Free College Essays - Struggling for the Dream in A Raisin in the Sun
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Struggling for the Dream in A Raisin in the Sun
Set in a cramped apartment in poverty-striken Southside Chicago, Lorraine Hansberry, through realistic slang, accounts the struggles of five black family members battling against racism to attain middle-class acceptance during 1959. After Walter Younger's business "partner" skipped town with a portion of the family's $10,000 inheritance money, the desolate son returns home to break the news to his family that their hopes for the future have been stolen and their dreams for a better life were dashed. Redeeming himself in the eyes of his family, Walter refuses to sell-out his race to the prejudiced white Clybourne Park spokesman Karl Lindner, who offers to pay off the Youngers to stop them from moving in the neighborhood.
Hansberry highlights the different values of a black and white culture by attempting to alienate the Youngers from the affluent white community. The attributes of pride and prejudice are assigned to Walter and Karl, respectively to define their stereotypical society's assumptions.
The play opens with Mama Younger awaiting the coming of a $10,000 insurance check from the death of her husband. Mama sees in this legacy the chance to escape the ghetto life of the Chicago Southside and decides to use part of the money as a down payment for a house in an all-white neighborhood. Her brilliant daughter Beneatha views the inheritance as a chance to live out her dream and go to medical school. Her son Walter becomes obsessed with business, ever since he learns of the $10,000 insurance check. Desperate to become higher in society and believing the money will solve all of his economic and social problems, Walter has a plea that is difficult to ignore. Thirty-five year old Walter sees this as his last chance to carry out his dream business deal and invest with some friends in a liquor store. By doing this, it might quadruple his money, and he thinks that will make him a worthier man. Walter promises that if he can just have the money, he can give back to the family all the blessings that their hard lives have denied them.
Against her better judgment, Mama gives in to the desire of her son. She has to admit that life's chances have never been good for him and that he deserves the chance that money might give him. As soon as he invested the money, his so-called "friend" skips town with it.