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Dreams Deferred Essay

1491 words - 6 pages

In Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun,” the reader is pulled back in time to an era where segregation was still raging. Named after a line in Langston Hughes poem “A Dream Deferred,” the play focuses on the dreams of the Younger family. Each family member dreams of a better life, otherwise known as the American dream. Although each family member wanted a better life his or her idea of a better life were all different. The matriarch of the family, Mama dreamt of being a homeowner in a better neighborhood and providing for her family. Walter had a dream of owning a liquor store, which would bring in a lot of money. Beneatha on the other hand wanted to go to college to be a doctor. All of these are typical dreams, but the Youngers have the additional problem of being black in a time period that made their dreams harder to achieve. Lorrain Hansberry illustrates the many obstacles the Younger family has to jump in order to make their dreams “dreams deferred.”
Both Mama and Walter shared the desire to provide for their family, and saw money as a way to make them successful. When the family’s patriarch passes away the family is rewarded with a 10,000-dollar insurance check. Mama sees the check as a chance to get her family out of their cramped apartment into a house of their own. Conversely, Walter becomes fixated on opening his own Liquor store, which he saw as a way to receive a better income to provide for his family. In scene one, Walters son Travis asks his parents for fifty-cents and his mother Ruth tells him they don’t have it. Walter most likely feeling sorry gives his son money anyway saying, “in fact, here’s another fifty cents… Buy yourself some fruit today- or take a taxicab to school or something! (p. 450)” Later in the scene it was revealed that Walter gave Travis the last of his money and was then forced to ask his mom for “some money for carfare. (454)” Walter most likely has had other moments similar to this in the past and doesn’t want his young son to have to worry about money, and yearns for better for his son. Later in the play Walter asks his son “What kind of man you going to be when you grow up, (489)” Walter was disappointed when his son answered bus driver telling him “it aint big enough.” Travis then tells his father “I cant make up my mind. Sometimes Mama asks me that too. And sometimes when I tell her I just want to be like you- she says she don’t want me to be like that and sometimes she says she does…(490)” Walter believes his financial situation will change if he opens his own business and he will be a better role model for his son.
When the insurance money arrives, Mama takes out 3,500-dollars to buy a house in Clybourne Park, and put aside some money for Beneatha’s medical school. Walter was furious when he heard what his mother did with the money, and found it unfair that Beneatha got some for medical school and he didn’t receive any. Mama was a devout Christian and didn’t like the idea of drinking;...

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