What Is a Summary of “Dream Variations” by Langston Hughes?

In “Dream Variations,” Langston Hughes wants a carefree life free of discrimination and prosecution. The first stanza describes his dream and the feelings he enjoyed in the past. In the second stanza, the poet is dreaming after a long day’s hard work, and this dream is incomplete.

Hughes was an important literary figure and prominently contributed to the Harlem Renaissance. His writings primarily covered the time period of the 1920s through the 1960s. Most of what he wrote offered colorful and insightful portrayals of black life in America.

The first stanza of “Dream Variations” talks about the poet’s dream of enjoying games in a sunny place, moving and dancing until the happy day ends and finding rest under a tall tree until darkness falls. The second stanza speaks to his reality. It talks about working despite the sun being hot and being so busy that the day passes by very quickly. Dancing, in this stanza, represents hard labor. When night finally comes, it is painful because it reminds him that he is black, and not white. He cannot rest under a tall tree because he lives in the city. This poem is a longing, reminiscing look back at Africa and the freedom of a less complicated world.