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Dreams Deferred In Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun

930 words - 4 pages

     Lorraine Hansberry, the author of A Raisin in the Sun, supports the theme of her play from a montage of, A Dream Deferred, by Langston Hughes. Hughes asks, “What happens to a dream deferred?” He suggests many alternatives to answering the question. That it might “dry up like a raisin in the sun,” or “fester like a sore.” Yet the play maybe more closely related to Hughes final question of the poem, “Or does it explode?” The play is full of bombs that are explosions of emotion set off by the frustration of the Younger family, who are unable to grasp the possible reality of their dreams. The family shares the dream of having a better life but compete against each other for the insurance money given to Mama after her husband’s death. The son of Mama, Walter, dreams of being a rich black man by investing the money in a liquor store. His sister, Beneatha, wants to use the money to finish school, so she can pursue her life as a doctor. Mama would rather use the money to buy a home and leave their run down house in the ghetto. Their frustration is obtained from their dreams being deferred and the emotions burst like an exploding time bomb.

     Walter is a struggling father. He wishes for only the best in his family. He dislikes being a chauffeur because he feels as if he is a servant in a century of freedom. The only thing keeping him together is his dream of the riches he will amount to once the insurance money comes. Once the check comes, he can only think of investing the money into a liquor store:

WALTER: You wouldn't understand yet, son, but your daddy's gonna make a transaction…a business transaction that's going to change our lives … That's how come one day when you 'bout seventeen years old I'll come home … I'll pull the car up on the driveway…just a plain black Chrysler, I think, with white walls—no—black tires … the gardener will be clipping away at the hedges and he'll say, "Good evening, Mr. Younger." And I'll say, "Hello, Jefferson, how are you this evening (II.ii pg. 109)?"

However, his family is not to keen on the idea of investing the money in a liquor store and Walter cannot fathom why. His frustration builds and he eventually releases it against his family: “Walter: Who the hell told you, you had to be a doctor. If you so crazy ‘bout messing ‘round with sick people; then go be a nurse like other women; or just get married and be quiet (I.i pg. 38).”

     Beneatha is an intellectual. Twenty years old, she attends college and is better educated than the rest of the Younger family. Some of her personal beliefs and...

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