The speaker of the poem in line one asks when peoples dreams are deferred. In line two and three the speaker says that dreams dry up like a raisin. The speaker compares the original dream to a grape in the sun. The grape is juicy and fresh, but once it is forgotten about for too long, the grape dries up. Although the dream is still sweet and tasty, it is not as strong of a statement as it once was.
Though the simile of the raisin involves the senses of taste and sight, in lines four and five the simile of touch involves the sense of touch and bodily impact. Sores are attached one a persons skin and are felt, touched, and are attached to us. The comparison of the dream to a sore on the body, the speaker says the unaccomplished dreams become a part of us like scars. Even if the scar is ignored, it needs time to heel. If it is neglected, the sore may turn to infection or maybe death. Hughes suggest that the dreams may not only bother one on the outside, but slowly eat away at the body from the inside out. Hughes in line six, appealing to all senses, suggests that the dream might stink.
A smell cannot be ignored. The smell does not go away until you get rid of the source. In lines seven and eight, Hughes says that a dream is something that one craves for and looks forward to eagerly, but left untouched for too long it becomes bitter. In lines nine and ten, Hughes suggests that deferring the dream weighs down one physically and emotionally. In line eleven, Hughes says that delaying the dream for an extremely long time may make the person explode. This causes damage to the person and others around may get hurt also.