A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry Analysis

Categories: A Raisin In The Sun

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is a play based on the Youngers. African-American family that has settled on the lower class. The South Side part of Chicago in the early 1950s. The play’s important part is when the Youngers are about to receive an insurance check for $10,000. The money comes from the now deceased Mr. Youngers, who is the father of Walter Lee, from his life insurance. Every of age character in the family has a thought as to what he/she would like to do with this money.

The dignified woman of the family, Mama, wants to invest in a home to achieve a partial part of the American Dream. Ruth’s husband, Walter Lee, prefers to use the insurance check to finance in a liquor store with his friends. Walter would argue that the speculation will resolve the family’s financial issues for a lifetime. Ruth agrees with Mama, however, she wishes that she and Walter can prepare a bigger variety of possibilities for their son, Travis.

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Beneatha who is Walter’s sister wants to put the cash for her medical school tuition. She would also like her family members not to take part in the white world. Beneatha now wants to base her name off of what has happened back in the past and in Africa.

While the play goes on, the Youngers battle over what they have been wanting in life. Ruth finds out that she will be having a baby on the way.

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She figures that if she has the child, then the financial situation will be even harder for the family. When she mentions her thoughts about having an abortion, Walter stays silent. During this time, Mama puts a down payment on a house for the whole family. Her view on this investment is that it will create a positive change to them all. This house is in Clybourne Park, where the population is known to have only white people. In this time the variety of people’s skin tones was still looked at negatively. Now, when the people living next to the Youngers are informed that they are moving in, they send Mr. Lindner, from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, to propose the Youngers money in exchange for staying away. The Youngers disagree with what they had to offer. They still felt the same way even after Walter loses $6,500 to his friend Willy Harris. He was the one who influences Walter to finance in the liquor store and then he escapes with his money.

During this case, Beneatha declines her enthusiast, George Murchison. She believes that he isn’t one of those people who view race as an issue. Eventually, she gets a proposition to be engaged from her Nigerian boyfriend, Joseph Asagai. He wishes for her to get a medical degree and proceed to Africa with him. With time, the Youngers make a change and they move out of the apartment. That has always been their dream. This could have been a risky risk that they have taken, but they are confident that they will live a brighter life. The meaning of success to them all begins and ends with them staying strong, supporting one another as a family and settling to postpone their dreams. The story shows several twists and turns and can be easily connected to the work of Langston Hughes and his famously written poems about dreams being forgotten. It’s to connect the storyline of A Raisin In The Sun to his poems on poverty, race, will, family, and finally, dreams.

Poverty is the main obstacle faced throughout the Raisin in The sun because it’s based on the working class family. They are working towards their own particular goals which are only stopped due to the amount of money that their family has. With this situation, they can proclaim touches on stories such as these in spectacular ways. The purpose of this is to demonstrate the feelings behind being left in poverty and what a working-class man or women feel in much of a situation. Langston Hughes said, “Let all who will Eat quietly the bread of shame. I cannot, Without complaining loud and long. Tasting its bitterness in my throat, And feeling to my very soul It’s wrong. For honest work You proffer me poor pay, for honest dreams, Your spit is in my face, And so my fist is clenched Today-To strike your face.”(historyisawepon) To elaborate on Hughes demands, fair pay for such a job with a severe strain on a human body is nonexistent. Throughout the play, Ruth works as a maid and a mother, but no matter how hard she works the poor pay descends the family into poverty. They were stuck in such an uncomfortable home that was just supposed to be a place for them to stay. During this time the Youngers were starting to pursue their dreams. When Hughes argues, “And so my fist is clenched” it demonstrates the frustration and struggle of not being able to make poverty subside, leaving the Younger family in distress and nowhere to go but down.

As a colored family, their everyday life was already difficult, especially in the 1950s. People of color were not welcome in white neighborhoods. Though it wasn’t illegal, it was not something that was seen often. So when the Youngers put a downpayment on their new home, a man is sent to give them their money back. This is the reason that they will not move into an all-white neighborhood. As Hughes has stated, “You and your whole race. Look down upon the town in which you live And be ashamed. Look down upon white folks And upon yourselves And be ashamed That such supine poverty exists there,That such stupid ignorance breeds children there Behind such humble shelters of despair—That you yourselves have not the sense to care Nor the manhood to stand up and say I dare you to come one step nearer, evil world, With your hands of greed seeking to touch my throat, I dare you to come one step nearer me: When you can say that you will be free!”(poetryfoundation) This is a day to day racism and indicates how whites frown upon people of color in the play Three of the four Youngers. They live in the apartment and take care of what the white people say. Walter Lee is a chauffeur, Lena and Ruth do maid chores. We can tell that there is a clear contempt for where they stand in life. In the first act, Ruth gets sick and she mentions that her employer will contact the company and over exaggerate: “’Oh send me somebody! My girl didn’t come in! She’d just have a fit.” This makes her feel like she’s easily replaceable. Lena responds with, “Well, let her throw a fit. I’ll just call and tell her that you have the flu.” Ruth questions her on why she stated that. Lena responds, “Cause it sounds respectable. Something white people get, too. They know ’bout the flu. Otherwise, they think you been cut up or something when you tell ’em you sick.” (Raisin in the Sun) The focus is that white people don’t think that they can get the illness that black people get. It indicates that white people automatically jump to the worst scenarios of why a black person would not be at work. The poem of Hughes only supports such actions of colored people and they are still under the watch of the white man. They cannot be let go and if they where they would be “set free”.

