“Dreams” – Happiness

The Langston Hughes’ poem “Dreams” provides students with a great opportunity to contemplate a person’s ability to pursue their own happiness. Without dreams, the poet states, our existence is merely “a broken-winged bird” or “a barren field.” If one just lets life placidly float by, nothing great will ever happen. After students have analyzed the poem and identified its theme, I would bring in the conversation inspired by Aristotle about happiness and ask students to consider the ways that this conversation supports the same idea as Hughes’ poem. The two sources work well to help students answer the essential question, “Do we have the power to make ourselves happy?”

Level:  Elementary English/Language Arts

Subject Area:  Poetry

Author:  Tiffany Heitman



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