This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

“A Proud Acting Bunch”: The Issues Of Suburbanization And Class Stratification In “A Raisin In The Sun”

1418 words - 6 pages

America experienced an explosive period of suburbanization after World War II. The suburban “home represented a source of meaning and security” (May 24) to those seeking refuge and comfort after a tumultuous time of war. Among those migrating from the cities to the suburbs were middle-class African Americans, who sought a suburban life that both “express[ed] and reinforce[d] their newly won social position.” (Wiese 101) However, this middle-class migration from urban areas left behind working class African Americans such as the Younger family of Lorraine Hansberry’s 1959 play “A Raisin in the Sun.” While the Younger family of “A Raisin in the Sun” finally realize the suburban dream of a home with “three bedrooms… and a nice big basement” (Hansberry 92), the decision to move from urban Southside Chicago is not encouraged by the other African Americans of the play; rather, the Younger family is met with disrespect and derision. Hansberry uses the characters of George Murchison and Mrs. Johnson to illustrate class stratification amongst African Americans during the post-war period. The scenes with these particular characters highlight the class conflict that occurred within the African American community throughout this period of suburbanization.

Before seeing how class differences play an important role in “A Raisin in the Sun,” one must examine the location in which the play takes place. Hansberry defines the play’s setting as “Chicago’s Southside, sometime between World War II and the present.” (Hansberry 22) The play was written in 1959, prior to the civil rights movement in America. Even so, this post-war timeframe “exemplified a new wave of black suburbanization” (Wiese 100). As more African Americans made the transition from blue-collar labor into better paying white-collar jobs, the demand for suburban housing increased. However, this movement of middle class African Americans from urban housing to suburban homes “reinforced patterns of class stratification among African Americans themselves.” (Wiese 101) Working class African Americans were oftentimes unable to afford the suburban lifestyle. This particular group found themselves left behind in inner-city housing, as middle class African Americans moved further away for the suburbs. For this growing middle class, “physical separation from poor and working-class blacks was an important emblem of class status.” (Wiese 116) This reinforcement of class differences implied which “rights that each group should enjoy.” (Wiese 118) Lorraine Hansberry illustrates these supposed “rights” and class conflicts through the characters of the middle class George Murchison and the working class Mrs. Johnson.

Hansberry uses the character of George Murchison to emphasize the growing gap between middle and working class African Americans during the post-war period of suburbanization. Before George Murchison appears in the play, he is described by Beneatha Younger as “so shallow” (Hansberry 48). His...

Find Another Essay On “A Proud-Acting Bunch”: The Issues of Suburbanization and Class Stratification in “A Raisin in the Sun”

a raisin in the sun Essay

1215 words - 5 pages way as if you left a raisin in the sun. His dream just keeps getting postponed. The Raisin relates to a dream, such as it the poem by Langston Hughes. After looking at this poem and thoroughly reading the story, this seems to be the significance I can pull from this title. This production, A Raisin in the Sun, is a drama. As soon as the drama starts it never seems to stop, between Ruth discovering she is pregnant, to Willy leaving with all of

A Raisin in the Sun Essay

1611 words - 6 pages War, Warm Hearth.” Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era. By May. New York: BasicBooks, 1988. 16-36. Print. Nemiroff, Robert. Introduction. A Raisin in the Sun. By Lorraine Hansberry. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. 5-14. Print. Wiese, Andrew. “‘The House I Live In’: Race, Class, and African American Suburban Dreams in the Postwar United States.” Ed. Kevin M. Kruse and Thomas J. Sugrue. The New Suburban History. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2006. 99-119. Print.

A Raisin in the Sun

1157 words - 5 pages The movie “A Raisin in the Sun” is undoubtedly a cinema classic and a work of art worthy of unhindered praise. Not only is it a masterpiece for its entertainment purposes, but the movie’s ability to draw attention to the socio economic disadvantage the many black families faced at the time. Both the historical context of these afflictions and the discriminatory practices are demonstrated throughout the film. “A Raisin in the Sun” vividly

A Raisin in the Sun

1732 words - 7 pages "A Raisin in the Sun" is set at in an area where racism was still occurring. Blacks were no longer separated but they were still facing many racial problems. The black Younger family faced these problems throughout the play. The entire family was affected in their own way. The family has big dreams and hope to make more of their poor lives. Walter, the main character, is forced to deal with most of the issues himself. Ruth, his wife, and Travis

“A Raisin In The Sun”

