In the four years between 1861 and 1865 this country was in civil war over the rights and freedom of blacks in America. When all was said and done, the blacks won their freedom and gained several rights that would make their lives better. Nearly one hundred years later, in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry wrote her great play, A Raisin in the Sun. It described the everyday life of a black family in the Southside of Chicago sometime after World War II. Throughout the play, Hansberry talks of the difficulties that the Younger family faces trying to get from one day to another; the problems that should have been resolved by the Civil War. Even after the Civil War and this play, many of these problems still exist today.
The first difficulty that the Younger family faces is poor housing. The play starts off in a small two bedroom apartment with Ruth waking up her son, Travis, who sleeps on the couch in the living room. He sleeps on the couch because one bedroom is used by Ruth and Walter and the other by Mama and Beneatha. Every morning they wake up early so they can get to the one bathroom that is shared by all of the other families that live in the complex. When Mama talks about putting a down payment on a new house, Ruth says, ?Well, Lord knows, we?ve put enough rent into this here rat trap to pay for four houses by now? (p. 1817). When she says rat trap you would naturally think of some of the houses today with boarded up or broken windows, unattended yards, and streets that are covered with potholes. But in the movie, it is nothing like that. The movie depicts the apartment in a very livable way. You can say they made the best of a bad situation.
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... over this and it was decided by the Civil War the blacks should have their freedom as ?full? American citizens. When will we be able to live as one community? ?The history must be taught, and if not in schools then at home. But that won?t or can?t be done until our home life, our families, get back on track. Its a vicious cycle. We still have a long, long way to go.? (Lee p. xivii)
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Norton Introduction to Literature: 7th edition. Ed. Jerome Beaty, et al. New York: Norton, 1998.
Lee, Spike. ?Commentary: Thoughts on the Screenplay.? A Raisin in the Sun: Original Screenplay. London: Penguin, 1992
Wilkerson, Margaret. ?Introduction.? A Raisin in the Sun: Original Screenplay. London: Penguin, 1992
X, Malcolm. The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As told to Alex Haley. New York: Ballantine Books, 1992
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