I'm looking for a short story to teach as a companion piece to Langston Hughes' "Dreams", which illustrates the importance of dreams in our lives.
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How about "Winter Dreams" by Scott Fitzgerald? Dexter Green's entire life is determined and driven by his dreams. (The word "dreams" occurs many times in the story.) He does "hold fast" to his dreams, until the conclusion of the story. The last few paragraphs of the story capture very poignantly how the loss of a dream can feel.
The story, in conjunction with the poem, could lead to some good discussions. Should we "hold fast" to impossible dreams? Can dreams be deceiving? Is illusion preferable to reality? Do we overlook the goodness of what we have in dreaming about what we don't have? Would Dexter's life have been better if he had given up his dream of Judy Jones early on? Did he pay too high a price for his dreams? My students always "got" this story and always had some strong opinions about Dexter's life choices.
I'm not sure if this works AT ALL, but when I re-read the poem, I immediately thought of Walter Mitty!
Totally different, but he is a man that holds fast to his dreams (albeit they are dayreams!) so that his life won't be a "barren field frozen with snow".
You could use it in the sense that sometimes dreams are NOT enough--that we have to fix our situations in life in order to make our lives better. It's not just dreams, but actions!
Do dreams help us or hinder us in our quest for our achievements?
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