“Why do some people persist despite insurmountable obstacles, while others give up quickly or never bother to try” (Gunton 118)? A Raisin in the Sun, a play by Lorraine Hansberry, is a commentary on life and our struggle to comprehend and control it. The last scene in the play between Asagai and Beneatha contrasts two contemporary views on why we keep on trying to change the future, and reaches the conclusion that, far from being a means to an end, the real meaning of life is the struggle. Whether we succeed or not, our lives are purposeful only if we have tried to make the world a better place for ourselves and others- only, in other words, if we follow our dreams.
Many self-described realists dismiss this attitude as naive and unrealistic, that finding value in the pursuit of dreams is merely a self-induced delusion. Often, this perspective is obtained after much bitter suffering for little or no apparent reason, as in the case of Beneatha Younger. Already a natural cynic due to the condition of the world into which she was born, a world where poor blacks with aspirations of something better were generally doomed, she became embittered with life when her dream of becoming a doctor was seemingly shattered. From an outside perspective, it seems obvious that she reacted poorly: the money her brother lost, after all, was not hers at all but her mother's, and how she expected to finance college without the death of her father and the insurance check that followed is unclear. What is clear, however, is that the death of her long-held aspiration had a profound effect on her. “A dream glanced from afar brings disappointment when it collapses; a dream that dies w...
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...th the mundane, everyday anxieties of life, giving little thought to what our existence means or how we can change it. There is another reason, however, that we should strive to mold our own future, no matter how futile a task it may seem. Lost causes can be winnable, if enough people care about them to make them succeed: there is always the hundredth dream.
Bloom, Harold. Twientieth-Century American Literature. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.
Draper, James P. Black Literature Criticisms. Detroit: Gale Research Incorporated, 1992.
Gunton, Sharon R. Contemporary Literary Criticisms. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Literature and the Writing Process. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1996.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Signet, 1988.
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