Everything you need to understand or teach Harlem by Langston Hughes.
The speaker of this poem, who may represent Hughes, poses a large, open question that the following sub-questions both answer and extend. This poem, and the volume in which it appears, Montage of a Dream Deferred, explore what happens to people and society when millions of individuals' dreams get deferred, or put off indefinitely.
The first image in the poem proposes that the dream dries up like a raisin. This simile likens the original dream to a grape, which is round, juicy, green and fresh. Once the dream has lain neglected for too long, it dries up. Though the dream is still sweet and edible, it has shrunken from its former state and turned black. The famous 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun, by African-American playwright Lorraine Hansberry, takes its title from this poem. The play also explores the risks and consequences for African Americans of losing sight... View more of the Harlem Summary