Analyze the poem "Dream Boogie" by Langston Hughes. Please identify the main formal features of this passage—its narration, its verb tenses, its patterns such as repetitions, oppositions, and parallels, and any figurative language.

Langston Hughes's poem "Dream Boogie" is about the complacency that people sometimes have in regards their own hopes and dreams. There are two speakers in the poem, and they speak mostly in the present tense. Hughes uses lots of figurative language and other literary devices throughout the poem, including personification, repetition, and onomatopoeia.

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"Dream Boogie" is narrated by two speakers who speak over one another. The main opposition in the poem is between these two speakers. The first speaker asks his friend, who he refers to as "daddy," whether he has "heard / The boogie-woogie rumble / Of a dream deferred." The tone of the first speaker's language is happy and excitable. He seems to like the sound of "a dream deferred," which he describes in musical terms as a "boogie-woogie rumble." The second speaker questions why the first speaker likes the sound so much, and in his questions implies that the sound of "a dream deferred" should not be a sound that the first speaker likes. Indeed, the first question that the second speaker asks of his friend is, "You think / It's a happy beat?" This question implies that the speaker is somewhat incredulous that his friend should enjoy the sound so much. The second speaker seems to understand that "a dream deferred" is not something to like.

The poem is written mostly in the present tense. At the end of the poem, the first speaker proclaims, in the present tense, "Sure, / I'm happy!" The present tense of the first speaker's proclamations emphasizes the point made throughout the poem that the first speaker lives perhaps too much in the present. The implication is that the first speaker happily defers his dreams because he is too content to live in the present, and doesn't think enough about the future. In this way he is able to always indefinitely postpone his future, and with it his dreams.

The speaker's contentment to live in the present is emphasized also with the repetition of the imperative verb phrase "listen closely." This verb phrase, in the present tense, is formed as an imperative, or order. The first speaker is ordering his friend to listen to the sound because he is so keen to convince his friend, and perhaps also himself, that the sound of "a dream deferred" really is as great as he seems to think it is.

The first speaker also uses personification when he describes the sound of "a dream deferred" as having "feet" which dance out the rhythm of the sound. He invites his friend to listen for "their feet / Beating out" the rhythm. The personification of the sound emphasizes how clearly the first speaker is able to hear the sound, and also how lively the sound seems to him. To the same end there is also lots of onomatopoeia throughout the poem. At the end of the poem, for example, we have: "Hey pop! / Re-bop! / Mop!" The onomatopoeia here again brings to life the sound that the first speaker hears, and in doing so helps us, the readers, to imagine how that sound sounds to the first speaker.

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