Dreams Are Powerful Things In Literature Works

1934 words - 8 pages

“What happens to a dream deferred?” This provocative question is posed by Langston Hughes in his poem, A Dream Deferred. The preceding quote was the basis for the profound play, A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry. In the play, there are many themes, all of which are important. However, none is so essential, and often as passed over, as dreams. Especially during the era in which the piece was written, for a black man to pursue a dream was signing his name to hardship and ridicule. Attaining a dream was rarer yet. It could be reasonably argued that no paradigm holds as much sway on a person’s thoughts and actions – life, even – as aspirations and dreams do. Hence, understanding this novel is vitally important. Using a historical lens, one can conclude that within the novel A Raisin in the Sun race and stereotypes in correlation with dreams are themes powerfully affected by the times and history of the characters and author, Lorraine Hansberry.
Using a historical lens, A Raisin in the Sun portrays the life of average black Americans in the 1950s and explores how their race, an unchangeable feature of their existence, inhibits them from realizing their dreams. Racism was a substantial factor in the lives of African-Americans in the 1950s, yet many breakthroughs were made during this decade. There was one person in particular who spurred on the Civil Rights movement: Rosa Parks. Parks was a seamstress on her way home from work on December 1, 1955. That day she took a seat at the front of the bus. A white person then came on, and seeing no empty seats, the bus driver commanded her to stand. As the law in Alabama stated, she was obligated to give up her seat and stand, but she refused. She was eventually arrested, but hers was on of the first considerable stands against racism to be recognized by American society. By November 13, 1956, the Supreme Court had ruled bus segregation to be illegal in Alabama. In the play, the Younger family and Parks share something in common – they both are denied something they lawfully deserve. Lindner, the white, male character elected to speak to them, pleads that “[he wants them] to believe [him] when [he tells them] that race prejudice simply doesn’t enter into it is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or wrongly, as [he says], that for the happiness of all concerned that [their] Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities.”(Hansberry, 2.3.65). In simpler terms, the whites didn’t want the Younger family moving into their neighborhood, based on the aversion that whites had to blacks in the 1950s. Earlier in the play, Walter expresses a jealousy of whites – a logical reaction to the treatment that he and other blacks received. On page 74, he has a moment of honesty, and relays to Mama, his actual mother and solid rock, how he is feeling. “WALTER Mama – sometimes when I’m downtown and I pass them cool-quiet-looking restaurants where them white boys are...

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