Literary Devices in Dreams by Langston Hughes

In the poem Dreams, written by Langston Hughes, the poet writes about the importance of dreams and goals. Although the poem is only made up of two quatrains, a powerful meaning is still caught within it. The theme of this poem is to never give up your ambitions. Hughes utilizes multiple poetic and literary devices to help impact the complex message of his poem. He uses metaphors, repetition, and sight imagery to influence the poem’s theme.

The first literary device is metaphor. In the first stanza Hughes writes, Life is a broken-winged bird. This line means that if people did not dream, life would have no potential. He is comparing life to a flightless bird. This comparison impacts the message because it helps elucidate the emotion of sorrow without dreams. Furthermore, in the second stanza, the poet also writes, Life is a barren field. In this line, he compares life to a desolate field. This emphasizes the emptiness of life without dreams.

Another device Hughes uses is repetition. Repetition is used in many poems and other forms of literature. In this poem, the poet repeats the phrase Hold fast to dreams. It was written as the first line of each stanza. This sentence means to hold on to your dreams and to never let them go. Hughes repeats this phrase in order to emphasize its meaning. In addition, the poet also repeats the words, hold, for, and life in his poem. He wrote these words in the beginning of the first three lines in each stanza. This type of repetition can be considered as an anaphora. Anaphoras are the repeating of words in the beginning of successive sentences. Repetition impacts the poem because it signifies the theme.

The last form of poetic device that was incorporated into the poem is imagery. There are five types of imagery that can be used in writing: sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch. In Dreams, Hughes uses sight imagery. For example, in the first stanza, Life is like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly. With this sentence readers can picture a bird with an injured wing. This is important because it can help visualize the writing. Another example in the poem is, Life is a barren field frozen with snow. Readers can use this to visualize an empty field that is covered in snow. Sight imagery can affect the meaning of the poem by using language to symbolize the message.

In conclusion, with the use of metaphors, repetition, and sight imagery, Hughes creates a meaningful message in his poem Dreams. Metaphors were used for comparing life to different subjects. By repeating phrases, the poet helped emphasize his theme. Hughes used sight imagery to help visualize the ideas. This poem inspires readers about how important dreams are.

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Literary Devices in Dreams by Langston Hughes. (2019, Jul 31). Retrieved June 23, 2021 , from

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