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A Raisin in the Sun

Essay by review  •  November 30, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,184 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,320 Views

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A Raisin in the Sun is one of the best works of Lorraine Vivian Hansberry, in which, through a black family, the Youngers, she talks about vital issues such as poverty, gender and racial discrimination. Hansberry's play focuses mainly on the dreams of the main characters, which motivates them.

The title 'A Raisin in the Sun' has been taken from the poem "Montage of a Dream Deferred" written by Langston Hughes in which he talks about the consequences when dreams are put off for later. The title is appropriate for Hansberry's play since it shows how 'deferred dreams' of the Younger family shrivel up like 'a raisin in the sun' leading to disillusionment and leaving very little hope for the future.

The Younger family includes Lena Younger, who is the head of the family; Beneatha, Lena's daughter; Walter, Lena's son; Ruth, wife of Walter; Travis, Walter and Ruth's son. Other than the Younger family, Joseph Asagai shown as Beneatha's Nigerian friend also has an important role in the play. Each of the members in Younger family has their own individual dreams. Throughout the play, their happiness and sadness depends on how successful they are in attaining their respective dreams.

Walter Lee is shown as a typical African-American man who struggles and works hard to support his family and often comes up with different ideas and schemes, which would make him rich in no time and will improve the life of his family. One such scheme was to invest money, from the deceased Mr. Younger's life insurance policy, in a liquor store with his friends. When he tells Ruth about his plans over breakfast, Ruth completely ignores and tells him "eat your eggs" over and over again. This annoys Walter and he tells her how every time

a man dreams to achieve something in life & a woman shuns him by telling him to eat his eggs. Being quiet and eating one's eggs represents an acceptance of the adversity that Walter and the rest of the Youngers face in life. He believes that it is the black women who keep the black men from achieving their dreams and he argues that Ruth should be more supportive of him.

Walter believes that "money is life" and that it will bring an end to all the misery his family is suffering from. He measures the success of a man by the amount of money and possessions he has. Walter has worked as a chauffeur most of his life and feels tied up to his job and his family's economic hardship, which frustrates him. He dreams to live a life that all the rich people lived and enjoyed, like the people he serviced. He also dreams of having a more loving relationship with his wife, since they seem to drift away from each other due to stressful circumstances. And he wants to earn so much money that his son can choose from among the best colleges when he turns seventeen.

Unlike Walter, Mama, that is, Lena Younger, believes that money is only a means to an end and that dreams are more important than material wealth. She dreams to own a house with a garden and a big yard in which Travis can play. Ever since she and her husband moved into the rented apartment that the Youngers still live in, her dream has been deferred. This dream kept her motivated to work hard and earn money but no matter how much she and her husband tried, they could not make enough money to fulfill their dream. The insurance money that she received due to the death of her husband gave Mama a hope and opportunity to realize her dream. Mama strongly believes in the importance of family, and she tries to teach this value to her family as she struggles to keep them together and functioning.

Throughout the play, Mama takes care and nurtures her plant, which she is very fond of. The plant represents both Mama's unconditional love and care, and her dream for her family. Even though the plant is unable to get enough light or water, the plant is healthy under her care. This symbolizes her love and unending care for her family, which keeps them united even in difficult times. The plant also symbolizes

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