Lorraine Hansbury's A Raisin in the Sun Essay

Lorraine Hansbury's A Raisin in the Sun Essay

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When your dreams are set aside, delayed or deferred you can experience a number of different emotions. You might feel frustration or angst, angry at the obstacles that might be holding you back from pursuing your dream and worried that you may never be able to reach your goals. You may feel stuck or defeated, if you think that your dream has no sustenance to keep it alive. You could feel defensive if those who you would expect to support you in your pursuit of happiness are instead turning against you and resisting the actions that you are taking in order to reach your goals. When being presented with a life changing amount of money, a family can be torn apart in conflict or brought together in a unified front towards happiness.

I believe that Lorraine Hansbury used Langston Hughes’ “What Happens to a Dream Deferred?” as the epigraph of her play because the story is based on a family’s dreams for their future when faced with a substantial and life changing amount of money that is due to arrive in the mail. Each family member, as they have waited for the money to arrive, has dreamed about how it could be used to change their lives for the better. Each question posed in the poem by Hughes seems to reflect the dreams of a particular character in Hansbury’s play leading a reader to believe that Hansbury, quite possibly based her entire play upon Hughes’ poem.

A three generation African American family of five living in a small, substandard apartment in the city of Chicago faced many obstacles in order to thrive. Blacks often felt that they could “be somebody” when they saw the growing shopping districts, parks and lake side beaches as well as theaters, ballrooms and fancy hotels (Mays). While great strides had been taken in ...


... middle of paper ...


...can help them to keep hope, and their dreams alive.


Works Cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. “A Raisin in the Sun.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Kelly

J. Mays. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110.

2013. Print.

Huges, Langston. “Harlem.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. Kelly

J. Mays. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110.

2013. Print.

Mays, Kelly. “Life in the “Black Metropolis.” The Norton Introduction to Literature.

Kelly J. Mays. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

10110. 2013. Print.

Weaver, Robert C. “The Negro as an American: The Yearning for Human Dignity.” The

Norton Introduction to Literature. Kelly J. Mays. W. W. Norton and Company, Inc.,

500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY

10110. 2013. Print.


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