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Poverty In A Raisin In The Sun

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Common among millions of Americans, poverty is an ongoing issue both in real life and for the characters in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Destitution means not having enough money to support oneself and family, which often times indicates a shortage of necessary items such as food, clothing and shelter. Living in Beachwood, I have not had many direct experiences with poverty and most incidences I have had have been through charity work, meaning the neediness was being supported by an organization or group. However, one time I witnessed true destitution was in New York City. While walking along the streets of Times Square, a few friends and I came across a poor man holding a dismal box and pleading for money. He shook the container…show more content…
To us, the encounter did not mean much --there are beggars on every street corner of New York-- but to the man the money meant so much more. What we had put into the box was not the same as what he took out of it. For him, the currency was a meal, or possibly a new article of clothing; to him, the money meant that he had successfully survived another day of poverty. Though the characters in A Raisin in the Sun do not spend their days asking others for money, they too live in this world of destitution. From their dingy apartment with a shared outdoor bathroom, to the jobs that they are forced to take in order to support themselves, the Youngers experience poverty in many ways on a daily basis. Each character, however, responds differently to the shortage of wealth and therefore to the insurance money they receive after Mama 's husband, Big Walter, dies. As the woman running the house and being granted the $10,000 check, Mama knows how important money is to her children and to her grandson, Travis. Nonetheless, Mama is calm about the inheritance and states clearly that if not for her family, she would probably donate the money to the…show more content…
Mama compares herself to her barely-living plant exclaiming "It expresses ME," both with simple desires, difficult circumstances, and a staggeringly great amount of fortitude (121). Though Mama 's dream of a new home is ultimately fulfilled, the patience she portrays while waiting is yet another element of perseverance. Asagai explains this concept as he describes, "I will teach and work and things will happen, slowly, and swiftly," just as mama 's dedication and effort eventually paid off (135). Possibly the most fundamental theme represented in A Raisin in the Sun, the concept of the American Dream gives personality to both the characters and the play as a whole. To me, the definition of this dream is having the freedom to be successful in whatever aspirations one chooses to pursue. I think that most Americans view the Dream similarly, with perhaps more of an emphasis on money and materialism. Some of the goals that I personally wish to achieve in my life include being happy, traveling and discovering the world, and making remarkable memories with close family and friends to share in them.
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