A Dream Deferrred No More & Fences Essay

Directions: For this essay, you will answer the question that Langston Hughes asks us in his poem, “Harlem”: What happens to a dream deferred?


Langston Hughes’ 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.

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