A Raisin in the Sun Essay

Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun” was far ahead of its time in both depicting the everyday life of black individuals in a manner that everyone can understand and discuss the injustice that black individuals still felt even though strides had been taken towards civil liberties. According to NPR, Hansberry shared the aims for this play with her hubby. “Hansberry told her spouse she wanted to compose a social drama about blacks that was excellent art. Instead of stereotyped characters that would bear no resemblance to actual people, she developed a situation that was sometimes painfully practical.

The plot revolves around what her characters do offered the opportunity to leave their confined surroundings” (NPR). Much of the material from this play is based upon Hansberry’s own life experiences. They are real characters. The reader can feel Mom’s love for her household and her desire for them to better themselves. Travis needs to not need to sleep on the couch.

Beneatha needs to have the ability to be a physician, however she should take care not to overspeak according to Mother. Beneatha’s aggravation with the “outdated” concepts of her mother and her brother’s conventional marriage are felt.

She is a dreamer and yet the reader wishes to believe with her. Walter’s anger is perfectly justified although it gets him no place, and Ruth’s increasing aggravation with her hubby is also warranted, specifically as they will bring another kid into the world. The reader hopes that Walter’s plan will work despite the fact that he/she understands it never will. In the end, the household triumphs versus complicated odds. They will have to work more difficult than they ever have to keep their home, and they will never suit their community.

They will likely deal with acts of discrimination a lot more noticable, however they do not swallow their pride and submit to the demands of Lindner and their community. Her characters even speak in the dialect of a genuine Chicago neighborhood. She utilizes a non-standard dialect that would only be spoken in black neighborhoods. Making use of the poem of Langston Hughes called “Dream Deferred” makes the subject and characters much more real. It asks the reader to consider what would occur if someone worked all their lives for a dream and was not able to attain it. The poem then gives choices that fit numerous people within the play.

Anybody who reads the play can definitely see the battles of African Americans. Hansberry was deeply dedicated to the fight for civil rights just as her parents had actually been. The battles of the Younger family parallel the battles of African Americans in a time where the discrimination was simply starting to be faced. According to Books and Writers, in 1959 Hansberry had stated in a speech: “The apparent roots of the universal uniformity of the colored peoples of the world are no longer “foreseeable” as they remained in my daddy’s time– they are here.

And I for one, as a black lady in the United States in the mid-Twentieth Century, feel that I am more normal of the present character of my people than not, when I say that I can not allow the devious purposes of white supremacy to lead me to any conclusion other than what might be to many robust and crucial among our time: that the ultimate destiny and goals of the African individuals and twenty million American Negroes are inextricably and magnificently bound up together forever.” (Books and Writers).

This sums up Hansberry’s ideas about the race and shows us how the play handles the supremacy of whites. It is clear that the white characters like Karl Lindner and Walter’s employer are much better off. Even the blacks who offer out in one way or another like George Murchison or Willy Harris remain in much better locations than the Youngers. This family discovers it practically impossible to get ahead as the entire social structure is opposed to them. And while this is a play about the American Negro, it is also one with a universal style.

It is likewise about the failure of the American Dream, which anyone in whenever period can connect to. Composing in Commentary, Gerald Weales explained that “Walter Lee’s trouble … is that he has actually accepted the American misconception of success at its face value, that he is caught, as Willy Loman [in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman] was trapped by an incorrect dream. In planting so native an image at the center of her play, Miss Hansberry has actually come as close as possible to what she intended– a play about Negroes which is not just a Negro play.” (Gale Research Study).

In other words, she has prospered in going over an American Negro household, and yet, making it understandable and relatable to everybody of every race. This was no simple job. This is restated by Critic Harold Clurman, in the Nation, noted that “A Raisin in the Sun is authentic: it is a portrait of the aspirations, anxieties, aspirations, and inconsistent pressures impacting modest Negro fold in an American huge city.” (Wind Research Study). Much of the historic details in this play originates from Lorraine Hansberry’s own life. She matured on the South Side of Chicago, much like in the play.

Hansberry’s parents were activists as well as intellectuals and her daddy was a real estate agent. He violated a covenant law and moved into a white neighborhood. Their white neighbors tried to evict them. Hansberry’s daddy in fact won an antisegregation case that he fought with the help of the NAACP with the Illinois Supreme Court. These events are the occasions on which A Raisin in the Sun was loosely based. When Lorraine was eight, her moms and dads purchased a house in a white community, where they were welcomed one night by a racist mob.

Their experience of discrimination there caused a civil rights case. Her daddy won the case; the Supreme Court declared that the discrimination was unconstitutional. However, absolutely nothing actually happened in reality as a result of winning this case. Hansberry’s household likewise found out about the results of battling the system as they dealt with lots of prejudices and acts of discrimination because of their fight, such as a brick being thrown through their window. Hansberry likewise worked for Liberty, a progressive black paper from 1950 to 1953, which is seen in the play’s emphasis on civil liberties (PAL).

Also according to FRIEND, “In 1963 Lorraine Hansberry ended up being very active in the civil rights movement in the South. She was a field organizer for CORE” (BUDDY). Once again, her emphasis on civil rights in the play comes out of her own beliefs and actions. In the play the topic is covered very completely as the Younger family buys a house in a white neighborhood. Houses in black areas were double the cost, and their dream is to leave the run-down house. In discussing this, Hansberry lays out the discrimination developed into real estate in Chicago and other urban locations.

