Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the central metaphor of the poem "Harlem" by Langston Hughes?  

Expert Answers info

Tamara K. H. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write3,619 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In the poem "Harlem," Langston Hughes creates a central metaphor surrounding a dream by comparing a dream to multiple images of death and destruction in order to ask what happens to a "dream deferred," meaning a dream that has been delayed in being fulfilled.

He first compares a delayed dream to a "raisin in the sun," implying the dream is dried up and shriveled. Next, he asks if a delayed dream becomes infected "like a sore." Untreated cuts become infected and painful, leading to other major health problems, sometimes even death; therefore, in comparing a delayed dream to an infected wound, Hughes likens a delayed dream to something that causes severe pain and is destructive, even deadly. A third comparison is of a...

(The entire section contains 384 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now






Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial