Everyone has their own definition of an American Dream. Some people think the American Dream involves wealth and fame, while others refer to it as happiness and freedom. Lorriane Hansberry proves that the American Dream is obtainable for everyone. In, A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry explains the American Dream with distinctive characters, a well-rounded theme, and specific symbols.
Hansberry uses unique characters to describe the American Dream. Every character has a different view on the American Dream. The most nurturing character in the play is Lena “Mama” Younger. Mama is a strong-minded determined woman. Hansberry says, “She has, we can see, wit and faith of a kind that keep her eyes ...view middle of the document...
Hansberry shows the struggles Beneatha has to face in the American culture with her sex and major choice in college.
Walter Lee is the son of Lena Younger. Walker is determined to become very wealthy and he will “have nothing less than the complete American dream” (Washington 114). He wants to use his father’s insurance money to open a liquor store. He thinks that becoming wealthy will give him some sort of escape from his daily routine in his life. This causes many problems between Mama, Beneatha, and his wife, Ruth. Far from being a great listener, Walter does not realize he must listen to his family’s concerns to help them out with their problems. Towards the end of the play, he realizes he can not help his family out alone. He finally becomes a man and stands up to Mr. Lindner. He refuses the money Mr. Lindner offers his family to not move into the new neighborhood. Therefore, Walter’s American dream is no longer to become wealthy, but to become a man and help his family out.
The last key character is Ruth Younger. Ruth is the wife of Walter Lee. She is an extremely attractive woman who is hard working and family oriented. Although she might seem happy, she is disappointed in her life. Her marriage has problems, but she hopes that they can rekindle their love. With her family constantly fighting troubles and poverty, her American dream is to get a better life for herself and her family.
Hansberry produces a well-rounded theme to show the struggles of achieving the American dream. The family lives in a younger apartment that only has two bedrooms with one window. “Weariness has, in fact, won in this room” (Hansberry 1128). All the items in their apartment have been worn down from being sat on, washed or scrubbed too often. There are cockroaches in their apartment and cracks all in the walls. The only light the family can receive is from the little small window in the kitchen. Ruth refers to the apartment as a “rat-trap” (A Raisin). Hansberry uses these descriptions to show the poverty the family is going through and trying to escape.
The apartment is not the only example Hansberry uses to describe the theme. The American dream also resembles the theme in the play. Each character has their own American dream they are fighting for. A character that fights for the “complete American dream” is Walter. (Alder). Walter is determined to become wealthy and pursue his mother into letting him have his father’s insurance check to buy a liquor store. Throughout most of the play, he sticks with becoming wealthy until he has to choose between his happiness or his family’s happiness. Walter becomes a man and choose his family’s happiness over his own. Walter’s...