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Idea Of The "American Dream" In A Raisin In The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry

901 words - 4 pages

Since the 1930's, the idea that a family, a home, opportunity, money and security being available to everyone in the US has been the "American Dream." Unfortunately, in reality this dream isn't really available to everyone, not then and not now. The idea of an "American Dream" is examined throughout Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin in the Sun as the theme of the play surrounds itself around Langston Hughes' poem, "Harlem" where Hughes examines if dreams shrivel and dry up like a "Raisin in the Sun." Throughout the play, all the characters express their own dreams for their lives. The idea of the American dream is analyzed to the point that at the end of the play, although this dream isn't available to everyone because of racial, gender and class discrimination, the most important aspect the Youngers find out of it is the uniting of the family.Every character in the book has their own idea of the American dream. Mama and Ruth dream of owning their own house and getting the family out of their current living situation while Beneatha dreams of getting an education, becoming a doctor and not being dependent on a man for anything. Walter, although he wants to support his family, has his dream of buying a liquor store to raise money for his family. He finds more pride in proving himself successful. Walter, although with a capitalistic way of thinking, sticks to his own dream and come off as a frustrated character throughout the play. He takes out his frustration about not having money on Ruth, "You tired, ain't you?...So tired-moaning and groaning all the time, but you wouldn't do anything to help, would you?" (32). At first his frustration is because of the family's financial situation, but it just grows with Ruth's pregnancy. Eventually, he realizes that his dream of the liquor store isn't feasible when he actually has the insurance money and he deals with its loss. He realizes that money was not the only barrier keeping him from his dream. Walter learns that what everyone else is hoping foe, the home, is the ultimate goal he should also be supporting.Beneatha on the other hand, has the American dream of getting an education. During the time period of the play, not only was it unusual for a woman to go to medical school but also it was even more rare of a black woman. Beneatha faces many obstacles on her way to achieving her dream; she constantly faces discrimination because of her race and class and especially because of her gender. Even with hard work and persistence, she would have a lot more difficult time achieving her dream. For example, for white males to be...

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