“A Raisin in the Sun” was a fascinating reading experience for me as I found the author’s voice to be so uniquely honest and serene as she lay the words down to her ingeniously written narrative. The emotions in her words transcended the pages and it becomes a deeply empathetic and sympathetic experience for the reader.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is a tribute on the author’s part to write about instances of African-American life. Set in south-side Chicago, it is a play that powerfully addresses so many issues relevant to the African-American experiences. The play, I would like to say, is the portrayal of the unrest that arose amongst Black people, as they were forced to be happy with their inferior status, in pre-Civil Rights era in America. This idea is presented as a stark contrast by the author’s two, central characters: Walter and Mama Younger. Mama is happy with the money she is getting from her husband’s life insurance and the house she buys with it in an all-White neighbourhood.
This is intended by Hansberry to represent the views of an entire, older generation of African-Americans, who were just happy in their place in American society. On the other hand, Walter is representative of the new era of Black-American, who isn’t happy with his place in the society in which he exists in, and wants to be better off, earning more money through his investment, living in a better house and having a better life. The second contrast that is made to resemble two opposite ends of a spectrum through the two characters of George Murchison, who is described to be a “fully assimilated Black man” as he is educated and has been charged to have disowned his African heritage and Joseph Asagai, a man who teaches, Beneatha about her African ways and urges her not to act to “White ways.” This spectrum is representative of the different ways Black people are made to define their own existence in a predominantly and powerful White society. Therefore, playing on these kind of dynamics and positioning them in an individualistic narrative constructed on social issues, Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun has carved its place in literature as an honest and inspiring drama about the condition of Black-Americans before the Civil Rights Movement.
A Raisin in the Sun is essentially about dreams, as the main characters struggle to deal with the harsh circumstances that make their lives. The title of the play references to a conjecture that Langston Hughes famously posed in a poem he wrote about dreams that were forgotten or put off. He wonders whether those dreams shrivel up “like a raisin in the sun.” Every member of the Younger family has a separate, individual dream (Beneatha wants to become a doctor, for example, and Walter wants to have money so that he can afford things for his family.) The Youngers struggle to attain these dreams throughout the play, and much of their happiness and depression is directly related to their attainment of, or failure to attain, these dreams. By the end of the play, they learn that the dream of a house is the most important dream because it unites the family.
Mr. Lindner makes the theme of racial discrimination prominent in the plot as an issue that the Youngers cannot avoid. The governing body of the Youngers’ new neighborhood, the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, sends Mr. Lindner to persuade them not to move into the all-white Clybourne Park neighborhood. Mr. Lindner and the people he represents can only see the color of the