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A Raisin In The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry: The African American Dream

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A Raisin in the Sun is an all-time classic and has been around since 1959. This book was written by Lorraine Hansberry and inspired by a poem named “Harlem” by Langston Hughes. Both “Harlem” and A Raisin in the Sun are about African-Americans in the 1950s with big dreams. It spotlights the Youngers family who is poor and about to receive a check for $10,000. Throughout the play, you see how the main characters battle to manage the harsh conditions that standard their lives. A Raisin in the Sun addresses so many important issues during the 1950s in the United States and shows how difficult it was for African-American families to live in the United States at that time. The theme of this play portrays the importance of family and to aim high. I believe family is one of the most important things in life because it provides a type of love and support, you can’t receive anywhere else. The family also supplies a framework of values to every one of its members, who serve one another and share life’s joys and sorrows. By aiming high and having big dreams you can improve the quality of your life. In A Raisin in the Sun, images used by Lorraine Hansberry, help portray the dreams, expectations, and exasperations of an African-American family attempting to break the traditional cycle of racism, segregation, and poverty in the mid-1900s.

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In every family, each member has their own distinct dreams and they each have different paths to achieve those goals. All dreams require sacrifice and hard work, but support is the most essential part. Support from the people who love you most, your family. Each member in the Youngers family has their own specific individual dream they are trying to achieve. One wants to attend medical school and go to college, one wants to move to a bigger house for a better life, and the other wants to open a liquor store to be able to provide more for his family. Each individual’s dream serves a significant mental capacity. It provides each of them with hope, inspiration, and direction. These dreams additionally isolate the characters, arousing conflict among them. The $10,000 is not sufficient for each individual dreams to be fulfilled, which causes even more conflict between the characters. Throughout the play, Walter feels as if no one supports his plan of using the money for the liquor store. He is so upset he drinks more than usual and says things with no filter, “No! ‘Cause ain’t nobody with me! Not even my own mother!” He displays his anger by getting even drunker, skipping work, and yelling at Ruth saying “Who even cares about you?” Little does he know he’s going to regret yelling at them for thinking they don’t trust and support him.

An important topic in this book is money, and the things it makes people do. Throughout the play, Walter gets caught up in the money and he starts to change. He forgets where the money truly came from. He forgets that the money was a life insurance check that Mama had received after the death of her husband. Mama strongly believes in the importance of family and she attempts to educate this value to her family as she struggles to keep them functioning and together. Mama’s insurance check represents hope, as every member of the family considers it to be a one-time opportunity to make their dreams work out. From the beginning of the book to the end, the check goes from symbolizing hope to symbolizing the loss of their dreams. Mama tells Walter how being able to have a life here is such a blessing and how “Once upon a time freedom used to be life-and now it’s money.” After momma talks about how freedom used to be everything, Walter says, “No—it was always money, Mama. We just didn’t know about it.” Even in today’s society most people these days care more about money than anything else. They believe money guarantees happiness, but it never does it just satisfies your temporary needs until you get bored of it. Money is always nice to have but nothing is more important than family and their trust.

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A Raisin In The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry: The African American Dream. (2021, August 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 28, 2023, from
“A Raisin In The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry: The African American Dream.” Edubirdie, 13 Aug. 2021,
A Raisin In The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry: The African American Dream. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 Sept. 2023].
A Raisin In The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry: The African American Dream [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 13 [cited 2023 Sept 28]. Available from:
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