Perspectives

Literary and historical period

The poem “Harlem” by Langston Hughes belongs to the Modernist movement called the Harlem Renaissance. The term refers to a cultural movement that began in the neighborhood of Harlem, New York City, and that was characterized by innovations in literature, art, and music. Harlem Renaissance literature generally deals with issues related to the problems faced by African Americans. This idea applies to “Harlem”, which is a poem that metaphorically discusses the condition of Black people and the consequences of ignoring their dreams. 

“Harlem” is also a modernist poem. Modernist poems rely heavily on symbols and engage the active attention of the readers. In “Harlem” the reader is invited to think about what happens to a dr...

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