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Dream Variations by Langston Hughes
Transcript of Dream Variations by Langston Hughes
moved to Lincoln, Illinois to live with his mother
and her new husband. In Lincoln, Hughes started writing poetry and following his highschool years, he spent a year in Mexico with his father. He then attended Columbia University for a year to study poetry. Langston Hughes became an American poet ( and he knew it) during the Harlem Renaissance from the 1920s to 1930s, social activist, novelist, and columnist. He was one of the early innovators of the new literary art form of jazz poetry. Over the course of his career, Langston Hughes wrote 348 poems. This poem begins by describing a beautiful dream for a carefree life away from racial segregation, however with this dream a deeper connection to Africa can be interpreted. Just like in most of his poetry, this poem represents the African-Americans plea for equality. Like some other poems written by Hughes, this poem
was written in a style that imitated the structure of blues
music. For example, the first, second, and fourth lines in each stanza parallel each other. They are parallel to each other in the sense that they both have four syllables.
Meanwhile, the third is extended causing an emotional
climax, just as musical blues did. Langston Hughes is the speaker in this poem and presents the lyrics with a joyful tone. In the first stanza there are 22 stressed syllables, meanwhile in the second stanza there are 21 stressed syllables. This correlates with the fact that there are 9 lines in the first stanza and 8 lines in the second. They both decrease by one. Langston Hughes Dream Variations To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree While night comes on gently,
Dark like me-
That is my dream! To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done Rest at pale evening
A tall, slim tree... Night coming tenderly,
Black like me
Personification is present when describing in the "face of the sun."
Imagery is used when describing the evening, tree, and dancing.
Verbal irony is used in the stanza "Night black like me, night coming tenderly." This emphasizes how he feels secure at nights because it would be hard to recognize his skin color. There are many similes present in this poem that detail
his fixation on race. "Black like me" and "Dark like me" compare the night with Langston Hughe's skin color.
There is an association between the day and being white much like the night with black. Langston Hughe's calls it the "white day." This displays that in Langston's mind, the white own the day. Thank you for your attentiveness, and here is a presentation of the poem. Historical Context The end of World War 1 in 1918 did not prove to be such a good thing for the African Americans. They hoped to return and earn dignity and respect for serving for their country. However, when the 400,000 blacks who served in the war returned home, they were unhappy in returning to a prejudice country. They all still hoped for the dream of freedom and equality to come true. Rhyme Scheme First Stanza- A,B,C,B,D,E,F,E,G Rhyme Line 2 and 4, sun and done
Line 6 and 8, tree and me
Line 11 and 13, sun and done
Line 15 and 17, tree and me