Langston Hughes's inspirational poem, "Dreams" urges young people to tenaciously keep their dreams and goals. Just as Robert Browning wrote,
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp--or what's a heaven for?
urging people to aspire to exceed complacency or discouragement, so, too, does Hughes wish to impress upon his readers that they much reach beyond their grasps or lose hope of ever reaching their potentials. Despite the conditions of their society, young people must hope for a better time in which they can, indeed, attain their goals. Otherwise, their world will become "a barren field," a metaphor for life without any accomplishments. Instead, one's life can be "a frozen field," or, metaphorically, completely unproductive. Or, life will be "a broken-winged bird," a metaphor for a life in which a person could have "flown," or attained admirable accomplishments.