How does Hansberry write about dreams in ‘ A Raisin in the Sun’? Essay


Lorriane Hansberry wrote ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ in the late 1950’s. Hansberry’s choice of a really bad, working-class Black family in the setting of Southside Chicago in the late 1950s, highlights the crucial function of dreams as a driving force in the lives of individuals without any other hope of survival or breakthrough from hardship and despair. The Younger family is common of most Black families in the American south in the late 1950s. The Younger home is the only setting throughout the entire play emphasising the midpoint of the house.

Most were the descendants of freed servants who lived in ghettos, had no landed property of their own, had little or no education and were still subject to extreme kinds of prejudice, racial discrimination and humiliation from the majority White population.

In such an environment, dreams are the means of support of hope and aspiration.

The ‘American dream’ is having the ability to increase through their own ability, share prosperity and have an excellent way of living.

The play opens with the author’s vivid description of the Younger family’s cramped, cockroach-infested, two-bedroom apartment or condo with externally shared toilet and restroom centers. The carpet is threadbare and faded; the furniture upholstery has been covered and the apartment is so overcrowded that Travis, the young child of Walter Lee and Ruth, needs to sleep on the living-room sofa. The household hardship is so dire that the ten-year old boy needs to have a hard time to get fifty cents out of his mom or deal to earn the money by carrying groceries for consumers at the regional supermarket.

The horrible hardship in spite of, an audience would observe a happy, law-abiding family held together by Walter and Beneatha’s sixty-year old mother, Mom Lena Younger, whose way depicts dignity and a set of worths that date back several years.


Ruth Younger, Walter Younger’s partner. Ruth has to do with thirty years of age. Ruth appears in the play disappointed and tired. Ruth is emotionally strong. Ruth has economic and marital relationship issues to deal with in the course of the play.

Walter Lee Younger, the main character of the play. Ruth’s husband and also the older brother of Beneatha. Walter Lee is exposed in the play as a desperate male in requirement of money. Walter despises the truth he is residing in poverty and bias. Walter Lee is tries to supply a much better standard of living for his family. Walter Lee is also passionate about seeking a company concept to conquer financial and social concerns.

Travis is Ruth and Walter’s kid. The only child existing in the play. Travis is remote and over safeguarded by the grownups he lives with.

Beneatha Younger is Walter’s younger sis and Mom’s daughter. Beneatha’s primary aspiration is to end up being a medical professional. A strong willed woman in the drama. Ruth also takes a great deal of pride in being an intellectual.

Mama is the mom of Walter and Beneatha and Ruth’s mother-in-law. Mom is a really strong and spiritual female in the play. Mama desires her daughter Beneatha to end up being a medical professional. Mama likewise supports Ruth in many ways as a mom- in- law.

Joseph Asagai is an African student who is very much pleased with his cultural background and likewise confesses his love to Beneatha. Joseph likewise supplies Beneatha African robes and records and supports her goals into ending up being a physician.

George Murchison is the rich partner of Beneatha. George is rude of other black individuals. George is extremely arrogant in his behaviour with Beneatha. Beneatha who prefers Joseph to George.

As a common style of her play, Hansberry represents dreams in an excellent range of ways. It is interesting to note from the play as a whole that virtually all the characters have dreams. Some are enthusiastic whilst others are modest; they give aggravation as well as of happiness; they are a reflection of an individual’s character and personality traits and as Walter Lee demonstrates, they are vibrant and subject to change according to the prevailing situations.

Walter Lee is the main character of the play. Hansberry portrays him as an intense, very bitter and deeply annoyed man suffering the early start of a mid-life crisis. In Act 1 Scene 1 (pg.18), he states:” I’m thirty-five years old; I been wed eleven years and I got a kid who oversleeps the living room and all I got to provide him is stories about how rich white people live.” Then again in Act 1 Scene 2, he sees into the future at edge of his days, as a huge, looming blank space … filled with absolutely nothing.” Walter’s dream is to accomplish an advancement in company that would offer his household a better life and develop him as a man who is the primary breadwinner and head of his household.

His immediate hope of a company venture is to purchase an alcohol shop the full $10,000 insurance money his mother is about to get as an outcome of Huge Walter’s (her spouse’s) death. His dream to lay hands on that cash rapidly becomes a frustrating obsession. When neither his mother Lena nor his partner Ruth approve of such an endeavor, Hansberry illustrates the depth of overall disappointment to which a man can sink as his dream becomes more and more indefinable.

He becomes abusive to his wife, implying she belongs to “a race of ladies with small minds” (pg. 19); he is dismissive of sis Beneatha’s dream to become a medical professional, informing her “go be a nurse like other ladies … or just get wed and be peaceful;” and he chews out his mom when the much-awaited cheque lastly shows up. Walter Lee turn to consuming heavily when his mother refuses to support his investment in an alcohol store; he reveals bitter bitterness towards George Murchison, whom he thinks was born with a silver spoon; he likewise dislikes his routine task as a chauffeur. Indeed, he is so blinded by the fascination of having his mother’s money that he takes off with rage when Mama Lena exposes payment of a deposit on the family’s most important need, particularly: a larger home.