603 words - 2 pages "A Raisin in the Sun" In Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun," the Younger family faces numerous situations and dilemmas that obstruct their path to a better life and future. They struggle in obtaining money, finding their identity, and dealing with a prejudice society. Though, these conflicts only increase their pride, esteem and dignity throughout the drama.A place of poverty and poor communities""this is the south side Chicago where the

A Raisin In The Sun

640 words - 3 pages A Raisin in the Sun Through the course of life, all have dreams, but not all accomplish those dreams at their desired time. In Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, the Youngers' dreams were delayed due to a capricious disaster. Lena Younger, also known as Mama, received a check for ten thousand dollars because of Mr. Younger's death. When Willy Harris ran off with the money, they were devastated as if a spear pierced through their hearts

A Raisin In THe Sun

1048 words - 4 pages "A Raisin In The Sun" Essay "A Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry in many ways is related to a poem by Langston Hughes called "A Dream Deferred". The poem and play are alike in many ways; the dreams of the family members begin to control their lives. The dreams must be kept alive to keep faith in the house, and some of the family's dreams have to be put off in order for them to continue on with life. "A Dream Deferred" is about the thought

Analysis of A Raisin in the Sun

1257 words - 5 pages "A Raisin in the Sun" Analysis Upon walking out of Krannert's production of "A Raisin in the Sun," an eerie silence drizzled about the audience as people murmured and slowly shuffled towards the exits. After witnessing such a powerful yet melancholy piece of theater work, words seemed inappropriate. For three hours, "A Raisin in the Sun" encompassed us with racial, economic, and social issues of the 1950s. Swirling portions of humor, disgrace

A Raisin in the Sun - 721 words

721 words - 3 pages In A Raisin In the Sun Lorraine Hansberry uses everyday objects-a plant, money, and a home to symbolize a family's struggle to deal with racism and oppression in their everyday lives, as well as to exemplify their dreams. She begins with a vivid description of the family's weary, small, and dark apartment in Chicago's ghetto Southside during the 1950s. The Youngers are an indigent African-American family who has few choices in their white

“A Raisin in the Sun”

913 words - 4 pages Lorraine Hansberry used symbolism in her successful drama, “A Raisin in the Sun” to portray emotions felt in the lives of her characters and possible her own. Hansberry set her piece in Chicago’s South Side, probably the early 1950’s. During this period in history, many African-Americans, like the Youngers, struggled to overcome the well-known prejudices that were far too familiar. The main scene, in this touching realist drama, is the home

" A Raisin in the Sun"

819 words - 4 pages In the realist drama, “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry uses symbolism to express and intensify the emotions felt by the Younger family and possible herself. Hansberry set the piece in Chicago’s South Side, probably around the early 1950’s. During this period in history, many African-Americans, like Hansberry and the Youngers, struggled to overcome the well-known prejudices that were far too familiar. The main scene, in this touching

Similar Essays

A Raisin In The Sun Essay

648 words - 3 pages A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is a dramatic play written in 1959. The play is about an African American family that lives in the Chicago South Side in the 1950’s. Hansberry shows the struggles and difficulties that the family encounters due to discrimination. Inspired by her personal experience with discrimination, she uses the characters of the play, A Raisin In The Sun, to show how this issue affects families. Hansberry

A Raisin In The Sun Essay 1331 Words

1331 words - 6 pages going to the same school or using the same bathroom had been rather impossible. Chief Justice Earl Warren desegregated schools in May of 1954. Throughout the play A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry blisters the discriminatory conditions of America in the 1950s and early 60s. The play is set in an incommodious apartment in poverty stricken Chicago. Lorraine Hansberry shows that in addition to the issues of race and gender, the Youngers

A Raisin In The Sun Essay 1899 Words

1899 words - 8 pages A Raisin in the Sun Creativity of Hansberry played a crucial role in the development of African-American drama since the Second World War. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play by African-American author which was set on Broadway and was honored by the circle of New York theater critics. Drama of A Raisin in the Sun (1959) brought Hansberry to the Award Society of New York Critics as the best play of the year. A Raisin in the Sun shows the

A Raisin In The Sun Essay

1682 words - 7 pages because he has done the right thing and stops acting selfishly, instead of putting his loved ones first.A Raisin in the Sun is the story of Walter Lee Younger, a man who is driven by a dream but feels that he is being misunderstood by those who love him. Walter's inability to take on responsibility disrupts the stability of the family and causes Walter to become distant. His increasing distance is due to his own selfishness and greed. As time