Promises Like Pie Crust

Categories: Poems

In a poem by Robert Wrigley, he takes the reader through a man’s thoughts and dreams. The man never dreamed to be a lake and after thinking why not he instead concentrated on what it is to be a lake, revealing to himself slowly the beauty within being a lake. Wrigley beautifully symbolizes through this piece the way people dream, or in this case how people lack the sense. He shows the nature of people on how what they think is not worth dreaming, if you think about it, ends up becoming your dream you want to make a reality.

In Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, many of her characters dream dreams, only for them to remain dreams and to never to be achieved. Langston and Hansberry both toy with the idea of deferred dreams, Hansberry gives a savior for the Younger family’s deferred dreams which is Mama’s money. However, once Walter loses the money, their dreams are once again deferred.

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Hansberry shows through Walter and the infatuation with his “American Dream,” that little do they know that there’s a hidden dream within.

The “American Dream” is an appeal that many wish to make a reality, but how far they are willing to go to materialize those dreams differs between each individual. In the Younger family, Walter is so infatuated with making his dream a reality that he unknowingly got conned by his so called “friend.” However, getting conned is what wakes Walter up and aware of the reality that his family is now facing.

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Walter now realizes “ … it’s all divided up. Life is … Between the takers and the ‘tooken.’  we worry about it and cry about it and stay up nights trying to figure out ‘bout the wrong and the right of things all the time… And all the time, man, them takers is out there operating, just taking and taking” (Hansberry 141). At this moment, Walter’s deferred dream is now in the process of forming into a new dream he never thought would be his. Walter’s new mindset is now mindful of not only himself, but his entire family as well. Hansberry connects Walter’s journey with his dreams to Langston Hughes’ poem, specifically the metaphor: “What happens to a dream deferred? Or crust and sugar over Like a syrupy sweet?” (Langston).

The “crust” part of Langston’s poem aligns with the first half of Walter’s journey throughout the play. When taking the first bite into a pie, the first thing you taste is the crust when expecting the sweet and savory pie filling. Since you were expecting the sweetness of the pie your reaction to tasting the salty bitter crust is so unexpected and unplanned for, catching you off-guard. This can be related to Walter and his “American Dream.” Walter was expecting so much good and sweetness to come out of his dream. However, he ends up tasting the bitter reality of his foolish dream. Walter is so thrown off by his reality he tries regretting it, “You know Willy got his own ways. Maybe you was late yesterday and he went on down there without you. He’s somewhere  he’s got to be somewhere me and you got to find him. (Grabs BOBO senselessly by the collar and starts to shake him) We got to” (Hansberry 128)! Walter was so thrown off he starts denying the truth and instead comes ups with excuses on to explain Willy’s unpredictable behavior. Walter acts like this because he thinks it’s easier to be caught up in the confusion than face the fact that he’s actually at the crust of his situation rather than the hoped sugar of the pie.

The “sugar” part of Langston’s poem aligns with the second half of Walter’s journey throughout the play. After biting into the crust unexpectedly, you then realize the sweet and savory pie filling beyond it. You then contrast the salty taste of the crust to the sweetness of the filling. Walter embodies this aspect of the Hughes’ poem, where his selfish dream was only followed after by his sweet dream. The sweet dream of living as one big happy family that he finally realizes as the true “American Dream.” Walter realizes this dream at the end of the performance when speaking back to Mr. Linder, “This is my son, and he makes the sixth generation our family in this country. And we have all thought about your offer and we have decided to move into our house because my father  my father he earned it for us brick by brick” .

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Promises Like Pie Crust. (2021, Apr 20). Retrieved from

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