Sometimes trying your best isn’t enough. The film A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry’s is based on The Youngers who are an African-American family living in the southside of Chicago. The family lives in a low income apartment structure that only has only one bathroom per floor. The Youngers family is faced with financial responsibilities that need to be met. Walter Younger, the father of the Youngers, works a full time job as a driver for a wealthy white man, in order to make sure that his family’s need are met. The one thing the Youngers family have in order to support their low income lifestyle is the benefit of their grandmother’s retirement check. Race and wealth are the blockade that divides the Youngers family from the rest of society. Living in an era where equality between African Americans were not yet justified. On the other hand, the film A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams elaborates on the subjects of race and socioeconomic factors in society. The film follows a troubled former schoolteacher, Blanche DuBois, as she leaves small-town Mississippi and moves in with her sister, Stella Kowalski and her husband, Stanley, in New Orleans. Blanche’s flirtatious Southern-belle presence causes problems for Stella and Stanley, who already have a volatile relationship, leading to even greater conflict in the Kowalski household.
A Street Car Named Desire and A Raisin in the Sun, differs in the setting of the plays, but many spectacle elements relate to each other in both films. In A Street Car Named Desire the use of dramatic stage effects and music demonstrates the emotions expressed by each character. The role that the two elements play in this film are significant in many ways. The spectacle elements have many components that justify the significance of the films. In particular, the male dominance role that both films display. Walter has a clear dominance role in the film Raisin in the Sun. A specific scene in the film that demonstrates this spectacle is the scene when he is explaining to his wife the benefits of the business idea he has to help benefit the family financially. He strikes knowledge to his wife but the hook is that in order to fulfill his business proposition he needs the assistance is the life insurance check her grandmother. The confrontation between the husband and wife took a drastic turn when the wife declines the idea of using the check for his business idea. Tempers flare between the two causing the husband to question if his wife believes in him and his business strategies. Both A Raisin in the Sun and A Streetcar Named a Desire focus on racial and socio-economic division within the society through the spectacles of clothing, setting, and speech.
In A Streetcar Named Desire, the character Blanche DuBois lost her husband due to suicide as well as her fortune, leading her to becoming a social pariah and alcoholic which is disguises her poor behavior developing her into having serious insecurities. Blanche`s relies on her poor choice of sexual behavior and male sexual admiration to justify the lost of her husband and his wealth. Blanches harsh reality of her loss has led her to heavily rely on men for closure.
Later on in the play she crosses path with a man named Mitch who is great friends of Stanley. Blanche depends on Mitch for mental support to help her alter her image. Blanche`s hopes to escape poverty by pursuing Mitch while protecting herself from the harsh truth of her situation of Blache’s self-image and sanity. Stanley later acknowledges her insecurities and takes full advantage of Blanche`s sexually esteem by forcefully raping her causing her to be forced into an asylum. This event creates seldom for Blanche leading her to regret her use of relying on men for happiness.
A Raisin In the Sun clothing takes place in the 1950s that gives the viewer a clear spectacle of men and women`s choice of clothing and gender roles. Walter the husband of Ruth Youngers struggle living in a prime poverty neighborhood of Chicago give the spectacle element of clothing of the Youngers. Walter and the majority of men in the film all wear formal attire giving the audience an impression of the working class of men in the 1950s. Women all wore unrevealing long laced white dresses. During this time in society women’s right was beginning to develop. Women predominantly handled all household duties such as laundry, cooking, and taking care of the children.
In A Streetcar Named Desire, their clothing shows the class which socio-economic which implies to the characters for instances stanley wears a blue denim while Blache wears a prim white suit which refers to worker that doesn’t do hard labor such as someone who wears blue denim like Stanley. This is valuable point because in the play, Stanley and Blanche have drama between them because for someone who wears “white collar” they are seen as educated and proper. In Blanche’s case she has seen as a social pariah with male suitors, but it comes to Stanley who wears “ blue collar” he is seen as labor worker. In the beginning of the play, Blanche comes in wearing a white dress, pearl earrings and necklace, and white hat and gloves, which she instantly comes off as someone who has a high social status and expected to act as a proper citizen. Where Stanley wears a solid colored shirt which gives the audience a bold feeling when he’s wearing a simple look, which tells the viewers that Stanley has bold straightforward personality. Later in the play Stanley wears dirty clothing when he was working, which shows as rough and unrefined unlike Blanche who is more refined than him.
The Youngers family struggle financially and are in a constant battle with providing support to their daughter Beneatha college career in becoming a nurse. The Youngers speech element reveals distress due to all the financial responsibilities the Youngers are faced with. Grandmother Mama is under a lot of pressure with the entire Younger family due to $10,000 life insurance check she is receiving at the end of the month. The tension with in the Youngers family relates to Blanche`s struggle in the play A Streetcar Named Desire. Blanche desire to depend on men for closure forms a bond of spectacle elements between both plays by giving the viewer a sense of dependability of others to guide each other to happiness.
Though in both plays, A Streetcar Named Desire and A Raisin in the Sun have similar situations that both families try to overcome such as poverty. Spectacle and music elements give the viewer a clear understanding of the battle of poverty in two different forms. The emotions both films express give a visual representation of the outcomes of living in poverty, and the risks people make to overcome this constant burden. The clothing elaborates on the race and social status that both families has in society. A Streetcar Named Desire demonstrates these elements in a play type setting which expresses drastic emotional acting. This play gives the viewer more of a spectacle feeling. A Raisin In the Sun expresses these elements in more of a speech element by giving the viewer a reality based impression. Both films demonstrate elements that are relatable to today’s society of living in poverty.
- RBPlugin. “A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).” FFilms.org, 8 Aug. 2012, ffilms.org/a-streetcar-named-desire-1951/. Accessed 22 May 2019.
- Video.search.yahoo. “A Raisin in the Sun (2008).” FFilms.org, 30 Dec. 2017, ffilms.org/a-raisin-in-the-sun-2008/.