In Langston Hughes's poem "Dreams," who speaks and to whom does he speak?

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Since the speaker of Langston Hughes's poem "Dreams" is not identified, one might interpret that the speaker of the poem is Hughes himself. In the poem, Hughes urges his readers to hold on to their dreams by continuing to believe in them. In continuing to believe in...

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Since the speaker of Langston Hughes's poem "Dreams" is not identified, one might interpret that the speaker of the poem is Hughes himself.

In the poem, Hughes urges his readers to hold on to their dreams by continuing to believe in them. In continuing to believe in dreams, we keep them alive. Hughes further asserts that when we let dreams die, we become like the broken bird that cannot fulfill its purpose in life by flying. He continues to assert that when we let our dreams die, life becomes like a "barren field / Frozen with snow." In speaking of a barren field, he is referring to a field that would normally yield crops but is now "barren," meaning sterile. Just as sterile men and women cannot produce offspring, sterile fields cannot produce crops. The image of being "[f]rozen with snow" further captures the idea of the sterile field suffering and dying under freezing cold, suffocating snow.

The opening image of a "broken-winged bird" is reminiscent of the African Americans who were broken by and suffered at the hands of white Americans. Therefore, one might also interpret that the audience of Hughes's poem is African Americans, and Hughes, through his own voice, is encouraging African Americans to hold on to their dreams of true freedom and true equality.

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