Fighting Charges of Assimilation in Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and The Cosby Show

Fighting Charges of Assimilation in Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and The Cosby Show

Length: 1406 words (4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Fighting Charges of Assimilation in Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and The Cosby Show


The critical reception of The Cosby Show, an enormously popular television sitcom in the 1980's, roughly paralleled that of A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry's highly acclaimed play of the 1950's. Both the television series and the play helped change the way Blacks are portrayed in the entertainment media. But despite being initially greeted with critical praise, both subsequently fell under heavy scrutiny by many critics for being too assimilationist. However, in both cases, the charges of assimilation may perhaps be too harsh. A Raisin in the Sun, a drama of a middle-class family in Chicago, should not be regarded as a wholehearted endorsement of black assimilation into "white society. " Instead, the play offers a rather realistic view of the complexity of struggles that involves this issue. The Cosby Show, a comedy series about a successful upper-middle-class black family in New York, must also not be viewed as an endorsement of black assimilation into "white society." Instead, the sitcom dealt with universal family issues and posited traditional family values and morals. But most importantly of all, both tried to do away with the prevailing negative black stereotypes in order to promote more positive and realistic representations.

The claim that A Raisin in the Sun expresses the idea of black assimilation can be somewhat justified. Walter Lee Younger and George Murchison openly and consciously admit that desire for the white lifestyle. George has willingly denounced his race rather than uplifted it and is the epitome of a black man that has fully assimilated into the White mainstream. Walter, on the other hand,...


... middle of paper ...


...revolution, not the just the entertainment industry.


Works Cited

Color Adjustment.Videotape. Dir. Marlon Riggs. Narr. Rudy Dee. California newsreel.1991. 87 min.

Crenshaw, Anthony. "The Cosby Show Changed the Way Blacks are Viewed." Once Upon a Time in the Eighties. (1995) n. pag. Online. Internet. 3 Aug. 1998.
Link to above site: www.engl.virginia.edu/~enwr1016/amc2d/cosby.html

Pouissant, Alvin. "The Huxtables: fact or Fantasy." Ebony. Oct. 1988. 72-74.

Turner, Darwin T. "Visions of Love and Manliness in a Blackening World :Dramas of Black Life Since 1953." The Black Scholar. vol. 25. No.2. 2-12.
Link to the Lorraine Hansberry Page: http://www.%20accd.edu/sac/english/bailey/hansberr.htm

Link to an interesting site which provides some helpful info and question about A Raisin in the Sun:
www.randomhouse.com/acmart/raisintg.html

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry Essay example

- ... In the same way, the plant reflects how the blacks of the 19th century struggle to survive with limited opportunities (Cummings). Mama’s wishes to accommodate the wishes of other’s become limited and she will not compromise her moral values towards them. Mama’s statements regard the black race’s role in preserving life. For instance, Ruth who becomes pregnated by Mama’s son Walter, thinks abortion is the best way to minimize their lack of money problem. Mama states, “we a people who give children life, not to destroy them”....   [tags: Fiction, Meaning of life, Value, Short story]

Powerful Essays
852 words (2.4 pages)

Essay about Analysis Of The Poem ' A Raisin Of The Sun '

- ... At another point in that scene, she also asks, “Honey, why can’t you stop fighting me?”. These quotes epitomize the fatigue that is central to Ruth’s character. Ruth has never had a dream because she is always supporting other people’s dreams. As a result, she feels that she is rather powerless and unimportant. One display of this helpless disposition comes when she discovers that she is pregnant with another child. She knows that it will be difficult to raise another child with the income they make and can’t decide how to act....   [tags: A Raisin in the Sun, Family]

Powerful Essays
844 words (2.4 pages)

The American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry Essays

- Everyone has their own definition of an American Dream. Some people think the American Dream involves wealth and fame, while others refer to it as happiness and freedom. Lorriane Hansberry proves that the American Dream is obtainable for everyone. In, A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry explains the American Dream with distinctive characters, a well-rounded theme, and specific symbols. Hansberry uses unique characters to describe the American Dream. Every character has a different view on the American Dream....   [tags: happiness, freedom]