Hansberry shows the nature of dreams when Walter Lee is provided $3,500 to utilize as he pleases. Whilst this amount is lower than the $10,000 he was initially imagining, it is a cruel twist of paradox that in Act 2 Scene 2. A highly thrilled Walter Lee starts to imagine life as a downtown executive who attends conferences, uses bungling secretaries, sends Travis to America’s best schools, drives a Chrysler and can manage to buy Ruth a Cadillac convertible. However, through his dreams, Hansberry is able to expose the failures in Walter Lee’s character: compared to his partner and mom, he is a guy of very bad judgement and was extremely gullible to allow himself to be duped by his supposedly faithful good friend, Willy Harris.

Compared to her much older and more skilled mother, Beneatha’s dreams depict the natural idealism of youth. Regardless of the hardship of her family background, Hansberry represents her as a positive thinker who imagines becoming a doctor without understanding where her medical school costs will come from. Beneatha is all the more remarkable in her ambitions since it was extremely unusual in the 1950s for ladies to enter the medical profession and even less normal for someone from a poor Black household who resided in a ghetto of Chicago.

More generally for the period of emerging Black freedom, Beneatha shows a high level of political awareness, keeps in close touch with her African heritage and even imagine marrying Asagai and settling in Africa to practise as a physician (Act 3, pg.113). Although she is simply as optimistic as her brother (Walter Lee), Beneatha is not obsessed with money as a method to accomplishing her dreams. She is absolutely unimpressed by George Murchison’s acquired wealth, arrogance and absence of consciousness of his African heritage. She declares in Act 1, Scene 1 (pg.31), that she could never actually be major about George due to the fact that he is so shallow and is heard screaming once again in Act 3, towards completion of the play, that she would not wed George if he were Adam and she were Eve (pg.114).

In contrast to her kids, Mom Lena is a realist who has valued a single lifetime dream, which she shared with her late partner, Huge Walter Younger. Hansberry represents her as a God-fearing, obedient however bad mom with strong family worths. As a result, her dream is a modest but apparently unattainable desire to get a comfortable home with a garden (which she explains in Act1, Scene 1- pg.28) and to repair it up for herself and her family. Hansberry’s use of importance is illustrated by the way Mom Lena keeps her dream alive in much the same manner as she nurtures her potted plant. In a 2nd reference to her wish for garden (pg.35), Mother describes her plant as the closest she ever got to have one.

She compares the strong will and spirit of her household with the survival of her plant, which “ain’t never had adequate sunshine or absolutely nothing” however continued to flourish against all odds. Again, it is fascinating to keep in mind Hansberry’s representation of dreams and the human nature: when the possibility of obtaining a home really becomes attainable, Mama Lena no longer opts for a residential or commercial property in Morgan Park however for a house in the more upscale and unique White area of Clybourne Park. Like Walter Lee’s brand-new vision of himself as a downtown executive, the playwright illustrates the pressing nature of dreams. The moral of her play is that whatever their status in life or level of attainment, people will constantly have dreams.

Although Hansberry portrays dreams as the all-important hope on which individuals depend for inspiration and survival, she likewise highlights the influence of principles in the mission to accomplish those goals. It is a tribute to the Youngers’ self-pride, moral fibre and strength of character that Walter Lee is compelled to discard the concept of accepting a pay-off from Mr Lindner not to move into the White neighbourhood of Clybourne Park after he had actually lost the bulk of the insurance money to Willy Harris.

After he announced he had called Mr Lindner to accept the payment, Mother Lena states to Walter: “Son, I originate from five generations of individuals who was slaves and sharecroppers however ain’t nobody in my family never ever let nobody pay. ’em no cash that was a way of telling us we wasn’t fit to walk the earth. We ain’t never been that bad. We ain’t never ever been that dead within”. (Act 3, pg.108). Beneatha dismisses him in comparable terms, saying: “That is not a man. That is absolutely nothing however a toothless rate” and: “He is no sibling of mine”. Ultimately, Walter Lee is compelled to bring back the household dignity by telling Mr Lindner what a happy family he originated from, how they had made the right to reside in Clybourne Park and why they didn’t want his cash.

By the end of Act 3, Hansberry leaves her audience with some responses to the questions created in the metaphors of Langston Hughes’ poem, from which her play derives its title: ‘A Raisin in the Sun’. From her demonstration that people will constantly have dreams, it can be concluded that dreams can be deferred but they do not dry up like a raisin in the sun. As Walter Lee demonstrates, dreams can end up being a painful obsession to be irritating like a running aching and stinks like rotten meat when they go bad. Typical examples are when his dream takes control of Walter Lee’s life to an extent that he ends up being violent to his family and resorts to drink as the dream is deferred. Likewise, as Beneatha’s experience programs, dreams can be compared to a syrupy sweet: great to have however incorrect and evasive if they are deferred.

Through no fault of her own, Beneatha’s dream is sweet and honorable however it rapidly ends up being as incorrect as an impression when Walter Lee loses the cash that would have assisted her get in medical school. Although Mother Lena’s dream was never a painful fixation that festered like a running sore, smelled like rotten meat or delude like a syrupy sweet, she brought for such a long period of her life that it sagged like a heavy load until she finally purchased the house in Clybourne Street. Whilst Walter Lee and Beneatha’s dreams explode with the loss of the majority of the much-needed household capital, Mother Lena’s dream remains as versatile as her symbolic plant, which she takes for planting in the garden of their new home. Mom is the just one of Hansberry’s characters to realise her dream.

For every one else, Hansberry’s recommendation to the sun may well be symbolic of the brilliant light and hope our dreams represent. The playwright produces the concern: should we permit our dreams to dry up like raisins in the sun or should we remain strong and dedicated, nurturing our dreams like Mom’s plant till we attain them?

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