Directions: For this essay, you will answer the question that Langston Hughes asks us in his poem, “Harlem”: What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode? *set aside
STEP TWO: THINK. How does Langston Hughes’ poem relate to the players in August Wilson’s play, Fences? Consider how dreams deferred impact Troy, Rose, and Cory in Fences. Brainstorm here: Troy:
**You may write about all three characters, or you may choose just one or two. You will need three body paragraphs.
Now begin writing your paper. Intro: Discuss “Harlem” and its messages and how it could relate to people of color in the 1930s-1960s. (You know a lot about this from our Harlem Renaissance Slideshow .) Then lead in to the topics you will discuss in your essay, and finally, your THESIS.
Body: Start with a claim. Support the claim using two pieces of evidence per body paragraph. Warrant by explaining how your evidence from Fences relates back to “Harlem.”
Conclusion: Explain how it’s important for people to have dreams, and consider a world in which the characters you focused on in your essay had a better chance of success. End by recommending ideas for ending deferred dreams for people of color or white people or yourselves today.