Powerful Essays
1054 words (3 pages)

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun Essay

- Lorraine Hansberry’s novel, A Raisin in the Sun, revolves around a middle-class African-American family, struggling during World War II. By reading about the Younger’s true to life experiences, one learns many important life lessons. One of the aforementioned would be that a person should always put family’s needs before their own. There are many examples of this throughout the novel. Just a few of these would be the example of Ruth and her unborn baby, Walter regaining the respect of his family, and Mama and her unselfish ways....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1183 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Analysis Of Lorraine Hansberry 's ' A Raisin Of The Sun '

- ... According to EducationNext, in 1952, there was “More than a quarter of black males (28 percent) completed no more than four years of schooling, compared with less than 9 percent of white males” (FULLER). Education is a key to a better and happier life, but there were many black men who did not have a proper education compare to the white men. This lack of education prevented the black men to have the opportunity to improve their lives. Thus, lack of education did not allow them to work in high-ranking occupations such as CEO, government officials, and office workers because these jobs would always require (past tense?) intellectuals....   [tags: White people, Black people, Race, African American]

Powerful Essays
982 words (2.8 pages)

Gender Issues in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

- In A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou, both Hansberry and Angelou use gender to show two different perspectives women brought forth in the 1920s through the 1950s. Hansberry displays in Ruth, a woman of good faith and loyalty to her family, and Beneatha represents Maya Angelou’s phenomenal woman, a woman of poise, class, and dreams. Hansberry and Angelou use characterization, dialogue, archetype, and juxtaposition to compare and contrast a woman’s changing role in society....   [tags: women´s role, ambitions, personalities]

Powerful Essays
1110 words (3.2 pages)

A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry Essay

- A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, has often been dubbed a “black” play by critics since its debut on Broadway in 1959. This label has been reasonably assigned considering the play has a cast that consists primarily of African American actors; however, when looking beyond the surface of this play and the color of the author and characters, one can see that A Raisin in the Sun actually transcends the boundaries of racial labels through the universal personalities assigned to each character and the realistic family situations that continue to evolve throughout the storyline....   [tags: A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry]

Powerful Essays
1849 words (5.3 pages)

Motherhood in The Glass Menagerie and A Raisin in the Sun Essay

- Motherhood in The Glass Menagerie and A Raisin in the Sun I have read the two plays, "The Glass Menagerie" by Tennessee Williams and "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry, both of have a big impact on me. The two plays circle around the family values that convey the character of motherhood where mothers have to have a responsibility to raise, to provide their best and to sacrifice for their children. In these two plays, even expressing differently, mothers all show love to their children; they all want their children to have a happy life....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
756 words (2.2 pages)

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun Essay

- Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun In the play, A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, one of the most important themes is the American Dream. Many of the characters in this play have hopes and aspirations; they all strive towards their goals throughout the play. However, many of the characters in the play have different dreams that clash with each other. Problems seem to arise when different people’s dreams conflict with one another; such as Walter’s versus Bennie’s, George’s versus Asagai’s, and the Clybourne Park versus the Younger’s....   [tags: Hansberry Raisin Sun Essays Papers]

Powerful Essays
811 words (2.3 pages)

Essay on Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun

- Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun No matter how hard they try, there are some people who cannot get ahead in life. Walter Lee Younger is a man who is frustrated with his current position in life, and every disappointment he has encountered thus far. Although he tries to be a loving man, sometimes he does not know how to show the idea of love, 'Sometimes...sometimes...I don't even know how to try' (Hansberry 89). His position in life can be regarded as symbolic of every black male struggling to provide for his family by any means necessary....   [tags: Hansberry Raisin Sun Essays]

Powerful Essays
1051 words (3 pages)