Classics English Literature

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

The play, “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry was ahead of time where it illustrated the subjugation that people experienced despite the fact that steps had been taken in the acquisition of civil rights. In the narration of the story, Hansberry shares the story with her husband. This is because from the tale, it is found-out that Hansberry tells her husband that she intended to write a story about blacks, which she referred to good artistic work. In her play, she utilized characters that made the play sound realistic. Her play is centered on her characters where they intent to run away from their given surroundings if given the chance (Hansberry, 1984). It is with her characters that the family relationships between Lena and her family are brought out.

In the play, the reader can sense the love that the author has for her family and the urge that she has for the good of her children. This is where Lena is caught saying that Travis should not lie on the couch and in another instance, she wishes the best for her daughter when she says that Beneatha should be a doctor. The author is brought out as a dreamer whose dreams never come true. Beneatha, on the other hand is not comfortable with her mother’s and her brother’s conventional marriage. Lena and her mother have a close relationship and this is illustrated when Beneatha introduces Asagai to her mother. Lena and Beneatha do not agree in so many issues for she has embraced the American culture whereas her mother is still holding on to the African culture. It is evident from the play that Beneatha has embraced the American culture from the way she wears her hairstyle. This is emphasized by her boyfriend Asagai when he says her hair is straightened just like that of the Americans. He adds that Beneatha has been assimilated to the American culture.

Despite the love that Lena has for her children, she does not want them to adopt the American way of life. Her love is depicted in the way she treats her children. After her daughter Beneatha introduced Asagai to her mother, the treatment that he receives is equivalent to that of her own son. The treatment that she extends to Asagai who is Beneatha’s boyfriend shows the love that she has for her daughter. There is tension between Walter and her mother. This is because of Walter’s love for money. Despite the fact that her mother extended her love to the family to the extent of involving them to their father’s death compensation, Walter does not respect her mother for this. Instead, he enters into an argument with her mother over the cheque forgetting that it was meant for her mother and not for him (Hansberry, 2009). Walter is brought out as a person who does not care about anything else other than money. This is depicted in the play where after Travis brought the cheque to her grandmother, Walter is pre-occupied by the cheque to an extent that he forgot about his wife’s health condition.

The relationship between Lena and her son is sore and this is because she is worried about her son’s obsession for money. Lena loves her son so much but is responsible for the conflicts that arise between him and his wife. This is because Walter cares about money and does not care about his wife. From the play, Walter narrates to her mother about the money that was possessed by the whites but the moment that her mother mentioned his wife’s pregnancy. Walter was speechless when her mother told her that she was planning to have an abortion. Lena’s love for her son is illustrated in the story where he transfers her power to Walter by giving him money to make the down payment for his house (Snodgrass, 1993). Lena wants the best for her children in their future lives. This is depicted in the story where she wishes that Beneatha should be a doctor in future. Regardless of the tensions that exist between Walter and her mother, she hopes that he gets the best in life. This is evident in the story when she makes a down payment for her son’s house so that he could live in with his wife Ruth. This shows the love that she has for her family.

There are several instances of conflict in the story. In the first scene, tension arises between Lena and her son Walter. This was after Travis brought the cheque for Lena’s husband death compensation. Walter and his mother enter into an argument when he insists that they should start up a business forgetting that it was his mother’s money but not his. It is during their argument that Walter’s character is brought out. It is from the story, that Walter is depicted as a person who loves money more than the love he has for his wife Ruth. When Travis brought the cheque home, Walter’s mind was pre-occupied to the extent that he forgot about his wife’s health. The other incidence where conflict was brought out was the argument between Walter and her mother in the second scene.

This is where her mother is not interested in the stories that he is trying to tell her about the wealth of the Americans and what she cares about is Ruth’s pregnancy. She confronts Walter about his love for money to an extent that he does not care about his wife’s decision to terminate her pregnancy. Conflict arises towards the end of the story when Bobo informs Walter about the insurance money that he had invested in the liquor store. Walter was hit by a surprise after he realized that he was deceived. He was flabbergasted for he had not paid his sister’s school fees in her medical school. This was worsened once he told his family on what had happened to the insurance money (Hansberry, 2002). The whole family is hurt by Walter’s news with Beneatha finding out that there was money to pay for her school fees and Lena was devastated by the fact that she had lost the money that her husband had toiled for in such a long time.

In the last scene, it is illustrated in the play that every one had lost hope apart from Walters’s wife Ruth. The problems that were encountered by Lena’s family were later resolved but at a price. This is because Walter has to die so that the family can get an insurance compensation of $10,000, which was more than his father’s compensation of $6,500. It was after the compensation that each person’s dream was fulfilled. This is where Beneatha was to accomplish her dream by joining the medical school and Lena was to get her own home. Walter’s dream was achieved for there was enough money to establish his liquor store. In the play, Lena says that there was always something left to love. This illustrated that in spite of Walter losing his father’s insurance compensation money that shattered the dreams of all the member of the family. Their dreams came true after Walter Sr. was compensated $10 000 (Hansberry, 2009). Each person’s wish came true where Walter started up his liquor store, Beneatha joined her medical school and Lena was able to get her dream home.

In conclusion, it can be drawn that Hansberry utilized her characters properly in the development of the plot. The theme of the play was racism, which took place during the colonial era. Lena in the play was depicted, as a traditionalist who did no want to let go of her cultural believes. Her daughter Beneatha had embraced the American culture where in the story, she wears the American hairstyles and she is civilized to an extent where she wants to join a medical school. The same case applies to her brother Walter, who is willing to establish a liquor store just as the Americans did. The play shows how the Africans were influenced by the American popular culture forgetting about their cultural beliefs. The characters in the play want to live the American dream. This is because Lena wants to achieve her goal by owning her own home, Beneatha’s dream is to join a medical school and Walter wants to accomplish his goal by establishing a liquor store.

 

 

Works Cited:

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun Study Guide. Gradesaver, 2009. Print.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York, NY: The Modern Library, 1995. Print.

Hansberry, Lorraine. Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Jamaica, NY: S. French, 1984.

Print.

Hansberry, Lorraine. Sparknotes a Raisin in the Sun. Jamaica, NY: Sparknotes, 2002. Print.

Snodgrass, Mary. A Raisin in the Sun: Lorraine Hansberry. Greensboro, NC: Perma-Bound, 1993. Print.

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