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Timeless Themes A Raisin In The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry

1610 words - 6 pages

One of the most notable plays on the topic of racial minorities and family issues, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, has continued to be popular since it was written in 1959. The play is about an African American family, consisting of five members, who live in Southside Chicago during the post-World-War-Two era. The Younger family is crowded in a tiny, worn, and shabby apartment and they are fairly poor. They never have much surplus money until Walter’s father, and Mama’s husband, died and the family received a life-insurance check for ten thousand dollars. The play follows the family’s journey through the fights and distress that come from suddenly obtaining a large amount of money and the differing opinions on how the money should be used. A Raisin in the Sun has been popular since its publication for its realistic portrayal of racism and segregation that remained prominent in the post-WWII era; however, it has remained popular with audiences of all races because it contains powerful themes of family confrontations and discrimination.
Lorraine Hansberry does a phenomenal job in depicting not only the realities that occur because a family gets a large sum of money, but also the consequences it can have on the family’s relationship in her play A Raisin in the Sun. The main conflict in A Raisin in the Sun is the skirmish the Younger family partakes in over how to spend the ten thousand dollars. This conflict lends to its continued popularity because it reflects ordinary people’s desire for money and the confrontations that obtaining money often leads to in real life. In the play, almost every member, including Mama, Ruth, and Walter are headstrong in their decisions for how to most effectively spend the money. The family is torn by fights and confrontations because of the widespread discontent over the use of the money. Walter resents Mama because he feels she stole his one opportunity to fulfill his dream of owning a business while Mama and Ruth support the purchase of a house because it will deliver them from the dissatisfaction with their current, congested living situation. After Mama told him she bought a house, Walter says to her, “So you butchered up a dream of mine--you--who always talking ‘bout your children’s dreams” (Hansberry 1465). The theme of receiving a large amount of money has always appealed to people, especially American citizens because of the fabled “American Dream” in which a person can live the life they dreamed of if only they could work hard enough or get enough money to capture that dream. People in present times can relate to the desire for things of monetary value and to improve their own living standards; they can also relate to the torture the family goes through because of the increased importance placed on money. In an article, “Until ‘Debt’ Do Us Part,” Damon Carr observes that 80% of couples that have divorced cite the reason for their divorce as money issues. This article is a prime example of how...

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