Comparing the Passion and Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun and The Grapes of Wrath

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The Fruits of Passion and Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun and The Grapes of Wrath

Passion! Passion is what both Lorraine Hansberry and John Steinbeck have in common. Their two major works, A Raisin in the Sun and The Grapes of Wrath, respectively, focus on the human struggle, love and dreams, which in turn are symbolized through the ideas of matriarchal images, prodigal sons and daughters and nature as an icon of dreams.

In both these works, the mothers play the most important role in the development of the plot. They represent the pillars of strength and they are the ones that hold the family together and the hope alive. In Lorraine Hansberry's work, Mama is a widow, mother of two children and the head of the household: "There are some ideas we ain't going to have in this house. Not long as I am at the head of this family." (Hansberry 51) Mama is aware of the high position she is awarded in the family, since her husband is dead and she is left in care of the family. Qualities like independence and strength surround her and give her and air of authority. She takes charge when others hesitate and she gives courage to the insecure. "You just got strong willed children and it takes a strong woman like you to keep'em in hand, (Hansberry 52) her daughter-in-law tells her at one point. This symbolizes the love and respect she carries for her, but also the power that Mama radiates over the whole family.

Mama's virtues are reflected, not only through other people's reactions or her own actions towards others, but by the author's own opinion as well: "Her face is full of strength. She has, we can see, wit and faith of a kind that keeps her eyes lit and full of interest and expectancy...Her bearing is perhaps most like the noble Hereros of Southwest Africa-. (Hansberry 39) The author personally involves her feelings into her work, as it is a representation of her own life and almost autobiographical. For that reason, the stage directions are so much more than that. They not only portray the physical aspect of the setting and characters, but go deep into the heart and soul of the people represented by the characters. They are much more personalized. They do not give the beholder the opportunity to form an opinion, but more, they imply what the reader's reaction should be.
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