So, they purchased the house in the white area and are elated, but their elation is short-lived due to the fact that Mr. Lindner appears. The household fights back as he tries to talk them out of moving by stating things like, “I desire you to think me when I inform you that race bias simply does not enter into it. It is a matter of individuals of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or mistakenly, as I say, that for the joy of all concerned that our Negro households are better when they live in their own communities” (Hansberry 2. 3. 65).

He ends with a statement about Linder hoping the family understands what they are getting themselves into. In the end, even after Walter loses the cash, the household decides to move anyhow. They will take extra jobs to ensure that their children have a better life. Hansberry’s interest in Africa started at an early age. According to Books and Writers, in an unfinished, partly autobiographical unique Hansberry wrote: “In her emotions she was sprung from the Southern Zulu and the Central Pygmy, the Eastern Watusi and the treacherous slave-trading Western Ashanti themselves.

She was Kikuyu and Masai, ancient cousins of hers had actually made the elegant created sculpture at Benin, while certainly even more ancient loved ones sat upon the throne at Abu Simbel monitoring the Nile …” (Book and Writers). This love of and interest in Africa is revealed through both Asagai and Beneatha. Beneatha and Asagai show this interest in African pride in a time in America that was well before Africans began taking interest in their roots or going back to Africa.

Asagai is from Africa and has great pride in it; Beneatha is interested in her roots even though she does things like correct her hair, which Asagai says is assimilationist. Asagai even charms her with his pride in his country. For instance, “I will reveal you our mountains and our stars; and give you cool drinks from gourds, and teach you the old tunes and the ways of our individuals” (Hansberry 3. 1. 55). While Walter teases all the African conversation, that is likewise traditionally precise ahead of its time. Many Africans had an interest in their past and wanted to find out about their awful past.

Some, such as Malcolm X, even went so far as to alter their name to show their previous servant status. Others thought the interest was dumb, a part of their past, not their future. Lorraine Hansberry also puts Beneatha forth as a feminist long before females began requiring their rights. The National Company for Women was not formed till the late 1960s. Yet Beneatha is a feminist. When Asagai makes the statement, “For a woman it should suffice”, Beneatha responds, “I know– because that’s what it says in all the novels that guys write. However it isn’t.

Proceed and laugh– but I’m not interested in being somebody’s little episode in America” (Hansberry 1. 2. 114). She wishes to be a physician, and her conviction is so strong that the reader believes her. Hansberry was also a feminist ahead of her time to put these ideas into composing. Although Beneatha seems to “flit” from one thing to another, she is in the procedure of finding her identity. Checking out options and experiencing life is the manner in which she will find herself along with having diverse good friends like Joseph Asagai. Even her name indicates that she thinks whatever is beneath her.

Sometimes annoying, Beneatha is a true feminist before her time. Feminist as anything else is a development in entering into womanhood. For instance, Mother speaks matter-of-factly of her partner’s womanizing ways. She does not condemn him, but appears to accept that womanizing is what guys do. Ruth would not bear with that from Walter although she does defer to him on a variety of occasions. She also has a more gentle method of getting him to come around. Beneatha represents the “brand-new female” or feminist in that she would not endure any of this.

She wants to create her own identity independent of a man. She thinks that individuals should accept her as she is and declined to “be good” as Mom tells her. This play also shows the change in black arts and intellectualism. According to Schmoop, “A Raisin in the Sun is part of more comprehensive shift in black magic towards portraying working-class, normal African-Africans. Formerly, black intellectuals did not utilize literature, art, or the stage to depict working-class African-Americans for fear they would perpetuate undesirable stereotypes.” (Schmoop).

Lorraine Hansberry and Langston Hughes both believed this idea ridiculous. They, in reality, felt the opposite. They felt that they could challenge these stereotypes by blogging about them. Likewise according to Schmoop, “By focusing on the dreams and goals of one particular working-class black family, furthermore, Hansberry had the ability to reveal audiences the universality of black aspirations while also showing that their race presented a considerable barrier to attaining those goals” (Schmoop). That is exactly what Hansberry did. She showed the trials and battles of one household.

The family is black, and a few of the styles only those of color might associate with but others are universal– family love, sibling rivalry, desiring the very best for children, wanting to generate income and have more, and so on. A Raisin in the Sun is a masterful play. While some see it overly simplified, Hansberry offers us the range of African American response to the oppression that was still taking place. Walter is simply upset. Mama and Ruth are more worried about just getting by and providing better opportunities for the next generation. Willy Harris takes from his own to get ahead, and George Murchison rejects his own upbringing.

Asagai also turns down American methods, however he is African. Beneatha most represents Lorraine Hansberry as she tries to combat the system, fight society’s expectations of her as a black woman, and create her own identity. All emotions are represented in this play.

Functions Mentioned

Books and Writers. http://www. kirjasto. sci. fi/corhans. htm http://www. shmoop. com/intro/literature/ lorraine-hansberry/a-raisin-in-the-sun. html Soda pops, Brandon. Lorraine Hansberry. A Raisin in the Sun. The Ghetto Trap. Obtained November 28, 2008 at http://www. literature-study-online. com/essays/hansberry. html Corley, Cheryl. A Raisin in the Sun. March 11. 2002.

NPR. Retrieved November 26, 2008 at http://www. npr. org/programs/morning/ features/patc/raisin/ Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. “Lorraine Hansberry.” Authors and Artists for Young Person. Vol. 25. Gale Research, 1998. Replicated in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Wind. 2007. http://www. edupaperback. org/showauth. cfm? authid=93 Reuben, Paul. BUDDY: Viewpoints in American Literature. Obtained November 27, 2008 at http://www. csustan. edu/English/reuben/ pal/chap8/hansberry. html

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