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American Dream Essay

992 words - 4 pages

In the 1950’s racial discrimination was still quite common. Many African Americans were forced to live under the notion that all men were created separate but equal. This idea seemed to delay any prospect to the American dream. In many cases blacks were denied certain jobs and incomes of the white upper class. This made nearly every aspect of the American dream impossible for many African Americans. “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry creates a clear depiction of Lena, Walter and Beneatha Younger’s personal aspirations in response to the American dream. Through the application of vivid dialogue Hansberry depicts the desires of an African American family given the opportunity to make their dreams a reality. Although each of the Younger’s goals of prosperity are assumed to be life beyond poverty their priority to themselves or others determines the genuineness and of their dream.
The drama takes place on the Southside of Chicago during the 1950’s. The main characters consist of a working-class African American family living in an inadequate living arrangement. Out of six generations four live under the same cramped roof. The matriarch of the family is Lena Younger who is still grieving the loss of her husband Mr. Walter Younger. Her daughter Beneatha, son Walter Younger, his wife Ruth and son Travis all reside with her in the tiny apartment. The entire structure of the play surrounds the fact that an insurance check for ten thousand dollars is to be expected on behalf of the death of Mr. Younger. To the Younger family this check is a ticket for a new life. Although the check is entitled for Lena it’s as though each character’s dream for the future is embodied in this single slip of paper.
Lena Younger’s American dream had always consisted of an opportunity for a better life. She and Mr. Younger often dreamed to raise their children in a safe suitable environment. Initially she and Mr. Younger “was going to set away, little by little, and buy a little place out in Morgan Park” (Hansberry, 351). Lena and Mr. Younger had always wanted the best for their children even when they knew they couldn’t provide it. With the opportunity to accomplish their past ambitions Lean is determined to make the most of her husband’s legacy. By utilizing the ten thousand dollars she decides that “some of it got to go to be put away for Beneatha and her schoolin’” (Hansberry, 350). She also concludes that “maybe we could meet the notes on a little old two-story somewhere, with a yard for Travis could play in” (Hansberry, 350). It is clear that her idea of success is measured by the comfort and happiness of her family as well as the importance of education. Although her dreams are clear they go no further than providing a home for her children. Here she seeks the simple but eloquent pleasures of prosperity in hopes that her...

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