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So for example for this poem:

Harlem by Langstone Hughes:

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 just explode?

My question is how do poets utilize leterary devices and conventions to develop themes in their poetry? I am still having difficulty I am using this poem as an example so i can understand how to do the poem that I have to do. Which is longer than this one.

  • Literature -

    Hughes is using vivid verbs (imagery) and making comparisons (in this case he's using similes) to make sure his ideas are clear and his theme understood.

    Can you list the verbs he uses? Do you sense that he put them in any kind of order?

    Can you name the comparisons he makes?

    Think of a theme as a kind of hidden message. What do you think Hughes' hidden message is in this poem?

    Here's a really good website to use when you want to understand literary terms:


  • Literature -

    what does it mean when they ask about conventions? in the poem to make the theme?

  • Literature -

    so, for literary devices each first stanza uses simile the second stanza also uses simile and the last stanza uses metaphor.

    the poem uses rime and imagery.

  • Literature -

    Yes, there are five similes and a metaphor in that poem.

    And, yes, you're right -- he also uses rhyme.

    What else do you see?

  • Literature -

    what else am i suppost to be looking at that I am not seeing...

  • Literature -

    List the verbs in order. What do you "get" from that list?


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