Langston Hughes by Lee Phan poet, social activist, novelist, playwrightER, and columnist

James Mercer Langston Hughes was born February 1, 1902, in Joplin, Missouri.

His parents divorced when he was a young child, and his father moved to Mexico. He was raised by his grandmother until he was thirteen

As he moved to live with his mother in Cleveland, Ohio. During this time Hughes first began to write poetry, and that one of his teachers first introduced him to the poetry of Carl Sandburg and Walt Whitman, who influenced him.

Above is Carl Sandburg
Above is Walt Whitman, these 2 men were influential in Hughes' early life

Hughes graduated from high school in 1920, and moved to Mexico to live with his father.

During that time, In June 1921, he published his first poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" and was extremely popular and praised.

Langston Hughes' most famous poem "Dream Deferred" was published in 1951. The poem was highly praised and popular due to the words and figurative language in the poem.

Lyrics to "Dream Deferred"

Examples of Figurative Language in "Dream Deferred" including tone and mood

First, lets talk about what is a "Dream Deferred" The poem explores the consequences of allowing a dream to go unfulfilled.

There is a lot of figurative language is the poem such as comparing a dream deferred to rotting, aging or burdensome items. A dream deferred is compared to a raisin, a sore, rotten meat, a syrupy sweet and a heavy load. This is a simile.

An example of a metaphor is "Or does it explode?" The metaphors compares a dream deferred to a bomb. The momentum for the dream may continue to build and, having nowhere to go, finally explode.

The tone of the poem is discouraging and disquieting because it uses powerful similesĀ and stimulate a disturbing image to the readers/audience.

The mood of the poem is inquisitive, and kind of skeptical, the speaker describes his uncertainty towards the future and the way the dream will pay out. This use of language creates this mood.

The reason why I chose Langston Hughes' because he was a influential part of African American culture. He inspires young people and old people with his poems and the meanings behind them. I identify with Langston Hughes' because he is so motivational with his culture, I believe I can be as well. He is very diligent and wise.


"Langston Hughes." A&E Networks Television, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

"Langston Hughes." Academy of American Poets, 01 Aug. 2016. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

Hughes, Langston. "The Negro Speaks of Rivers." Academy of American Poets, 15 June 2016. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

Hughes, Langston. "Harlem." Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2017.

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