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Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun Draws Parallels To Langston Hughes' Harlem

720 words - 3 pages

Everyone wants their dreams to become a reality; however, the unfortunate reality is that more often than not, dreams are not achieved and become deferred. Langston Hughes let this theme ring throughout his poetic masterpiece “Harlem,” in which he posed many questions about what happens to these dreams. In “A Raisin In the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry draws so many indisputable parallels from “Harlem.” Hansberry consistently uses the dreams of Mama Younger, Big Walter, and Walter Lee to allude to Hughes poem. The intensity of the dreams coupled with the selfishness of some characters eventually adds an abundant amount of emotional strain to the family, once again demonstrating Hansberry’s dedication to Hughes poem.
With just one glance at “A Raisin In the Sun”, the reader will notice the undeniable references to “Harlem.” Hansberry’s ties the food references in “Harlem” to major themes dispersed throughout her play. Ruth uses food to prove that she can still take care of her husband; however, Walter Lee refuses her attempts to prove his own independence and strength. Alaiyo, the name Asagai calls Beneatha means “one for whom bread is not enough.” This is yet another food reference, demonstrating how the Younger family refuses to settle for less than what they believe they deserve. Hansberry flawlessly depicts a troubled group of people collectively feeling unable to satisfy their hunger for something more.
If one feels inadequate or like they have failed at something, it typically weighs heavy on their conscious. Mama Younger is no exception to this feeling. When she feels she has failed her family by not taking care of them, it causes a lot of internal turmoil. She externalizes this internal guilt by taking are of a plant. The plant is representation of all the failures she feels she charged to her children. This particular part of Hansberry’s play draws close parallels to a line from Hughe’s poem that says “Maybe it just sags, like a heavy load” refereeing to a deferred dream. Mama Youngers turmoil sagged on her like a heavy load, making her feel uneasy. She feels that moving into this house will not only honor her...

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