Free Essays - A Raisin in the Sun

Free Essays - A Raisin in the Sun

Length: 1526 words (4.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Racism is a major issue that has affected the United States since its discovery.  Racism is the hatred by a person of one race pointed at a person of another race. The United States has grown up to improve as a whole but this process is a long way away from completion.  Some citizens still believe that African-Americans are inferior to Caucasians and that they should be slaves.  In the 1950s, whites and blacks were segregated to a point that they could not go to the same schools or even use the same bathrooms.  Chief Justice Earl Warren abolished the segregation of schools in May of 1954.  The desegregation of schools has helped people of all races grow up together in a non-hostile environment where they can develop relationships with people of other races.  Throughout the play A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry criticizes the racial and discriminatory climate of America in the 1950s and early 60s.

 It becomes obvious to the reader that the racial tension Hansberry experienced growing up reflected on the way her literature is written.  Moss and Wilson state that, “Lorraine Hansberry’s South Side childhood, particularly her father’s battle to move into a white neighborhood, provided the background for the events in the play” (314).  Hansberry experienced many of the situations she placed the Younger family at first hand.  Hansberry’s father, Carl Hansberry, was put in a similar circumstance when he moved his family into a predominately white community at the opposition of the white neighbors.  He eventually won a civil rights case on discrimination.  Speaking of the United States, Adler states, “A Raisin in the Sun is a moving drama about securing one’s dignity within a system that discriminates against, even enslaves, its racial minorities” (824). 

Hansberry overcame many racial barriers to become one of the best authors in the world.
 Walter Lee Younger is an intense man in his middle thirties who works as a chauffeur, but his dream is to one day open up a liquor store.  Walter has a very bad temper and tends to say things he doesn’t mean. Walter and his wife have been getting into many fights in which he will show off his bad temper.  Many times when Walter gets upset he goes out and gets drunk.  Gerald Weales explains, “Of the four chief characters in the play, Walter Lee is the most complicated and the most impressive.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Free Essays - A Raisin in the Sun." 18 Jul 2019

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Free Essays - A Raisin in the Sun

- “A Raisin in the Sun” is set at in an area where racism was still occurring.  Blacks were no longer separated but they were still facing many racial problems. The black Younger family faced these problems throughout the play.  The entire family was affected in their own way.  The family has big dreams and hope to make more of their poor lives.  Walter, the main character, is forced to deal with most of the issues himself.  Ruth, his wife, and Travis, his ten-year-old son, really don’t have say in matters that he sets his mind to.  Beneatha, his sister tries to get her word in but is often ignored.  Lena (Mama) is Walter’s mother and is very concerned about her family.  She tries to keep thi...   [tags: Raisin Sun essays]

Free Essays
1704 words (4.9 pages)

Free Raisin in the Sun Essays: Pride and Dignity

- Pride and Dignity in A Raisin in the Sun "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry follows a black family's struggle to see their dreams through to fruition. These dreams, and the struggles necessary to attain them, are the focus of the play. As the play begins a husband, Walter, and wife, Ruth, are seen having a fight over Walter's dream to become a 'mover and shaker' in the business world by using an insurance check as a down payment on a business venture. Walter tells his wife that, "I'm trying to talk to you 'bout myself and all you can say is eat them eggs and go to work", which is the first sign of Walter's recurring feelings that if someone in the family would just listen to him...   [tags: A Raisin in the Sun]

Free Essays
861 words (2.5 pages)

Free Raisin in the Sun Essays: A Happy Ending

- A Happy Ending for A Raisin in the Sun   A Raisin in the Sun is about a black family stuggling through family and economic hardships. The story ended as the head of the family Walter took control, became a family man, and rejected an offer from a white businessman to stay out of a white neighborhood and to stay with all blacks. This offer disgusted the Younger family and hurt their black pride. I would like in my own words to continue this story as I see it fit to occur. Three changes I would make would be is Walter is forced to take action against segregation, the grandmother passing away, and how the blacks finally became accepted and began to enjoy and be prou...   [tags: Raisin Sun essays]

Free Essays
683 words (2 pages)

Free Raisin in the Sun Essays: Bad Dreams

- Bad Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun The issue of racism is one of the most significant themes in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Many black men have to deal with inherent racism. The frustrations that they deal with does not only affect them, but it also affects their families as well. When Walter Lee has a bad day he can't yell at his boss for fear of loosing his job Instead he takes it out on his family, mainly his wife Ruth. Walter is thirty-five years old and drives a limousine for a living....   [tags: Raisin Sun essays]

