A Raisin in the Sun

Brittany, Anthony, Kylie and Shane Period: 3

Thesis

Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun shows the attainability of the American Dream, as the Younger family tries to achieve their dream through the struggle of man vs. man against racial discrimination, and still successfully reached their dreams.

Theme Analysis

Racial discrimination is anything that has to do with excluding or trying to put down the other race. In the play A Raisin in the Sun racial discrimination is brought out in many parts throughout every act. The Youngers are moving into a neighborhood called Clybourne Park and it’s an all-white neighborhood. A man named Mr. Linder comes to the Youngers house and tries to by the house back from the Youngers to keep the all-white reputation of the community. “As I say for the happiness of all concern that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities” (Hansberry 18). Walter gets angry and doesn’t except Mr. Linder’s offer and Mr. Linder starts to say more hurtful things. “What do you think you’re going to gain by moving into the neighborhood where you just aren’t wanted” (Hansberry 119). I believe Lorraine Hansberry decided to use racial discrimination as the overall theme because of her background. When Hansberry was younger she lived on the South side of Chicago and her dad worked for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). Her family then moved to an all-white neighborhood, much like the play. Once they moved to an all-white neighborhood there were mobs around their house, the kids got spit at walking home from school, and the mom stayed up at night patrolling the house with a gun. Her whole life she was put down because of her race and I believe that’s why it’s the main theme throughout the play. Hansberry showed that you can still achieve the American Dream even when other people are trying to put you down.

Conflict: Man Vs. Man

"We have decided to move into out house because my father-my father-he earned it for us, brick by brick. We don't want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that's all we got to say about that. We don't want your money" (Hansberry 131). This quote depicts a man vs. man conflict because Mr. Linder was trying to bribe the Younger family to not move into their new house, but instead they firmly held their ground and rejected Mr. Linder's offer. The depiction of that quote is also shown in the movie when they use a long shot to show the audience how the Younger Family is standing around Mr. Linder and Walter, when Walter makes the decision that they're moving into Clybourne Park, and they're not changing their answer.
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Characterization and the Quest for the American Dream

Lena Younger

Lena Younger also known as Mama, is a strong, selfless, hard-working black woman who doesn’t tolerate people who questions her values. She works hard for her kids, and will sacrifice anything for them so they can achieve their dreams. Mama’s dream is that she wants to be able to make her children’s dreams easy and attainable. She just wants her children to be happy. “So now it’s life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life-now it’s money. I guess the world really do change…” (Hansberry 74). This quote displays racial discrimination because back then for black people all they ever wanted was freedom and nothing else, but according to Walter it's all about money and when Walter says that Mama is so disappointed. Another way that shows how disappointed Mama was in Walter was in they used a medium shot to show the audience Mama's facial expression, and how distraught she was.

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Walter Lee Younger

Walter Lee Younger is a mean, nasty man who rarely shows compassion towards anyone in his family, but will do anything to provide for them. He’s a very ambitious man, and tries to install that into his son Travis, so Travis could obtain better opportunities. Walter's dream is that he wants his family to live an extravagant life, or a better life than they’re living now. “Yes, I want to hang some real pearls ‘round my wife’s neck. Ain’t she supposed to wear no pearls? Somebody tell me-tell me, who decides which women is supposed to wear pearls in the world” (Hansberry 143). This quote demonstrates racial discrimination because back then it was known for only white people to be rich and be able to supply their wives with expensive things whereas the black people were poor and could barely put food on the table, so when Walter says that he feels that no one should be able to say who can buy their wife nice things. Another way that expresses how Walter feels about that topic is in the movie when they used a long shot to show Walter on his knees and all the props around him to make the statement that that's how things are supposed to be.

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Mr. Linder is a nice, non-harmful looking white man who is a part of the Clybourne Park welcoming committee. He stops by the Younger residence to see if he can talk them out of moving into their new home, by giving them more money than they put down on the house. Mr. Linder’s dream is that he wants to make Clybourne Park an all-white community, and will try his hardest to bribe his way into the Younger’s heads. “… It is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities (Hansberry). This quote shows racial discrimination because Mr. Linder and the rest of Clybourne Park want a white community, and they all feel that if the Youngers move into that neighborhood, they will ruin their daily lives. Another way that displays this is in the movie when they use a long shot to show how disgusted the Younger family looks when Mr. Linder tries to persuade them to not move into Clybourne Park.

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Symbolism

Conclusion

Overall, the attainability of the American Dream was achieved in the play A Raisin in the Sun even through the struggles of racial discrimination.

Works Cited

Hansberry, Lorriane. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Random House, Inc, 1959. Print.