Title: A Raisin in the Sun
Setting: Chicago’s South Side sometime between World War II and the 1950s.
More specifically, the play centers on the five living relatives of the Younger family after the death of the father – “Big Walter Lee” Younger. The location in which the entirety of the drama unfolds is in the Younger’s compact, but increasingly uncom-fortable two-bedroom apartment (although in the 1961 screenplay some scenes took place in other settings). The situation they are in is compounded by the fact that the only bathroom available is also shared by all the other tenants in the building.
The atmosphere of the play presents many different conflicts faced by a single family which are symbolic of the situations dealt with by African-Americans as a whole during that era, including inter-related issues such as racial indifference and oppression, economic disadvantages and just an overall sense of low self-esteem & hopelessness nurtured by continual let-downs.
In the end, I believe the setting is best described by the self-explanatory poem cited at the beginning of the dramatic piece: “A Dream Deferred”.
Characters: “Big” Walter Lee Younger George Murchinson
Walter Lee Younger Joseph Asagai
Ruth Younger Karl Lindner
Travis Younger Bobo
Lena “Mama” Younger Willie Harris
Beneathea “Bennie” Younger Mrs. (Wilhelmina
The Moving Men Othella) Johnson
Problems: “Big” Walter Lee Younger has died directly prior to the opening scene of the play. He has left his family $10,000 of insurance money, which was provided by the insurance co. after his death, to use as needed; but the family is divided on how they should spend it. Conflicts arise because of the dissimilar goals and mindsets of different members of the family; this causes a rift in the family that has already been started by previous adverse living conditions.
As shown throughout the performance and ultimately at the climax, there are issues surrounding money and the things it provides, combined with the extreme value - even to the point of obsession - placed upon it by certain members above family unit ties and loving relationships. These disquieting pressures threaten to tear the family apart, namely in the form of one who feels this pressure the most: Walter Lee Younger, the son of...