Raisin In The Sun Themes Essay, Research Paper
Important themes in A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun examines an African-American s family struggle to break out of the themes of poverty, dreams, racism, society, and various social themes that they are faced with. Lorraine Hansberry analyzes how race prejudice and economic insecurity affect a black mans role in his own family, his ability to provide, and his identity.
One of the major themes in this play is dreams and dreams deferred. When the Younger family receives the ten thousand dollar check in the mail, each member of the family has a different opinion on how it should be spent. This money comes from Mama s husband who passed away a few years ago. Everybody wanted the money for themselves and nobody else. Their dreams become dried up like a raisin in the sun. Not just dreams are dried up though; Walter Lee and Ruth s marriage become dried up also. The money would let Ruth and Mama fulfill the dream of owning their own house, and Walter would use the money to pursue the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Beneatha has a dream to finish medical school to become a doctor, so she can cure people of what ails them. Emotionally, the stress from not having their dreams realized has left them despising each other.
As well as dreams and dreams deferred, Lorraine Hansberry also talks about racism. The Younger family gets a first hand experience with prejudice when Mr. Linder greets them saying he is the welcoming committee from Clybourne Park (p.894). Linder is there to offer the family almost double the amount of money they paid for their new house so they can maintain their all white neighborhood. When Walter Lee first hears this offer he wants to take it, but having too much pride in his heritage, Walter decides to continue moving into the house.
Another theme that evolves in this play is poverty. The poverty they experience is noticeable in their living arrangements. In the very beginning of the play, we see how a family of five shares a one bedroom, rundown apartment, on Chicago s south side, which is similar to the Wingfield s living conditions in The Glass Menagerie. In addition, the Youngers only had use of a communal restroom that they shared with the other tenants. Up until Big Walter passed away, the family did not have the assets to pursue Mama s dream of moving out of their neighborhood. Therefore, Mama decides to act out on that dream and bought a house in a pleasant neighborhood. Just when the Youngers begin to feel like there is still hope for a comfortable financial lifestyle, they find out that Walters friend Willy ran off with their money. Once again, the Youngers were back to their poverty stricken life.
This play shows how troublesome it is to prosper in society. I believe that Asagai is the only person in the play who does not find it difficult to do this. He is the only character that knows where he is going in life, and he does not worry about money, status or society. Walter and George will continue to be affected by the mainstream, while trying to be something they are not. Hansberry illustrates how the American dream can easily become the American reality.
Another theme that is brought up in A Raisin in the Sun is abortion. During the time in which the play was written, abortion was a fairly new issue. Having an abortion is something that most people would consider immoral, but Mama explains, when the world gets ugly enough a woman will do anything for her family (p.875). Ruth figures; the family is already starting to split apart, and having another baby is just going to make things worse. Fortunately, the Younger family seems to pull back together once they realize how greedy they have been.
In order for a play to be more interesting, you must add interesting topics or themes that will keep the readers fascinated. Lorraine Hansberry does an excellent job of keeping this play attention grabbing. She stresses the importance of the many themes such as dreams deferred, dealing with racism, surviving in society, and making important decisions such as poverty and abortion. A Raisin in the Sun shows us how a family can overcome all that is bad for all that is good.