Though there was a heightened sense of tension over civil rights in the late 1950s when A Raisin in the Sun was written, racial inequality is still a problem today. It affects minorities of every age and dynamic, in more ways than one. Though nowadays it may go unnoticed, race in every aspect alters the way African-Americans think, behave, and react as human beings. This is shown in many ways in the play as we watch the characters interact. We see big ideas, failures, and family values through the eyes of a disadvantaged group during an unfortunate time in history. As Martin Luther King said, Blacks are “...harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and are plagued with inner fears and outer resentments…” (King 1549). In A Raisin in the Sun, and in every facet of real life, racial discrimination heavily shapes the actions of every individual both consciously and unconsciously, whether it is obvious or not.
Throughout the pages of A Raisin in the Sun we watch as a character, Walter, begs and shouts to be listened to. “Will somebody please listen to me today!” (Hansberry 1495), Walter shouts at the top of his lungs, only to be told to quiet down by his mother. Although it seems that he is talking only to his family members, who don’t seem to have the time or patience to listen to his hair brained ideas anymore, Walter is a paragon for the Black male of the 1950s, as well as still a perfect representation of how many Black men feel today. As a minority, it’s common to feel that no one is listening to your needs and wants, that your dreams are not as important as the dreams of the majority. Walter spends a lot of time talking ab...
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...lack is a good thing, or a beautiful thing, and that they are just as good as everyone else in the world. It is often later in life that an African-American will realize just how important, strong, and great that they are. This play does a wonderful job of showing how racism, obvious and discreet, manipulates and changes the way a person will behave.
Hansberry, Lorraine. "A Raisin in the Sun." Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013. 1471-1534. Print.
Jr., Martin Luther King. "Letter from Birmingham Jail." Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013. 1546-1550. Print.
Samuels, Gertrude. "Even More Crucial Than in the South." Mays, Kelly J. The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2013. 1543-1546. Print.