Racism and the American Dream in Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun Essay

Racism and the American Dream in Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun Essay

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A Raisin in the Sun is written by a famous African- American play write, Lorraine Hansberry, in 1959. It was a first play written by a black woman and directed by a black man, Lloyd Richards, on Broadway in New York. The story of A Raisin in the Sun is based on Lorraine Hansberry’s own early life experiences, from which she and her whole family had to suffer, in Chicago. Hansberry’s father, Carol Hansberry, also fought a legal battle against a racial restrictive covenant that attempted to stop African- American families from moving in to white neighborhoods. He also made the history by moving his family to the white section of Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood in 1938. The struggle of Lorraine Hansberry’s family inspired her to write the play. The title of the play comes from Langston Hughes’s poem which compares a dream deferred too long to a raisin rotting in the sun. A Raisin in the Sun deals with the fact that family’s and individual’s dreams and inspirations for a better life are not confined to their race, but can be identified with by people with all back grounds.

A Raisin in the Sun is a set in 1950s after the Second World War which was an age of great racism and materialistic in America. It is about a black family living in south side of Chicago and struggling through family and economic hardships, facing the issues of racism, discrimination, and prejudice. The family consists of Lena Younger known as Mama; Walter Lee Younger who is an intense man, Ruth Younger who is wife of Walter Lee, Travis Younger who is son of Ruth and Walter, and Beneatha Younger who is Walter’s younger sister. The whole family lives in a two bed room apartment and don’t have money to live a better life. youngers are tired from their struggle to ...


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...llow." Ruth replies by saying, "He’s rich!" That is exactly Beneatha's point. She does not want to be in a relationship with George (boyfriend) simply because he can support her financially. That is how Beneatha proves her point about looking beyond the surface. He seems her obstacle in fulfilling her dream of becoming a doctor. She is a strong woman who faces the negative attitude of people with great patience. For example, when Mrs. Johnson (neighbor) says, “I know--- but sometimes she act like ain’t got time to pass the time of day with no body ain’t been to college. It’s just--- you know how some of our young people get when they get a little education” (Hansberry 527).

Work Cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. ?A Raisin in the Sun.? Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. Eds. John Schilb and John Clifford. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin?s 2008.

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