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In this poem, Hughes depicts the failures that are attributed to the dream of persons in the United States of America. He talks of a dream that has been totally shattered. In order to bring about the intended emotions, the author takes to using extensive forms of imagery. Besides, by employing the imagery, the poet wants the target audience to know how it feels to defer a dream. Additionally, Hughes applies the technique of rhetoric questions as well as similes which evokes appeals among the readers.

The poem “Harlem” was written at a time when discrimination was based on color, education as well as social class. It was, therefore, written to reveal social injustices that affected the “American Dream.” This research paper will try to examine the relationship depicted by the poem in comparison to the much-acclaimed “American Dream.”

The first imagery encountered in the poem is the line when Hughes compares the dream to a raisin which has dried up in the sun. This imagery illustrates the unworthiness of the dream in the sense that it has been robbed of its valuable components to yield useful resources which can be used by the people. The author says that deferring one’s dream is “fester like a sore.” Besides, the dream is compared to the rotten meat which is a useless food that can bring more harm than good: diseases (Hughes, 1960).

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According to the article by Kessler, Mickleson and Williams (1999, vol. 40(3), pp.208-230), the citizens of United States are continuing to face discrimination in terms of health insurance. A survey which was conducted amongst the nationals indicated that the people suffered from both lifetime as well as day-to-day forms of discrimination. This article also talks about the direct relationship between the perceived forms of discrimination and the mental health of the victims. The prevalence of discrimination is experienced especially amongst the lower-class citizens, such as the blacks and Filipinos. These facts can be interpreted as an infringement of the American Dream.

In yet another article by De Castro, Gee and Takeuchi (2008, vol. 98 (3), p.520), the conducted research indicated that forms of discrimination in the workplace affected the minority of Filipinos. Discrimination, actually, prevented them from attaining their American Dream of living healthy, as they were exposed to poor working conditions, low income as well as allowed to attain lower levels of academic qualification. Health deteriorating among these people was caused by the daily forms of discrimination.

According to the article Tackling Racial Segregation One Policy at a Time: Why School Desegregation Only Went So Far by Stuart, Holme, Atanda and Tijerina (2005, vol. 107 (9), pp.2141-2177), the history of racial discrimination in school education in the United States is mentioned and examples are provided. According to the conducted research, it is found out that schooling is differentiated into various sections with Afro-Americans experiencing first-hand discrimination, especially in terms of finances and academic materials. Children especially from black families were considered inferior and for that reason, did not deserve to access qualitative resources. Unlike children with the white background, those from the black and other races could only afford amateur teachers as well as limited academic resources. It is, therefore, fair to stipulate that this occurrence infringed the rights of the black Americans as well other races. These people could not lead average lifestyle since quality education was considered to be a facet which distinguished the average from the poor class.

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