What does it mean to have a dream deferred?


Unique & Thoughtful Gifts for Your Bestie’s New Baby 

Nothing says “adult” more than the announcement of your...

Towing Services in the US by Cities

Here's a list of Towing Services in the US...

Noble Fabrics and Golden Embroidery: Discover HAFTINAUSA Luxury

In today's world, where fashion often follows the principle...

5 Reasons to Choose Phuket as your Next Holiday Destination

The world sure is a big place, with almost...

Flu Vaccination: Protecting Yourself and Others

In an age where preventive healthcare measures are important,...


A dream deferred can be a real pain to anyone. The poem Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes is a beautiful poem on the repercussions of postponing a dream. The speaker tells us that a dream that’s been deferred for too long only makes us lifeless just like a sun-burnt raisin. And the agony will only worsen with time as the wounds will be left open.

What does the phrase ‘dream deferred’ mean?

In his famous poem “Dream Deferred,” Langston Hughes expresses his dreams in a rather complex period. He was born at a time when African-Americans were treated as inferiors and being black himself, it was quite a pickle to fulfill his aspirations.

Moreover, he had compared it to a raisin in the sun because the protagonist Beneatha’s dream is to become a doctor so as to save all women from injustice and ignorance.

Now the former part of her dream is deferred as the loss of money by Walter, but the latter dream is postponed for all the womankind. 

What message does the poem give us all?

The message given by Langston is to dream of a nation where there will be equal places for all races and especially for African Americans. There will be no place for discrimination or oppression. 

What is the speaker implying by dream deferred?

The first line of this poem says: “What happens to a dream deferred?” The term deferred implies withheld or postponed. So in this first line, the poet asks us what will happen to a dream if it is delayed infinitely, what will be the consequences?  

What metaphor lies in the poem ‘dream deferred’?

In this poem, Langston has used a plethora of similes and in each one, a delayed dream is compared to an unpleasant being or a negative effect. Also, the poet uses a metaphor as well so as to fathom when a dream is lost forever. The similes tell the reader about the rather negative aspects of a long-postponed dream.  

What’s the meaning of “deferred”?

The word “deferred” is an adjective and it means delayed, postponed, or to put off. For instance, an amount of money is deferred if it won’t be paid before a certain date, or a show is deferred if it got rescheduled some days or weeks, or months after its original date.  

When a dream is deferred, what are the consequences?

Harlem, the poem is very short and asks the prophetic question: What happens to a dream deferred? It is a cry of an artist against the injustice and discrimination in the USA at that time for black people like him. Through this poem, Langston expressed the inevitable anger in his African American people who dreamed of an equal America but it has been deferred for too long.  

What does the title of the poem indicate? 

The original title of “Dream Deferred” is Harlem. It is a short and sweet poem but very influential. The poet Langston Hughes expresses what happens when a dream is deferred. He is not talking about any particular dream, but rather a metaphoric dream, however big or small. Read the title again and you’ll understand. 

 “Or crust and sugar over” what does this line mean? 

“Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet?” Here, Langston has very wisely used a simile to compare it to the negative result of postponing a dream. This is because when syrupy sweet food is kept open for too long it becomes sour and stale and not at all edible, so here’s the similarity. 

What does the line “Or does it explode” imply?

“Or does it explode?” This is the last line of the poem “Dream Deferred”. It tells us the last possibility of a dream that has been deferred for too long. A fist is punched through the water as this line ends as it represents anger as well as frustration.  

What summarises the poem Dream Deferred or Harlem? 

The beautiful poem Dream Deferred, written by a genius Langston Hughes explains that dreams are not what we see at night, but its what keeps us awake. The poet talks about a deferred dream and what eventually happens to it. But it does not give any definite answer and rather leaves it to the reader to decide what dream he’s talking about and what will happen to it if withheld.  

Langston Hughes gives what kind of message in this poem? 

In the poem Harlem, the author has written tenderly about fulfilling his dreams. He wrote it for his African-American brothers and the dream he talks about is the dream they all see: a discrimination-free America. The poem expresses what will happen if you don’t fulfill your dreams and hold them off for long.  

What does Hughes have to say about his dream of an equal America?  

“Let America Be America Again” is another one of Hughes’s poems that speaks of a just America. This poem expresses the American dream for the low-class Americans and the hope of equality that is the right of each and every citizen in America. 

In “I Too”, what does the speaker hope for? 

“I Too” written by Langston Hughes tells us to hope and persevere for an equal America while denying the idea that patriotism is limited by class. 

What can you say about a dream deferred? 

The speaker Langston Hughes in Harlem wonders about the aftermath of a deferred dream. He compares it with many unpleasant things through similes like raisins in the sun or a wound that oozes and runs. In the end, he leaves it with a question mark so it is up to the reader what he wants to make of this beautiful poem. 

 What does Harlem mean?

Harlem is a place in north New York City, in the part constituting Manhattan. It was earlier a Dutch neighborhood and was made in 1658. It was named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands.

 What is the tone of Hughes’s poem? 

The tone of “Dream Deferred” is disconcerting as well as unnerving. It uses strong similes that create an unsettling image in the minds of the readers. The poem has used the aid of imagery very well and readers can imagine each line graphically. 

How is the message of the poem Dream Deferred related to the theme of it all?

Langston Hughes is a very intuitive poet. All throughout the poem, he uses horrible phrases like “rotten meat” and “fester like a sore” which emphasizes the similar repercussions of dreams being deferred. 

What is the significance of the poem Harlem by Langston Hughes?

Harlem by Langston Hughes haunts people about what will happen if they don’t follow their dreams and postpone them for too long. To show that, the poet has used many similes and metaphors so the reader gets a similar idea about the aftermath of a postponed dream. 

 How does each comparison contribute to the message given by “Dream Deferred”? 

Throughout the poem, Langston Hughes has used similes or comparisons to show what could happen if you don’t pursue your dreams and keep pushing them. He compares the repercussions to a raisin in the sun among many other unpleasant things just to give the message.