Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun

Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun

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The Younger family is an African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. Walter Lee Younger’s father has passed away, leaving ten thousand dollars from life insurance. This drama deals with how the family copes with this money, their dreams, race, and each other. During the play, Mama says, “Sometimes you just have to know when to give up some things…and hold on to what you got.” This statement relates to Walter, Beneatha, and Mama’s lives, because they each learn to give up and hold onto things.
In the end, Beneatha holds onto what ideally should be important. Through Asagai, she realizes that she is slowly being assimilated into the American culture, which is shown by her unnaturally straight hair. After Agasai questions her hair, she cuts it, and later stands up for her heritage before George. This shows she holds onto her heritage and takes pride in it. In scene three she shows she holds onto her dream of becoming a doctor, and also her family, along with Asagai. Throughout the play Beneatha must also give up things. In holding on to her heratige, she gives up material things. Along with this she must give up George Murchison. She can’t accept his negativity about expressing their African heritage. She learns what to give up and hold onto mostly through Asagai. He helps her find her identity, which is just what she is looking for. She holds onto what is dear to her and what helps her explore herself.
Walter is a very troubled individual. He believes that everything can be solved with money. By the end of the play, however, that belief is let go. He now believes that a close-knit family can solve much more than money. He rekindles his relationship with his wife, Ruth, and realizes how important she really is in his life. Momentarily, he gives up his family’s pride to the idea of Mr. Linder’s offer of more money, but when the time eventually does come for him to make the decision, he realizes how important it is to his family, and he decides to hold onto pride and give up money even after Willy Harris ran off with the money. Walter tries to hold onto his dream of owning a liquor store and making a lot of money for his family, but lets it go after losing the money and realizing family is more important.

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What helps Walter learn is his new position as head of the family and the reality of losing the money. Now he had to deal not only with his future and well-being, but his family’s also.
Mama holds onto her dream of owning a house, which helps her make the decision to make a down payment on a house in a good (predominantly white) neighborhood. She holds onto her life dreams, which also include gardening in her own garden. She also holds onto memories of her husband, offering Walter help with what her husband would have thought. During the play, she gives up her position of head of the family to Walter so he can become a man and take responsibility of the family. After realizing that her children are growing up, she backs down from her motherly role and lets them explore life for themselves. She learns what to hold onto and what to let go by doing what is best for her dreams and her family.
The play, essentially, is about dreams. All of the family members have their own dreams and make decisions in accordance with them. Throughout this play, racial discrimination also changes decisions. Walter almost succumbs to this, but ultimately he fights it, so his family can have a better life. The Younger’s family unity in the end is truly one to admire. Some dreams, like their family togetherness, come to life in this drama while others “dry up like a raisin in the sun.”
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