Today when people hear Harlem they run for cover. However, in the early 20th century, Harlem was a great opportunity for many black people in America. Unfortunately, because of overcrowding, exploitation, and poverty, their dream of a better life was delayed. Many poems written by Langston Hughes, an African American poet, reflect this situation. Hughes uses intense tone and diction to aid in the unearthing of the tribulations of the blacks in North America at the time period of the 20th century. These situations are most evident in the poems A dream deferred, and dream variation.
In the poem "A Dream Deferred", Hughes uses an angry and serious tone. This anger elevates into hatred and thoughts of rebellion. Hughes begins his poem in a questioning tone: "What happens to a dream deferred?" (Hughes "
For instance, Hughes uses a simile to describe a dream deferred "Does it stink like rotten meat?"(Hughes "