The Deferred American Dream
To have a dream is something special; to achieve the dream takes compacted work. The United States was built on dreams by individuals who believed they could accomplish what they fantasied. The American dream is usually a specific dream involving money, land, and the freedom you’re given as citizen of the country. Some of these individual dreams naturally become the collective dream of many people. Unfortunately, some American Dreams are almost never achieved. Langston Hughes poems “Harlem” and “Let America Be America Again” tie to the idea of what occurs in the reality of the life of African Americans when dreams are not fulfilled. While in “Harlem” Hughes asks what happens if dreams are postponed, in “Let America Be America Again” he talks between the American realities with the American dream, to show what America has become and what it was meant to be.
There’s been an end to slavery and African Americans have gained their rights, yet they still are being denied their natural born rights. Through the use of racism, they can never truly have the break to acquire this American dream. African Americans still face issues in today’s society when it comes to poverty and income. The African American society has had numerous acts of injustice in courts, and many of the incidents involving the law/police. Inequality, racism and segregation must be put to an end and everyone must look at each other as brothers and sisters. The American Dream is based on a one’s point of view and their own goals in life, but how can the Dream be achieved if not every human being has the same equal opportunities as the person standing next to them? Until there is an end to this discrimination and everyone is viewed as equally, the American Dream will never rightly be.
In “Let America Be America Again”, Hughes tone is probably the first issue addressed. His tone has an understood wisdom that America was free for those who weren’t black. Hughes has been beaten down, but the fact that he is a survivor means that he won’t give up. He starts off the poem stating that America was created for the sole purpose of freedom and also implies that the country was founded for the sole purpose of freedom. The most interesting line in the poem in my view comes near the end, where he says, “O, let my land be a land where Liberty / Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath, / But opportunity is real, and life is free, / Equality is in the air we breathe” (Hughes 11-14). Hughes in this line is saying he wants a true, patriotic America, with no dishonest possibilities. Making the dreams possible will mean opportunity and equality for all. Hughes suggestion that equality could be in the air for every citizen no matter the color of the skin. This equality should be natural given. The people want to have a nation where there is social mobility, equality of opportunity (The American Dream).
Hughes’s “Harlem" is one of my personal favorites because of its reali...