Montage of a Dream Deferred Themes

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Discontent

Discontent with inequality is one of the central themes of Montage of a Dream Deferred. The deferred dream to which Hughes refers in the title is the American dream as it applies to African Americans. In Hughes's Harlem, while white Americans are free to pursue their dreams, black Americans continue to be held back by racism and poverty. Hughes addresses this issue directly in the short poem "Tell Me," when he asks why his aspirations have had to wait.

In "Children's Rhymes," the chants of the playing children illustrate a keen understanding of this inequality, even going so far as to proclaim, "We knows everybody / ain't free!" In the poem "Harlem," the narrator suggests that such inequality might eventually result in violence or revolt. Although this fundamental unfairness is easily recognized, for many of the characters given voice in Montage of a Dream Deferred, it is accepted—for...

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This section contains 874 words
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Buy the Montage of a Dream Deferred Study Guide
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