To be “set free” there needs to be a form of the will to be able to grow and be considered just as good as the “white man”. Throughout the play, the only person with a positive outlook towards moving into the house is Mama. She keeps the family mentally positive and she eventually gets them to grow as a whole, just like Hughes talks about in the poem, “I, Too.” He pronounces, “ I, too, sing America. I am the darker brother. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh And eat well, And grow strong. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes. Nobody’ll dare Say to me, “Eat in the kitchen,” Then. Besides, they’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America.”(Poetry Foundation) What Hughes goes on to say is that he himself is, ‘the darker brother.’ He’s referring to his skin color, and then connects it to the fact that he is sent ‘to eat in the kitchen…when company comes.’ His purpose is to refer to himself as being a black slave in a white household. Through these struggles, it does not stop him from laughing and growing strong. Followed by a larger moral in the future, where he is no longer sent to eat in the kitchen. So no one would dare say to him that he is unequal. The white majority of people will see him as higher classed man and they will ‘be ashamed’ at their previous actions. The poem concludes with the Hughes assuring that he of his race is still American. This deeply connects to the characteristics of Mama due to her perseverance of maintaining the family through their darkest hours of sadness and failure of losing the money. This is due to Walter’s oversight or not being welcome in their soon to be new home.

The family is the major component of maintaining peace. A family is like a well-constructed clock, each gear does its job and they work together to accomplish a goal. In a sense, we as individuals are a single gear. When put together as a family, we all play a role in each others success and or happiness. The mother and the son have a tight bond, the amount of will or love a mother has for his or her child is immense just like the relationship between Travis and Ruth. Her job as a mother is to provide and care for her child she demonstrates her perseverance to Travis through tuff times showing meaning reflecting words Hughes wrote “Well, son, I’ll tell you: Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards were torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor— Bare. But all the time I’ve been a-climbin’ on, And reachin’ landin’s, And turnin’ corners, And sometimes going’ in the dark Where there ain’t been no light. So boy, don’t you turn back. Don’t you set down on the steps ’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard. Don’t you fall now— For I’ve still goin’, honey, I’ve still climbin’, And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.”(poetryfoundation) The connection in between Ruth, Travis and Hughes poem is when the mother talks to her son that life have not been a “crystal stair” – she is saying it is a painful splintering walkway cold, The stairs she is climbing are bare. Nonetheless, she climbs on, outstretches landings, revolving corners, and preserving in the shadows where there is no light. She tells him to be conservative, “So boy, don’t you turn back.” She demands him not to go back down the stairs even if he thinks climbing is hard. He should try not to fall because his mother is still climbing, and her life “ain’t been no crystal stair.” these are the exact values expressed in the play in between a mother and her son to make her son perseverance and be better than her mother and to not give up that eventually the dark times will pass and there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

Each character has their own dream, and each one is deferred. Mama dreams of relocating her family from a ghetto neighborhood into a house. Her dream has been set on the side since she and her husband moved into the Youngers apartment. Mamas goal motivates her to make money, however this doesn’t work out. No matter how hard she and her husband try, they could not gather enough money to make their dream come true. Ruth’s fantasy is like Mama’s. She wants to create a family that will live happily, but believes that in order for that to occur she needs to move into a bigger house. Ruth’s dream is also deferred by a lack of money, this results in her and Walter living in tight apartment where their son, Travis, must rest on a sofa. Beneatha’s wishes to become a doctor and to stop all the race negativity in their society. With the amount of money that Walter loses, it’ll be difficult for her to become a doctor. Walter hopes of having tons of money and supplying for his family as the rich people that he’s around do. His dream has been postponed by his inability to find some type of employment. Walter is a big dreamer. He wants to own a business that he can make the amount of money that he wants. When his dream doesn’t work out we can compare it to Langston Hughes’s poem “A Dream Deferred.” “What happens to a dream deferred?Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore–And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load, Or does it explode?” (poemhunter.com) There he relates many components to a torn apart dream. When Walter loses the insurance money it relates to a raisin that has been dried up from the sun. Walter in this case is left with a dried up dream. “Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?” (poemhunters.com) Walter’s dreams don’t work out because Willy Harris has destroyed his ability to own a business and therefore he does explode. He screams and yells out of anger because this isn’t what he wanted in life. He’s now a resentful man who can’t believe in himself based on the tragedy he went through.

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A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry Analysis. (2021, Oct 08). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/a-raisin-in-the-sun-by-lorraine-hansberry-analysis-essay

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