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In the poem "A Dream Deferred," Langston Hughes describes a possible reaction to a...

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billybob156 | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted September 24, 2011 at 5:39 AM via web

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In the poem "A Dream Deferred," Langston Hughes describes a possible reaction to a neglected dream.  How does this fit with Walter Lee, and how were his dreams were neglected?

i am writing an essay and i neeed a good conclusion for it... plus some examples from the play.

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playsthething | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted September 24, 2011 at 6:00 AM (Answer #1)

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In the poem, Langston Hughes offers several different reactions to a dream deferred.  The two that most clearly apply to Walter Lee are "fester like a sore" and "explode."  Throughout most of the play, Walter's rage simmers, as he becomes more and more dissatisfied with his situation.  He feels unfairly treated by Mama, as she does not support his dream to open a liquor store with his friends.  He feels that Beneatha is given more than he is.  Both of these perceived inequities fester within him until he finally explodes out of frustration.  This explosion is directed at his family as well as the inequities of the reality of being an African-American in the 1950s.

He works as a chauffeur and is tired of working for "the man" and longs for a job that would allow him to feel some pride in providing for his family.  This lack of pride in himself as a man festers within him.  He finally decides to invest the money Mama has given him for himself and for Beneatha with his friends to purchase a liquor store.  When the one friend runs off with all of the money, Walter Lee explodes, and ends up in a sobbing heap at his mother's feet.

It is only at this point that Walter can truly find himself as a man -son, brother, father, husband - and start to build a life he can be proud of.

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