust and sugar over - like a syrupy sweet?" Readers respond to the image presented, which are particularly strong due to their evocation of scent.

What type of poem is Harlem Night Song?

The poem Harlem Night Song by Langston Hughes uses many poetic devices including repetition. This poem has the theme of love. In this poem he uses only one poetic technique. He uses repetition when he says " come let us roam the night" in the beginning and when he says "I love you".

What does Langston Hughes mean by Or does it explode?

“Or does it explode?” The last line in this poem states “Or does it explode?” this explains the last outcome that can happen when a dream is put aside. This line is represented by a fist punching through water as it highlights the theme of anger and violence.

Does it stink like rotten meat poem?


Does it stink like rotten meat? like a syrupy sweet? like a heavy load. Or does it explode?

What is the mood of dream deferred?

The mood of “A Dream Deferred” is inquisitive, but slightly cynical. The speaker describes his uncertainty towards the future and the way the dream could play out.

Who is the speaker in Harlem by Langston Hughes?

In Langston Hughes' poem, "Harlem" the speaker is not necessarily a specific person—it could be Hughes, but we can also assume the speaker is any dreamer: however, with the poem's title, and the mission present in Langston Hughes' poetry (of portraying the plight of blacks in America), the piece speaks specifically to

What are the different types of imagery?

There are five main types of imagery, each related to one of the human senses:
  • Visual imagery (sight)
  • Auditory imagery (hearing)
  • Olfactory imagery (smell)
  • Gustatory imagery (taste)
  • Tactile imagery (touch)

What happens to a dream deferred quote?

You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

What does the phrase Dream Deferred mean?


The “dream deferred” was the dream in which all Americans, except blacks, were able to participate. The American Dream was coming true for white America, especially after WWII, when well-paying jobs were plentiful; and a house, a car, appliances, vacations, and higher education were affordable.

What does fester like a sore mean?

Emotional wounds stink too, like when you hold on to anger or pain until it starts to fester and explodes. Fester is a verb describing what happens to a wound or a sore that gets worse and has liquid, or pus, oozing out. Infections cause cuts, broken bones, and diseases to fester.

What is imagery poetry?

Imagery is the name given to the elements in a poem that spark off the senses. Despite "image" being a synonym for "picture", images need not be only visual; any of the five senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell) can respond to what a poet writes.