In the beginning of 1950’s, African American were under the straggle of civil-rights movement. Harlem is one of highlighted cities related to the movement. I, personally, interpreted the poem “Harlem” expressed the will that they never gave up to achieve it, and the distress that they had a hard time to attain it for a long time.
The author of the poem “Langston Hughes” started the poem as “What happens to a dream deferred?” In this context, ‘Dream’ means ‘civil rights’ for African American people. They made an action to get the fundamental rights for a long time until then. However, it was definitely difficult to achieve. In this situation, the author asked the stability of the value of the dream which they were seeking for a large number of years.
The first sentence “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” is suggesting the possibility that due to the passing of time the value of dream becomes more concentrated as a grape turns to a raisin. On the other hand, the next “Or fester like a sore--- And then run?” means the opposite, which is the negative aspect such as the meaning that the value of dream was lost because of elapse.
Following “Does it stink like rotten meat?” has the negative nuance as the last sentence, while “Or crust and sugar over--- like a syrupy sweet” is the same meaning as the “Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” The author is asking whether the value of dream, which is civil rights, is easily changeable