This study guide will help you analyze the poem “Harlem” (1951) by Langston Hughes. You can also find a summary of the poem, as well as ideas for interpreting it and putting it into perspective

Langston Hughes (1901-1967) was an American writer and columnist. Hughes wrote poetry that explored experience of black people in America and is known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. The poem “Harlem”, which is also known as “A Dream Deferred”, was published in 1951 in the poem suite Montage of a Dream Deferred

Excerpt from the study guide:

The poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes begins with the speaker asking what happens with a dream that is postponed. The speaker continues with a series of possible answers to the questions. He asks whether the dream dries up, whether it becomes infected, whether it becomes smelly, and whether it forms a crust. Then, the speaker makes the assumption that the dream probably sags, becoming a heavy burden. The poem ends with a final question, where the speaker asks whether the dream explodes. 

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