Compare these Langston Hughes poems: "Dream Variation" and "Harlem."  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The poetry of Langston Hughes is lyrical with beautiful images that emphasize his theme of dreams.  Two poems by Hughes that convey his thoughts about the black man’s ambitions are “Dream Variations” and “Harlem.” Each poem approaches the subject of dreams from a different perspective.

Dream Variations

The speaker in the poem addresses the dream of freedom. His dream would enable him [representing all black people] to be free to spread his arms as wide as he can [symbolic of freedom to do what he chooses] and whirl and dance as long as he wanted. 

The poet calls the day white referring to the constrictions that have been applied to the black man’s joy and liberty by white America. The cool, gentle night brings freedom to the black man as he sits under a tree and enjoys himself.

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done
Then rest

The second verse has stronger implications.  The speaker changes his desire to almost a demand for...

(The entire section contains 597 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Already a member? Log in here.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on