Langston Hughes
(1) Hold fast to dreams
(2) For if dreams die
(3) Life is a broken-winged bird
(4) That cannot fly.
(5) Hold fast to dreams
(6) For when dreams go
(8) Life is a barren field
(9) Frozen with snow.
Langston Hughes was known in his lifetime for his unique portrayal of the average black American through his works. Being left to live with his grandmother at the fault of his parent’s divorce, only to return to his mother, ultimately led to his entrance into the poetry scene. What separates Hughes from other notable black poets of the age was his refusal to differentiate between his personal experience and the common experience of black America. He wanted to write about the actual culture of his people. Hughes was largely influenced by the works of Walt Whitman and Carl Sandburg, and bits and pieces of their trademark techniques can be seen in some of Hughes’s poems. 
Poetic Technique
Repetition: the action of repeating something that has already been said or written.
In the poem “Dreams,” Hughes repeats the first line twice. “Hold fast to dreams” is said once more in line 5. Even though the repetition seems childish at first, it mimics the style of the last two lines of Robert Frost’s famous poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” The first time it is said, it barely leaves an impression. The repetition stresses the necessity to hold on to dreams and never let them go. Hughes seems to be desperate to get this message across.
“Dreams” was written to delve deep into the importance of dreams. Without them, life really is pointless. When we think about it, while our lives may seem boring or uneventful, there are people everywhere that would dream to live it. When we make no dreams, we cannot achieve them. Nothing ventured, nothing gained; right? Well, yes, but it’s deeper than that. The comparison of  lack of dreams to a life of a “broken-winged bird” is the central idea here. A life as a bird with broken wings is living, however, there’s nothing that can be done with that life. The bird is very much alive, and can probably prosper, but it will be in constant captivity because it cannot function on its own. It will live its life locked away and never experiencing freedom.
We essentially do that to ourselves when we give up on dreams. Throwing away ambitions may be convenient in tight situations, but what are you to do when you have nothing left?
Life as a “barren field frozen with snow” is another important comparison. Without the ability to dream and reach goals, life is barren. It is full of nothing and as empty as a black hole. It becomes frozen over, and cold. Cold is generally associated with negative emotions, or it almost always has negative connotations. Calling a life cold is not one which anyone should strive to live in! One of the most prominent themes in this brief poem is to never give up; giving up is tantamount to death.
dreams visual
Visual Explanation
This visual shows birds flying across a screen in a constant, never-ending, loop. The whiteness of the image represents the “barren field frozen with snow.” It is so stark white against the contrasting blackness of the birds that it immediately sticks out. The color of the birds represents their death. These birds have died, just like a person’s dream. Without motivation and dedication, dreams pass and fade, leaving life barren and melancholy.

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