The American Dream

The long-standing very nice of A Raisin in the Sun lies in the reality that the family's dreams and also aspirations because that a better life space not border to their race, but can be established with by world of every backgrounds. Also though what the "better life" may look like is different for every character, the underlying motivation is universal. The main conflict that the play lies in Walter's id of this American dream. Walter buys into the middle-class ideological background of materialism. The notion of the self-made male who starts v nothing and achieves an excellent wealth through difficult work appears innocuous enough, yet the idea can end up being pernicious if that evolves right into an idolization of wealth and power. In the beginning, Hansberry shows exactly how Walter envies Charlie Atkins' dry-cleaning business since it grosses $100,000 a year. That ignores Ruth's objection come his potential company partner's questionable character and also dismisses his mother's ethical objection to achieving his goals by running a liquor store. The liquor save is a means to an end, and also Walter is desperate for his desires to concerned fruition. That very same Machiavellian ethic is demonstrated when Walter plan to accept Mr. Lindner's offer. Walter is not involved with the degrading implications of the organization deal. The is simply a way to recoup some the the shed money. However, Hansberry challenges Walter's crude translate of the American dream by forcing him come actually lug out the transaction in front of his son. Walter's i can not qualify to deal with Mr. Lindner clues a far-reaching revision of his translate of the American dream, a dream that inherently prioritizes justice and equality over money.

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Female gender Identity

Three generations of ladies are represented in A Raisin in the Sun. Lena, that is in her at an early stage thirties, becomes the default head the the household upon the passing of her husband, Walter Sr. Increased in the South during an era whereby blacks' very lives were in danger due to the fact that of the prevalence of lynching, Lena moved to the North with the hopes of leading a far better life. The move up phibìc was significant in that she had actually hopes of a far better life for herself. Although Lena is front of she times in some respects, her dreams and also aspirations room largely connected to she family's well-being, fairly than to her own. Scholar Claudia Tate attributes Lena's low expectations for she individual self to sex conditioning - a term provided to define the expectation the a woman's goals and also dreams be connected to her family alone. Lena tolerates she husband's womanizing and also remains loyal to him even though they suffer under the exact same impoverished conditions throughout your marriage.

Walter's wife, Ruth, is in her at an early stage thirties. She is different from Lena in the she vocalizes her frustrations through her spouse, Walter. Ultimately, however, she looks for to you re welcome him, talk positively around the company to Lena top top his behalf, encouraging Beneatha no to antagonize her brother so much, and being ready to job-related several work so the the household can afford to move right into the new house.

Beneatha, a young feminist college student, is the the very least tolerant the society's uneven treatment and also expectations of women. Beneatha constantly obstacles Walter's chauvinism, and also has no time for shallow males like George Murchison, who carry out not respect her ideas. V these three women, Hansberry sent illustrates how women's ideas about their identity have adjusted over time.


"What defines a man?" is a crucial question the Hansberry battles with throughout the whole play. In numerous ways, the most debilitating affronts Walter faces are those which relate come his identity as a man, even if it is it it is in in his duty as father, husband, or son. Being a dad to Travis shows up to be the role that Walter worths the most. He sincerely wants to be regarded as honorable in his son's eyes. Knowing the family members has small money to spare, Walter provides Travis a dollar as soon as he asks for fifty cents. Walter chooses the liquor store investment not just to make more money because that himself, but additionally to be better able to administer for his wife and also family. He desires to be able to give Ruth pearls and also a Cadillac convertible; he desires to have the ability to send his boy to the college of his choice. Together a son, he wants to walk in his father's footsteps and provide for his mom in she old age. Walter is framed by the examples of his father and also son. In ~ first, Walter is willing to degrade self in order to acquire these goals, however he faces a crucial turning point when that reconsiders Mr. Lindner's offer. Ultimately, he choose the honorable route so the he can stand prior to his son Travis through pride.


There is a solid motif the afrocentrism transparent the play. Unlike many of her black color contemporaries, Lorraine Hansberry flourished up in a household that to be well mindful of its african heritage, and taken on its roots. Lorraine's uncle, Leo Hansberry, to be a professor that African background at Howard University, a well-known, historically black color college in Washington, D.C. Hansberry's uncle actually taught Kwame Nkrumah, a revolutionary who fought for the self-reliance of the Gold shore from brothers rule. Hansberry's afrocentrism is expressed greatly through Beneatha's love for Asagai. Asagai, a Nigerian native, is who Beneatha seeks out throughout her search for her very own identity. She is passionate to learn about African culture, language, music, and dress. The playwright is well ahead of she times in her development of this characters. Hansberry is able to dispel many of the myths around Africa, and concretely depict the parallel struggles both Africans and also African-Americans must face.

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Class Tensions within the black Community

A Raisin in the Sun is not just around race; class tensions room a prominent issue throughout the play. George Murchison is Beneatha's well-to-do boyfriend. Although he is educated and also wealthy, Beneatha is tho trying to sort out she feelings about him. Her sister-in-law, Ruth, does not know Beneatha's ambivalence: that is good-looking, and able to provide well for Beneatha. However, Beneatha is to plan to be a doctor, and also is no dependent top top "marrying well" for her financial security. Hansberry additionally hints that marriage right into the Murchison family is not an extremely probable. Beneatha says, "Oh, Mama- The Murchisons room honest-to-God-real-live-rich colored people, and also the only human being in the human being who are much more snobbish than affluent white civilization are affluent colored people. I believed everybody knew the I've met Mrs. Murchison. She's a scene!" Beneatha is perceptible to the fact that even though the two families are black, they space deeply divided. Beneatha says that class distinctions are an ext pronounced amongst African-Americans than between African-Americans and whites. Despite their level of wealth or education, blacks in America to be discriminated against. Wealthy African-Americans had limitations ~ above schools, housing, and occupations as with their bad counterparts. Mrs. Murchison's 'snobbishness' is emblematic of a no hope yet effective attempt come be checked out as various from bad blacks and thus obtain acceptance by whites. However, radical legislative and also social change proves to it is in the only substantive systems to America's problem.

Next SectionAct ns scene i an overview and AnalysisPrevious SectionGlossaryBuy study GuideHow To cite in MLA FormatSherrod, Cheryl. Berkow, Jordan ed. "A Raisin in the sunlight Themes"., 15 June 2006 Web. Cite this page