Homework Help

What impressions does the poem "Dream Variations" by Langston Hughes create?  What...

user profile pic

goose-x-endro | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 8, 2009 at 11:34 PM via web

dislike 2 like

What impressions does the poem "Dream Variations" by Langston Hughes create?  What techniques does Hughes use to create these impressions?

Make reference to his use (or avoidance) of poetic elements.

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

neneta | High School Teacher | Valedictorian

Posted December 19, 2009 at 1:16 AM (Answer #1)

dislike 3 like

The poem is written in free verse by the African-American Langston Hughes.

The organization within the stanzas suggests music and dance, since the poet structures words between stress and unstressed syllables in order to create a sense of musicality.

As usual is always good to look at the title of the poem, in this case "Dream Variations." What this title suggests to you? It suggests dance and music, precisely what the speaker wants to communicate: he wishes to whirl his arms, to spin and to dance all day until the evening.

The second stanza includes the same thematic: the speaker wishes to dance until the dark comes. The theme of the poem is the joy of dance and the pleasure to listen to music and follow its rhythm. The reader may ask why he only wants to dance in the day and rest under a tree in the evenings. As he uses verbal irony by comparing the dark night with himself, one can speculate that the speaker being Afro-American feels safe in the nights: “Night black like me, night coming tenderly” (lines 7-8; second stanza“). Being dark he is less unidentified during the nights

The tone of the poem is joyfulness. The speaker uses a low diction, which makes this poem uncomplicated, however the theme is ambiguous since the act of dancing may be symbolic.

One of the techniques used in the poem is the consonance of the words “whirl, white and white”. Another method used is the repetition of the words: “whirl, whirl,” that are also onomatopoeic words suggesting rhythm and dance. The speaker attains his goal by leaving impressions of joy and pleasure.

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes