Ever since her rise to fame, Lorraine Hansberry has opened the eyes of many and showed that there is a problem among the American people. Through her own life experiences in the twentieth-century, she has written what she knows and brought forth the issue that there is racial segregation, and it will not be ignored. Her most popular work, A Raisin in the Sun, not only brought African Americans to the theater, but has given many of them hope (Mays 1461). Within this work, we find a “truthful depiction of the sorts of lives lived by many ordinary African Americans in the late 1950s” (Mays 1462). Though there is realism within her work, the idealism is never far away at all. Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun allows one to see that progress is made through an idealistic view of the world and that hope is the root of many changes people search for in life.
It was not uncommon for African Americans to have a realistic view on the world during the beginning of the 1900s. Segregation played a major role in shaping the century. Many just accepted things the way they were and saw no future change. During the early and mid-twentieth century, African Americans had freedom within reach, but were held back by constant discrimination. Many white Americans believed that African Americans should not have the same rights as them, even after slavery was abolished and African Americans became “free.” “Most colored Americans still are not only outside the mainstream of our society but see no hope of entering it” (Weaver 1551). The Younger seemed very realistic at times because they were one of many African American families struggling to live happily in a time when discrimination was still common. There seemed to be no hope for the Younger family because many white Americans were still not treating them as equals. “Their situation closely resembled that of the 6.5 million African Americans who moved from the rural South to the urban North between 1910 and 1970 as part of the Great Migration” (Mays 1462). Because many African Americans saw no hope of entering the mainstream of society, they had a very realistic view on life. Though there were many with realistic views, many African Americans still had hope.
“By 1960, Chicago’s black population had grown to 813,000—twenty-five percent of the city’s inhabitants. Like Lena Younger and her husband, those migrant millions flew north on the wings of hope—hope for better jobs at higher wages and for greater safety and freedom than they enjoyed in the Jim Crow-era South” (Mays 1462).
In the beginning of A Raisin in the Sun, we are immediately met with realism. We meet Ruth, who seems very realistic at first. She seems to accept things the way they are and thinks that dreaming is a very futile thing. When she speaks with Walter at the beginning, he asks her in a sarcastic way, “How come you always try to be so pleasant!” Her reply is, “What is there to be pleasant ’bout!” (Hansberry...