The American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun


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The idea of the American Dream still has truth in today's time, even if it is wealth, love, or
fame. The thing that never changes about the American Dream is that everyone deserves something
in life and everyone, somehow, should strive to get it. Everyone in America wants to have some
kind of financial success in his or her lives. The American dream is said to be that each man have
the right to pursue happiness and strive for the beat. In the play "A Raisin in the Sun", the author
shows an African-American family struggling to get out of the poverty line, which is stopping them
from making financial stability, or the American Dream. Its main focus is on Walter's effort to
make it, or be somebody. She also shows how race, prejudice, and economic problems effect a black
mans role in his family, how he provides, and his identity. It is also said that that the Youngers
family dreams were unreal and they couldn't attain there dreams due to their status in life.
The two most common American dreams that the Youngers family want to achieve is to be
accepted by the white society and to be financially stable. For example, when the Younger family
received the insurance check in the mail Mama went out and brought a house in the white
neighborhood. Shortly after she brought the house in the white neighborhood, which is known, as
Clybourne Park they quickly sent a representative by the name of Karl Linder. Linder was apart of
the New Neighbors Orientation Committee that welcomed newcomer in the neighborhood.
Unfortunately, since the Youngers were black Linder stated " It is a matter of the people of
Clybourne Park believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that
our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities". (Hansberry 407). This
basically states that Mr. Linder was trying to convince them not to live in their neighborhood
because they didn't fit into the description of that community. This is an example of them not being
accepted by the white society. Being financially stable allows you to have a better lifestyle, gain
respect from others and to obtain power. By being financially stable you can live better because you
can you don't never have to worry about how your going to eat, will all the bills be paid and maybe
you could own your own business one day. This relates to the story "A Raisin in the Sun" because

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Title Length Color Rating  
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Walter wants to take the money that his mother received from the death of her father to open a
nearby liquor store. He wants to open this liquor to better his families' life, but he gave the money
to one of his friends so they can start getting the liquor store started but the friend took the money
and fled with it. With having money it also brings you respect, it may seem funny because you
would never know that money would allow a person to gain respect. Also by being financially able
people will not look down on you as if you're another one of them poor African American peoples.
Another aspect of being financially stable is to obtain power. Having money will allow you
money and power it is sometimes good and its sometimes bad. Mentioned further up in the readings
I mentioned that having money allows you to gain power it allows you to gain power because
money talks. Not only do money talks when having power you can voice your opinion and
something could be done sooner than someone without the money. Powers also puts you in high
positions and allows you to obtain fame.
In today's society the American people view the American dream as "a dream of a land in
which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according
to ability or achievement. It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret
adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream
of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each
woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be
recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or
position."(What is the America Dream?) It is said that some Americans view the American Dream
as a pursuit of material prosperity, that people work more hours to get bigger cars, fancier homes,
the fruits of prosperity for their families, but have less time to enjoy their prosperity. Others say that
the American Dream is beyond the grasp of the working poor who must work two jobs to insure
their family's survival. Yet others look toward a new American Dream with less focus on financial
gain and more emphasis on living a simple, fulfilling life. (What is the American Dream?). There
has also been much criticism of the American dream. The main criticism is that the American
dream is now misleading. These critics say that, for various reasons, it simply is not possible for
everyone to become prosperous through determination and hard work. The consequences of this
belief can include the poor feeling that it is their fault that they are not successful. It can also result
in less effort towards helping the poor since their poverty is "proof" of their laziness. The concept of
the American dream also ignores other factors of success such as the family and wealth one is born
into and inheritable traits such as intelligence. On the other hand the Youngers American dream is
to get a bigger house and move into a more suburban area. The Youngers also wanted to be
accepted by the white society and to become financially stable. They also had their own individual
dreams, Beneatha who is Walters sister wants to go to school to become a doctor, but in those times
people of color weren't considered being in high positions. Walter on the other hand wanted to own
his own business, which was a liquor store, but Mama didn't want to spend her money on that.
Walter also told his son Travis " that he is going to make a transaction… a business transaction that
going to change our lives… that's how come one day when you ‘bout seventeen years old I'll come
home and I'll be pretty tired, you know what I mean, after a long day of conferences and secretaries
getting things wrong the way they do…'cause an executive's life is hell, man. And I will pull the
car up on the driveway… just a plain black Chrysler, I think, with white wall and no black tires
(Hansberry 402). This was all Walters American dream, but Travis stated to him that they're
family is not a business family and that they are all hard working folks. Mama's dream was to get
her family out of that little house where Travis had to sleep on the couch with well enough room in
it for everyone to sleep comfortable. She also wants her family to see the light because in their old
house they only had one window where little light came in. Ruth dreams were for her and Walter to
have a better relationship with each and to stop all the arguing and fighting they did. She also
wanted to move into a bigger house to see the light. Travis on the other hand want to become a bus
driver when he gets older but his father tell him that being a bus driver you will never make money
and you will never achieve that American dream.
In order to achieve the American dream you must define success, which means what you
choose to do for a living and it should reflect on you values, strengths, and interest. You also have
to decide what is important to you. Is it becoming a millionaire, working at a job you really enjoy,
having a family, or all of the above? Avoid measuring success by comparing your job title or pay
scale to other people. The next step will be learning which means education includes more than just
high school, college, grad school, or learning a trade. It involves observing people, acquiring new
skills, pursuing new interests and hobbies, and generally keeping your mind fresh and alert.
Challenge yourself. Learn a few useful phrases in another language or research new marketing
strategies. Travel when you can and meet new people. Be open to learning. When opportunity
knocks, you want to be ready. The next step will be working harder, this step consist of improving
your time management skills plan your projects, prioritize your "to do" list. Produce quality results
without spending excessive hours hunched over a computer, on a job site or in an office. Don't be
afraid to decline taking on an additional project when you know you won't have enough time to
complete it properly. Take control of your time. The last step would be to invest wisely, not
spending you money on little things that's not necessary. It is also said that wise business people
understand the importance of investing, especially in a retirement fund, which makes equally good
sense for everyone. In contrast of taking those steps the Younger family didn't invest their money
properly, learn what they were doing, working harder and didn't define success before they decided
to spend their money. Mama knowing that Walter was immature she gave him the money to put
some away for his sisters schooling and she told him that he could have the rest but consequently he
tried to open up a liquor store with his friends and one of his friends took the money fled with it and
they never saw him again.
In conclusion of this paper if the will to make money is there, anyone in America can pursue happiness and make their dreams come alive. The dream of making money, having a better life, and
helping those less fortunate is alive in modern day society. No matter the definition of the American
Dream it is possible to obtain it and succeed in life. Today's technology makes it possible for
younger and younger people to make their dreams come true.


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