Write a thematic statement for this short poem: Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly Hold fast to dreams  For when dreams go  Life is a barren...

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mwestwood's profile pic

Posted on

One theme to Langston Hughes's poem is that to feel oneself a fulfilled person, one must dream; for without dreams, one's spirit becomes barren and broken. Without dreams, one lives, as Henry David Thoreau said, a life of "quiet desperation," tilling only the "barren fields" described by Hughes.

Perhaps, then, the theme of "Dreams" is that happiness and a sense of success depend upon imagination and dreams. Therefore, one must keep a tenacious hold upon that which exceeds him in order to become more than a mere creature of the world. Robert Browning expressed the importance of the reach that dreams demand:

A man's reach should exceed his grasp, else what's a heaven for?

wordprof's profile pic

Posted on

This little poem concentrates on the metaphorical power of language to imply an abstract relationship by comparing it with a concrete, “real” relationship. We all know that a bird with a broken wing cannot fly; the poet is saying “Going through life without the power (musculature, feathers, shape, etc.) that a dream contributes means that your “life” cannot “fly”, cannot participate in adventures, etc. Similarly, if you let your dreams “die” or perish, your life will suffer the same fate as crops in unfavorable growing conditions. So, a good Thematic statement be: Because your life should grow and flourish, you must be sure that your dreams (the force and energy in your life) are healthy and strong. This poem has as its theme the importance of dreams to a full life.

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