In Langston Hughes' poem entitled "Harlem," the "dream deferred" here describes the American Dream that was available to all white people, but not to the black man. Even when laws were changed to guarantee equality, the dream was not theirs. There are several instances described in the poem that compare the "dream deferred" (or the American Dream) using similes. A simile compares two dissimilar things that share similar characteristics. It is...
...a comparison of two dissimilar things using "like" or "as"
There is a simile
in the line "Does it dry up like a raisin?". Here "it" refers to a "dream deferred" in the first line.
The speaker is stating that a "dream deferred" (or put off), not realized, is like a shriveled up raisin: a grape that was once juicy and plump, now dried up from sitting, abandoned in the sun.
There is a simile in the second image as well: "Or fester like a sore…" Here...
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