Textuality » 3ALS Communication
Hold Fast To Dreams - by Langston Hughes
The object of the present text is to provide a personal interpretation of Langston Hughes' poem. It is not meant to give a definitive answer but I am going to try to make some possible conjectures about the poem's message supported by textual reference.
Considering the title, it arouses curiosity into the reader, who is curious to find out the real message of the poem and who asks himself some questions like “why did the poet use the verb to hold instead of the verb to keep?”. In my opinion, after reading the title, I expect the poem to be about what happens if I do not hold fast to my dreams or what life without dreams is like. I am going to read the poem to find out if my expectations were correct or not.
Taking into consideration the lay-out, the way words look on the page makes the structure of the poem immediately visible: it consists of two stanzas with four lines each and therefore it is organised into two quatrains. This creates a set rhythmic pattern, particularly in conjunction with the rhyme scheme. For what concerns the latter, it is ABCB ADCD. It contributes to the rhythm and to the fluency of the poem. Going on with the phonological level, the long vowels underline a melancholic tone.
In addition, after reading the first line, I it coincides with the title and therefore I understand the poem could be part of a collection. I also understand the poet will start with an advice (hold fast to dreams) that makes me realised the dreams the poet refer to are the ones of my future or the goals I want to achieve and not the ones I often do when I sleep.
Looking now to the rhetorical level, the poet used two metaphors, one for each stanzas, to explain the importance of dreams in life. In the first stanza, if one allows one's dreams to die, the poet states that life will become "a broken-winged bird that cannot fly." It means if someone stops dreaming, his or her life will lack hope and not be happy, because a bird often symbolizes freedom, hope and happiness. The other metaphor in the second stanza is used to compare a life without dreams to a "barren field frozen with snow." In this case, it means if someone lets her or his dreams go, he or she will be unproductive in life because crops often symbolize productivity. Moreover, the poet recourses to a personification, indeed he considered dreams as living things, suggesting they can die and go.
All things considered, in my opinion I think the poet with this poem would encourage people to believe in their dreams and not let them go in order to live a pleasant life.