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A Raisin In The Sun And Modern American Families

911 words - 4 pages

Many modern families need things; they are hard pressed to make ends meet. Fathers and mothers want to be able to provide a comfortable and privileged life for their children. Just as in real life, Hansberry portrayed the family interactions within the play A Raisin in the Sun with this in mind. The younger family represents any lower-class family in America, not just those of colored descent.
Every family deals with in-laws. Whether far away, or in the same house, in-laws affect a family, even after they have passed. In A Raisin in the Sun, the Younger family live all in the same apartment; the tiny space allows for a myriad of interactions daily between the family members. The parent to child unit of Walter, Ruth, and Travis interacts with Walter’s mom, and Ruth’s mother-in-law, every day. In Act 1, the reader is introduced to Beneatha, Walter’s sister, and sees the tension between Walter and her. “What do you want from me, Brother- that I quit school or just drop dead, which?”(AI SI L1164-1165). Beneatha feels as though Walter doesn’t want her to better herself by going to medical school and becoming a doctor. She feels persecuted and put down by her brother. The tension portrayed betwixt Walter and Beneatha is exemplified in all families- a sibling rivalry to see who can do better is a common theme in American families. This trial between siblings reflects modern though in that it trains children to be competitive workers; this continues into adult society by helping workers to be efficient so that they can compete for jobs in the modern workplace. Competition is a basic fundamental in a capitalistic culture such as American society.
Money is a problem for many modern families. Just as in the end of Act I Scene II, money can become the focus of a family’s life. The provider(s) for the family feels a responsibility to make sure that the rest of their kin is taken care of, often at their own expense mentally and physically. Mama notices this in Walter and asks him about it. “So now its life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life-now its money. I guess the world really do change”(AI SII L2322-2326). Mama sees that Walter’s life has been consumed by the lust for money. He sees it as power, and access to power: the power to not work, the power to live comfortably in a big house, and to provide for those around him. Walter is working and scheming to be able to hold that power in his hands, just as many households are today. Just as Ruth and Walter both work, modern...

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