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Dreams CommonLit Answers

Text-Dependent Questions And Answers

Q.1. PART A: Which TWO of the following statements best describe the themes of the poem?– Life is fleeting and so we must strive to live to the fullest.
– People seek comfort in dreams and in the past when experiencing grief and loneliness.
Q.2. PART B: Which TWO of the following quotes best support the answers to Part A?– “the place where the children / we were / rock in the arms of the children / we have become.” (Lines 3-6)
– “in their migrations, / as birds whose deaths we learn of/by the single feather” (Lines 8-10)
Q.3. PART A: How does the word choice in stanza 3 develop the tone of the poem?It extends the gloomy, depressed tone developed previously.
Q.4. PART B: Which detail from the poem best supports the answer to Part A?“They are as irretrievable as sand” (Line 14)
Q.5. How does stanza 4 contribute to the development of the poem’s meaning?It conveys how dreams can be painful because they emphasize absence.
Q.6. The poet uses the images of migrations, sand, and the tail of a comet to describe dreams. How does word choice impact the tone of the poem? Support your answer by citing multiple examples of word choice.The word choice in the poem impacts the tone by creating a sense of mystery, transience, and longing associated with dreams.
– “afterlife” (line 2) suggests a connection to an existence beyond the physical world.
– “rock” (line 4) evokes a gentle, comforting image, conveying security and peace.
– “migrations” (line 7) implies constant shifting and evolution of dreams.
– “irretrievable” (line 14) emphasizes the fleeting nature of dreams.

Discussion Questions & Answers

Question: What do you feel after you wake up from a dream? How is it similar or different from the feelings that the speaker of “Dreams” may experience?

Answer: Waking from a dream often brings a mixture of emotions, including bewilderment, disconnection, a sense of relief, or residual feelings from the dream. This emotional landscape can mirror what the speaker in Langston Hughes’ poem “Dreams” might feel.

The poem paints dreams as “broken-winged birds” unable to soar, implying a feeling of disillusionment or frustration when one awakens to the realization that dreams are elusive or perhaps unachievable.

There’s a common thread of desire or a longing for something greater that both the reader and the speaker of the poem might experience.

Question: In your opinion, what is the relationship between our dreams and our lives? How did reading this poem change your opinion or understanding of dreams?

Answer: Dreams and daily life share a multifaceted and deeply personal relationship. Dreams often mirror our innermost yearnings, anxieties, and life experiences. They offer a glimpse into the deeper layers of our psyche, revealing emotions and thoughts that might not be evident in our conscious state.

The poem “Dreams” by Langston Hughes offers a new perspective on this relationship. It underscores the pivotal role dreams play in molding our ambitions and nurturing our hopes, potentially reshaping one’s perception of the importance and influence of dreams in life.

Question: In the context of this poem, what does it mean to feel alone? Cite evidence from this text, your own experience, and other literature, art, or history in your answer.


In this poem, loneliness is portrayed as a state of isolation stemming from unachieved dreams or goals. The lines, “Hold fast to dreams / For when dreams go / Life is a barren field / Frozen with snow,” imply that an absence of dreams can render life desolate and meaningless, leading to a profound sense of solitude.

From a personal standpoint, loneliness often arises when one’s ambitions aren’t recognized or supported by others, creating a disconnect. This feeling is not uncommon, as many have experienced a sense of isolation when their personal aspirations don’t align with societal expectations or are not shared by their peers.

In the broader scope of literature, art, and history, there are numerous instances where individuals who followed unconventional paths experienced isolation. Vincent van Gogh is a prime example; his artistic vision was largely unappreciated in his time, leading to a profound sense of solitude. Such historical and artistic examples reinforce the notion that loneliness can be a byproduct of pursuing unique or non-conformist dreams and ambitions.

Question: How might the speaker’s age influence her perspective and reflections on dreams in this poem?

Answer: The age of the speaker in the poem can significantly shape their understanding and attitude towards dreams. With advancing age, individuals often encounter more challenges and disappointments in the pursuit of their dreams.

These life experiences tend to mold one’s outlook, potentially leading to a perspective that is more grounded in realism or tinged with cynicism. This maturation process can influence how dreams are perceived and valued, reflecting a deeper awareness of the complexities and hurdles in realizing them.

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