Harlem Questions and Answers
by Langston Hughes

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What question is the speaker trying to answer in “Harlem” by Langston Hughes?

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The speaker of this poem is trying to answer the question: "What happens to a dream deferred?" (line 1).  Deferred means delayed or withheld.  Typically, if one defers something, one puts it off until later.  Therefore, the question is really asking what happens to a dream if it is delayed or put off. 

The speaker then offers a number of possibilities or outcomes of this dream; they are all similes until the very last one, which is a metaphor .  First, he wonders if it dries up "like a raisin in the sun" (3).  Next, he considers the possibility that it...

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