A Raisin in the Sun

By: Lorraine Hansberry

Period 6

Melanie Huckins

Ben Mahn

Tyler Parisi

Anthony Dominguez


In Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun, attainability of the American Dream is shown throughout the play by the use of the theme Man vs. Society.

Theme Analysis

The theme of the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is man vs. society because the family is in constant turmoil with how society views them because of the color of their skin. In the play, there is a character named Mr. Linder. He represents the neighborhood where the Younger's bought a house. At first, the Youngers turn down the offer he presents of rebuying the house from them so they cannot move into the predominatley white neighborhood. Shorty after this scene, Walter rants "and you-you people just put the money in my hand and you won't have to live next to this bunch of stinkin niggers! (Hansberry 144). Walter says this because Mr. Linder solely doesn't want them in the neighborhood because they are black. This thought of racism came from how society views blacks in this time era. After Mr. Linder is invited back to the Younger's apartment and is told by Walter that they are going to buy the home in the white neighborhood, he responds with "I sure hope you people know what you're getting into" (Hansberry 149).
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"What's the matter with you all! I didn't make this world! It was give to me this way Hell, yes, I want me some yachts someday Yes I want to hang some real pearls 'round my wife's neck. Ain't she supposed to wear no pearls? Somebody well me tell me who decides which women is supposed to wear pearls in this world. I tell you I am a man and I think my wife should wear some pearls in this world" Walter was showing man versus society as he was having a break down because he feels he has been beaten by society. It shows in the movie how truly society and his societal problems have really gotten to him from his appearace and suggested mental state at the time.

Character and Quest for the American Dream

A Raisin in the Sun is essentially about dreams, as the main characters struggle to deal with the oppressive circumstances that rule their lives. The title of the play references a conjecture that Langston Hughes famously posed in a poem he wrote about dreams that were forgotten or put off. He wonders whether those deams shrivel up “like a raisin in the sun.” Every member of the Younger family has a separate, individual dream” —Beneatha wants to become a doctor, for example, and Walter wants to have money so that he can afford things for his family. The Youngers struggle to attain these dreams throughout the play, and much of their happiness and depression is directly related to their attainment of, or failure to attain, these dreams. By the end of the play, they learn that the dream of a house is the most important dream because it unites the family.

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Character Analysis: Mama

"They spirited all right, my children. got to admit they got spirit bennie and walter. like this littl old plant that ain't never had enough sunshine or nothing and look at it..."(Hansberry 52). Mama is relating the plant to her children which shows her true dream of that she wants what's best for her children and wanting all the best opportunitites and happiness for them. it shows the the American dream is attainable because she has already partially achieved it which shows through her saying that they have spirit. This also connects to the movie because in the movie her family is on the verge of happiness.

Character Analysis: Walter

Walter's dream is to have a house and be successful. Walter's main motivation is money and his greed is ruining his family and their lifestyle. "This morning I was lookin' in the mirror and thinking about it...I'm thirty-five years old and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room- and all I got to give is stories about how rich white people live" (Hansberry 34). In the film, the director uses close up shot to make this scene more dramatic. Walter is upset because of having no money and for waiting about the insurance check to come. Lighting and close up shots make Walter's emotion really stand out.

Character Analysis: Beneatha

Beneatha's overall dream is to become a doctor. Mama believes her dream is unnattainable, but with the insurance check, she sets aside a good amount of money to send Beneatha to college. To Ruth, she says "Ruth. Listen, I'm going to be a doctor. I'm not worried about who I'm going to marry yet- if I ever get married at all" (Hansberry 50). Mama's dream for Beneatha is for her to get married and to work like every other woman does. During this scene in the film, the camera angle is at eye level to create more intensity in Beneatha's eyes. The lighting in the room is dark to set the mood.



In conclusion A raisin in the sun by Lorraine Hansberry demonstrates the attainability of the American dream. Due to the many struggles of the family whether it was due to the family being discriminated for their skin color and the lack of opportunities African Americans have had during that time, they still managed to pull through to end with a comfortable and loving atmosphere and prepares to start a new chapter of their life.

Works Cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York City: Random House, Inc., 1958. Print.

A Raisin in the Sun. Dir. Kenny Leon. 2008. Film.