Creativity of Hansberry played a crucial role in the development of Negro drama since the Second World War. According to one of the researchers, the writer may be called the “mother of the modern drama of black, no less than Eugene O’Neill is the father of the national drama. In this sense,” Raisin in the Sun “is a drama for the same thing as” Native Son “by R. Wright – for a black novel (a “Huck Finn” by Mark Twain – for any American novel, which appeared after it)”.
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The driving spring of action is the desire to escape Younger family from the ghetto, which causes a fierce resistance to their future white neighbors. Events do not unfold in the South, the citadel of racism and to the north, with which tradition connects the idea of â€‹â€‹tolerance in racial issue. The play has attracted not only acute but also the deep character development. Of greatest interest are the image of Walter Lee, torn between traditional values â€‹â€‹of the black community – the ideals of love, unity, human dignity – and values â€‹â€‹of American society, obsessed with the idea of â€‹â€‹material success, as well as the image of his mother, embodying the best traits of African-American people.
“A Raisin in the Sun” is a play on Broadway telling the story of an African-American tragedy. The play is about family of the Youngers. End of the 50s: The Younger family lives in the ghetto and is at a crossroads after his father died. Mother Lena Younger and her grown up children Walter Lee and Beneatha share a cramped apartment in a poor district of Chicago, in which she and Walter Lee’s wife Ruth and son Travis just fit together inside.
Lena’s husband, the family’s father died and his life insurance brings the family $10,000. Everyone, especially the children, are waiting for the payment of life insurance in the amount. Now the question is whether the money should be invested in a medical school for the daughter, in a deal for the son or other dreams. There are conflicts – especially between the siblings – in which it is a matter of who has more right to his dreams, who deserves his dream sooner. Mama Lena is facing difficult decisions.
Making the right decision is hard for mother Lena because she wants to make it right for everyone and no one wants to be hurt by a wrong decision. Incidentally, the play tells the story of a family which members diligently pursue work to which in a black-time enemy is neither fulfilling nor bring in a lot of money. As the story of the daughter of Lena, who is still looking after herself, and is, therefore, more volatile while the son of Walter Lee, who soon abandons himself because he wants more from his life because he wants to be respected because he wants to be the white man.
Lena’s son Walter Lee Jr. is working as a chauffeur, but wants more out of his life, although he has a respected profession. “Walter believes wealth to be the answer to his feelings of desperation and hopelessness as a slum resident and employee in a dead-end job” (Addell). His wife Ruth is working from day to night, until she breaks down because she is pregnant again. She thinks of abortion, which is banned in the 50’s. Finally, there is Lena’s daughter, Beneatha (desperately wants to be a doctor and her family is very far ahead. Younger than the family believes she would have made the exit from the ghetto, but it must start again from scratch.
The story about the Youngers, you can basically understand only if one has lived at the time, but was told the plot very accessible, so that the audience got a feel for this time. The characters could not be more different, but what was very much frightening at first, because one noticed in the faith, was at this time you hold it together more. In principle, the Younger family was doing well, but on the other side as they moved away from each other, when it came to money, the life insurance of the deceased father.
“Lorraine Hansberry’s play confronts crucial issues that have faced African Americans: the fragmentation of the family, the black male’s quest for manhood, and the problems of integration” (Tackach). This play is totally family one. It tells about dreams and the way how people can struggle with difficult situations that occur on their way. Actually, even the name of the play can be referred to lines in Langston Hugh’s (well-known African-American writer) poems, where he makes parallels of a raisin in the sun and dying dreams. “A Raisin in the Sun is a rife with conflicts: generational conflicts, gender conflicts, ideological conflicts, and perhaps most important, conflicts of dreams, which are at the center of the play” (Washington).
As I have said before, each family member has his or her own dream and throughout the play we can see how each member struggles to get this much desired aim. But the story, which shows how different family members are and how selfish their actions, end with a uniting dream. The dream of house is the dream that unites each member of the family. It is the most important dream. It is not for the good of a separate member, but for the good of unity.
The family of Youngers faces social and economic troubles during the play but at the end they are united. The only character who believes in unity of family and its strength is mother Lena. She tries to show how important family is and which high and positive results can a family achieve functioning together and for the good of each member. When she said that the son has to be the head of the family after father’s death, Walter surprisingly asks: “You trust me like that, Mama?” (Hansberry 50). Unfortunately, the two children Walter and Beneatha will realize this only at the end of the play.
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Actually, this thought comes to them through rather sad circumstances. Only when the insurance money is stolen from Walter and when he is rejected as a brother by Beneatha, the two characters realize that they were wrong. Happiness comes to them only when they start working for the good of the family, for its uniting, when they turn their individual dreams into common.
Home of the Youngers is the only dwelling place of the play and, actually, almost all the scenes take part there which symbolizes unity of the family. It seems that this apartment is a living creature too. Its lightning changes as mood of family members changes too. It is dark and small, as if symbolizing the family at that period. Actually, the house is a crucial place for each member of the family (this point of view is also supported by Mama). And the last scene when Lena happily leaves this dull place is also very symbolizing. This means that dark times for the family are over and it enters the new life, bright and happy one.
Another important theme that is raised in the play is the theme of racial discrimination. “Yet racial segregation is not the major theme of the play” (Brantingham). Mr. Lindner, an outer character, makes this topic extremely bright and noticeable. This is clearly seen when the Youngers decided to move, but they could not because Mr. Lindner wanted a bribe from them. This desire was dictated only by the skin color of the family. But the family does not obey or respond this discrimination. They struggle it with dignity. Actually, the play shows that discrimination is a terrible thing that can ever happen in society. And with the help of African-American family fighting all the instances of discrimination with confidence and dignity, the plays shows how people should react o such cases.
The story itself is very symbolic. There are a lot of things that are not very noticeable, but after considering them, they turn out to be of great importance. One of such things is Mama’s plant. It is weak, but it fights for life. It represents her desire for a new house which will make life of the family better and unite all its members. Mama takes great care of her plant. In fact, the first thing she does after waking and getting up is taking care of her favorite plant. This appears to symbolizes the care which she treats her family and family lawn.
Mama once says that this plant does not receive enough sunshine, but still it struggles for life. Suppose that this is a bright parallel to family of the Youngers, where each member cares only about themselves and the family, this fragile plant, does not receive enough sunshine or family love. At the end of the play, Mama takes this old plant from their old apartment to the new house. It symbolizes that this plant is a symbol, uniting the family, or a family itself. Her dream finally came true and plant’s dream will also come true.
“Hansberry’s play is realistic in setting, characterization, and dialogue. In addition to confronting universal African American issues, it reflects the circumstances of African Americans in the 1950’s, at the beginning of the Civil Rights movement. The doors of opportunity, if not wide open, had at least been unlocked for black Americans” (Tackach).
Especially convincing “A Raisin in the Sun” but because ghettos and racism are still present today. This not only African Americans dream for a better life, but whoever feels bad and even those who lack nothing. Dreams should never abandon you, but the play clearly shows how difficult it is. The Story of Hansberry can in principle identify anyone some more, some less, but not only African Americans. For many, this play left a timeless message: Never give up your dreams. It is a beautiful play, because it establishes, the correct values, and those values that will hopefully never go out of fashion. The focus is not only the discrimination of blacks in the 50’s and later decades, it is also about dreams, money and family ties.
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