A Raisin in the Sun is a play about an African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. This family is going through many struggles, both within the family and financially. The family is awaiting an insurance check. The story focuses on the individual dreams of each family member and what they want to do with the money. The family struggles to mend their family issues along with deciding what they will do with the money. This play shows a family trying to achieve the American dream. Although the American dream has changed slightly since this time period, readers can relate to the family’s dreams and aspirations.
Lena Younger is referred to as Mama throughout the story. The check that is coming is due to the passing of her husband. Mama suggests buying a house with the money and moving to a better part of town. Walter Lee Younger is Mama’s son. Walter is the protagonist of the play. Walter dreams of a better life for himself and his family. He hopes to someday live as equal to the wealthy white men. He would like to invest the money in business, specifically in a new liquor store venture. His wife, Ruth, is the caretaker of the home. She is a strong woman and is striving to keep her family together. Beneatha Younger is Walter’s sister. She dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor. In this time the idea of a woman doctor was not heard or, let alone an African-American woman.
The family faces diversity together and all have different dreams of how to overcome it. The common thread between each family member’s ideas is that they are all chasing after the American dream. James Truslow Adams first defined the American dream in his book The Epic prior to the setting in A Raisin in the Sun. This set in motion the equality of blacks and whites.
A Raisin in the Sun shows the struggles African-American families had to face to become equal with Whites . Although some will argue that we are not completely equal in todays society, I believe that small improvements are being made every day. African American’s who stand up for their rights and chase their dreams and Whites who accept all types people is the key to how this world will change for the better.
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- “The American Dream.” Library of Congress. N.p.. Web. 1 Apr 2014.