Week 2 – “Dreams”

This week’s all about the poetry. For the journal I have to analyze this thing.

So. Let’s rock.


  • There are two metaphors in this poem. Write them in the space below.

“Life is a broken-winged bird / That cannot fly.” and

“Life is a barren field / Frozen with snow.”

  • What does each metaphor refer to within the context of the poem?

In each case, we are given a warning of what will happen if we do not ‘hold fast to dreams.’

Essentially, without goals and with our dreams left unfulfilled, life is meaningless. You have no purpose. You will never get anywhere because you have nowhere to go. Life is cold and pointless.

  • How do these metaphors work in relation to the poem’s title, “Dreams?”

They’re essentially there to emphasize the importance of the central concept, ‘dreaming.’

The first two lines of each stanza are virtually the same. It’s the two latter ‘metaphor lines’ that can contain variation. The first points to the idea that having no goals makes us unable to achieve while the second suggest a more mood-oriented dystopia; cold and empty. But overall, they go together with the static introduction lines to say:

“You have to fulfil your dreams in order to have a happy life.” But the poetry makes it sound prettiful-er so we’ll go with ol’ Langston’s version.

  • How is this description different from saying simply that when dreams are unfulfilled life is difficult?

Well there’s the point of poetry right there. It enhances the message, makes it entertaining so people will pay attention and remember. Metaphor also requires a minute mental leap. On more complex poems this requires a longer thought process. The highest percentage chance we have to remember something is to teach it to ourselves. Maybe puzzling through poetry hammers in the message. I know that was a tangent but I thought it was an interesting idea…

Essentially it’s poetically phrased so it can evoke emotion and get  more punch.

  • Can you describe how or why this metaphor works?

It’s reasonably straight-forward and to the point. You get what it’s trying to say pretty much sight-reading. This is helped by the evocative imagery. A bird with a broken wing is an innately sad image. A barren field is a also a bad thing, but I’m a spoilt city-brat so I just thought of snowy fields and toboggans until I thought about it.

So yes. It is a bleak, cold, poetic punch to the kidneys.

You see that there? You could see it as a horrible over-reaction. Or is it hyperbole?? Muahahahahaha.

Moving on!

  • Is this an effective metaphor? Why or why not?

It is effective. It makes its point. It fits. It’s symmetrical and nice. I guess it doesn’t appeal to me as much because it makes a bit too much sense. I’m all for coherence, but what about those metaphors which make sense to the senses? An analogy that takes you back to the exact feeling of seeing that dog staring back at you from down the cold July alleyway?

I want synaesthesia I guess. Still. The metaphor is good.


One thought on “Week 2 – “Dreams”

  1. All seems a bit obvious really! I love the way that you articulate your thoughts on the metaphor. I guess pulling it apart and analysing ad infinitum is probably overkill…

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