Themes Of A Raisin In The Sun

Essay, Research Paper

One major theme of the play, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, is the importance of dreams; they drive each member of the Younger family. Mama longs to have her own home in a nice part of town, away from South Chicago. Beneatha dreams of getting a good education, becoming a doctor, and marrying a nice man. Walter wants to have a successful business so that he can rise above the poverty he has always known.

Walter Younger resents his impoverished life and fears that it will result in nothing significant. Walter dreams of someday becoming wealthy and creating a better life for his son, Travis, that his father could never provide. He sees the opening of a liquor store as a way to get rich quick and convinces Mama to give him some of the insurance money for his business venture. He dreams of the day when he will make enough from his business to move the family out of the black Chicago ghetto in which they have always lived. His dreams are deferred when Willy runs away with the insurance money. Walter is like many people that think that they cannot achieve what they dream because of a set-back that has come their way.

Like Walter, Mama longs to leave the life of her rat-hole behind. When she receives the insurance check, she decides that she will use a portion of it to make a down payment on a home. She was brave enough to select one in an all-white neighborhood, even though she knew that the neighbors would discriminate against them. Mr. Linder tries to tell the Younger s that it wouldn t be wise to move to an all-white neighborhood. Since Walter s money was stolen he thinks that Mr. Linder s offer to buy the house is a good one. Her dreaming of owning the home seems to be put off, by Walter s willingness to sell the house.

Beneatha has her own dreams to break out of the black pattern of poverty. She is studying at a local college so she can become a doctor. When Walter loses her portion of the insurance money, she is certain that her dreams are crushed. Asagai convinces her that she can still pursue a medical education on her own merit and then become a doctor in Nigeria. Asagai represents the people that are encouraging to others when they think that what they dream of can never occur. He is the kind of person that helps one achieve their dreams.

At the end of the play, Hansberry proves that dreams really can come true. Despite setbacks, the Younger family did ultimately achieve a major dream. Even though Walter’s business deal falls through and Willy steals the insurance money, Walter comes into his manhood. By standing up to Lindner and telling him that the Youngers will keep their house in Clybourne Park Walter becomes the man his mother wants him to be. Mama is ecstatic that her dream of a nice place for her family is coming true. Finally, Beneatha is delighted that Asagai has asked her to be his wife and is willing to help her on her way to fulfilling her dream of being a doctor. In a sense, they all achieve their dream of breaking out of the poverty of the ghetto by moving into the new house.


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