Free Essays
781 words (2.2 pages)

Free College Essays - The Strength of the Characters in A Raisin in the Sun

- The Strength of the Characters in A Raisin in the Sun In A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry paints an impressive group portrait of the Youngers, a family composed of powerful characters who are yet in many ways typical in their dreams and frustrations. There is Lena, or Mama, the widowed mother; her daughter Beneatha, a medical student; Beneatha's brother Walter, a struggling chauffeur; and Walter's wife, Ruth, and their young son. Crammed together in an airless apartment, the family dreams of better days....   [tags: A Raisin in the Sun]

Free Essays
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Free College Essays - Struggling for the Dream in A Raisin in the Sun

- Struggling for the Dream in A Raisin in the Sun   Set in a cramped apartment in poverty-striken Southside Chicago, Lorraine Hansberry, through realistic slang, accounts the struggles of five black family members battling against racism to attain middle-class acceptance during 1959. After Walter Younger's business "partner" skipped town with a portion of the family's $10,000 inheritance money, the desolate son returns home to break the news to his family that their hopes for the future have been stolen and their dreams for a better life were dashed....   [tags: A Raisin in the Sun]

Free Essays
1241 words (3.5 pages)

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun - Dignity and the American Dream

- Dignity and the American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun     The American Dream, although different for each of us, is what we all aspire to achieve. In Lorraine Hansberry's, play, A Raisin in the Sun, each member of the Younger family desperately hopes for their own opportunity to achieve the American Dream. The American Dream to the Younger family is to own a home, but beyond that, to Walter Younger, it is to be accepted by white society.   In the book entitled " Advertising the American Dream", Roland Marchand refers to the American Dream as the belief that "if you work hard and play by the rules, then you will achieve your goals" (Marchand 1)....   [tags: A Raisin in the Sun]

Research Papers
1234 words (3.5 pages)

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun - Mama as the Ideal Mother Essay

- Mama as the Ideal Mother in A Raisin in the Sun       W. S. Ross once said “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”  As simple as this quip may sound, its complex implications are amplified through the life of every person born since the beginning of humanity. What attribute makes a mother such an extraordinary influence over her young. One such attribute is the ability to nurture. Beyond the normal challenges of cooking, cleaning, schooling, singing, feeding, and changing is the motivation by which such sacrifices are made possible....   [tags: Raisin Sun essays]

Research Papers
1215 words (3.5 pages)

A Raisin in the Sun Essay: Importance of Deferred Dreams

- Importance of Deferred Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun      A dream is a hope, a wish, and an aspiration. Young people have dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. Parents have dreams for their children's future. Not all of these dreams come true at the desired moment - these dreams are postponed or "deferred". A deferred dream is put on the "back burner of life"(Jemie 219), and it matures to its full potential, and is waiting when you are "ready to pursue it"(Jemie 219). It is assumed that the deferred event, though later than hoped for, will eventually come true....   [tags: Raisin Sun essays]

Research Papers
736 words (2.1 pages)

Essay on Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun – Seeking Dreams

- A Raisin in the Sun – Seeking Dreams In the fifties, many young couples sought to fulfill the American Dream: owning a home in the suburbs. While many families were able to save money easily and successfully fulfill their dreams, others were not so fortunate. The play "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry chronicles the story of an African American family as they seek their dreams and the trials they face in doing so. Adding deeper meaning to the play is the contrast between the apartment in which they currently live and their dream home: one representing oppression and the other freedom....   [tags: Raisin Sun essays]

Research Papers
578 words (1.7 pages)

Related Searches

  He is often unlikable, occasionally cruel…. The play is concerned primarily with his recognition that, as a man, he must begin from, not discard, himself, that dignity is a quality of men, not bank accounts” (183).  Walter Lee is more concerned with material things rather than the most important thing to someone, family.

 Ruth Younger is Walter Lee’s wife who is about thirty years old.  Ruth attempts everything possible to make her family happy.  When it appears that the love between her and Walter has come to a crossroad, Ruth considers aborting the child of which she is pregnant with.  She just wants the best for the Younger family.  Ruth wishes to continue working as a cook to the dismay of Walter.

Beneatha Younger is Walter’s smart, younger sister who is about twenty years old.  Beneatha wants to become a doctor when she gets older. She says everything that is on her mind and nothing seems to make her happy.  Beneatha finds most everything people say to be offensive to her some how.  As Thomas Adler says, “Beneatha, a mild self-parody of the artist herself when she was ten years younger, seeks identity as an adult by rebelling against the traditional religion of her mother…” (825).  The character of Beneatha has been created by Hansberry to portray herself as a young, African-American striving for success. 

Lena Younger, known as Mama, is in her early sixties. “She is one of those women of a certain grace and beauty who wear it so unobtrusively that it takes a while to notice.  She has wit and faith of a kind that keeps her eyes lit and full of interest and expectancy.  Mama is, in a word, a beautiful woman.  Thomas Adler asserts, “Her speech is as careless as her carriage is precise-she is inclined to slur everything-but her voice is perhaps not so much quiet as simply soft”(826).  Her husband died a before the beginning of the play leaving the Younger family a ten thousand dollar life insurance check.  Mama works very hard to try and help her family have the best, especially for Travis.

Karl Lindner is a member of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, aimed at improving the living conditions for the people of Clybourne Park.  Lindner comes to the Younger apartment with concerns about the new house they have just purchased.  Lindner tells Walter that the people of Clybourne Park believe that “people get along better... when they share a common background”(Hansberry 117).  Mr. Lindner offers Walter money not to move into the new house, which he turns down.  Joyce Moss states, “The racism faced by the play’s characters is rarely of the overt kind.  Lindner is pleasant, and claims not to be prejudice”(314).  This quote is not true because there are no forms of pleasant racism.  Racism can never be considered pleasant for racism represents hatred and there is no form of pleasant hatred. 

Walter believed that Ruth and Mama should not have work since it makes him seem cowardly.  Ruth and Mama want to support the family by cooking and cleaning the houses of people in the neighborhood.  Walter’s discrimination toward Mama and Ruth is a sign of the times.  Women did not commonly work in the 1950s and 60s.  The women were generally in charge of taking care of the children and the house or apartment.

The community of Clybourne Park places a stigmatism on the Youngers’ simply because they are of African-American descent.  Previous African-American families who lived in Clybourne Park were bombed and had other disturbing thing done to their house and family.  This can be related to the time of the play’s publication due to the civil rights movement by the African-American race.  The late 1950s to the early 60s were a time of various hate crimes.  African-American churches were burnt down by white supremacy fighters as well as thousands of homes occupied by African-Americans.
Walter Lee has many internal problems, which hurt his character.  Walter Lee tends to drink too much when he goes to a bar and come home intoxicated.  He started relying on the bar after getting in a fight at home or if he was down.  Walter Lee possesses a temper got him into trouble by causing him to say things that he did not mean.
Ruth faces a major decision of whether or not to keep the baby she was pregnant with.  Her marriage with Walter is in a downward spiral and forced her to consider the inconsiderable, abortion.  Ruth still has thoughts of abortion until they moved into the new house in Clybourne Park.  After moving into the new house, the family has enough room so that they would not be at each others throat the whole time unlike the old apartment.  When the play ends, Ruth is planning to keep her baby.

Walter Lee experiences a severe control problem over his family.  After his father‘s death, Walter becomes the man of the house and is not acting like he should be.  Walter pressures himself to provide luxury to Ruth and anything less does not satisfy him.  After Walter lost part of the life insurance to Willy Johnson who ran off with it, he leaves all the other financial responsibilities to Mama.

Mama’s external conflict is what to do with the ten thousand dollars left to the family from “Big Walter’s” life insurance.  Mama wants the best for the family and is not sure whether to buy a new house, pay for Beneatha’s medical school, or help Walter start up a liquor business.  Mama decides to spend seven thousand dollars on a down payment for the house and put the other three thousand dollars in the bank.  When Mama gives the three thousand dollars to Walter to deposit in the bank, Walter gives part of it to his business partner Willy who then runs away with it.  Mama is faced with another decision about whether to take Mr. Lindner’s offer to buy the house back or not.  After consideration, Mama decides that the family will move into their new house.

A Raisin in the Sun relates to the events Lorraine Hansberry experienced growing up as well as the events happening at the time of which the book was written in 1959.  Arthur France notes, “If serious can be taken to mean earnest, deep, grave, sober, solemn, not joking or trifling, then we might say that the setting of A Raisin in the Sun is indeed appropriate to tragedy.  The condition out of which the action of this play arises is very serious in terms of the moral behavior of men”(185).  In the closing stages of the story, the Younger family overcame the racism that they were fronted with to become a stronger family. 
Return to