A Raisin in the Sun Lyric Hammersmith, London Rhona Foulis posted 14 March 2005 ‘What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? ‘ Langston Hughes’s poem offers food for thought in Lorraine Hansberry’s play about race relations and the disillusionment of the American Dream in 1950s black America. The Young Vic have revived their 2001 production of this landmark play, which won its playwright a New York Drama Critics Circle Award at the tender age of 29.
Indeed, A Raisin in the Sun’s original Broadway production in 1959 was socially, politically and dramatically remarkable.
The play broke ground in its representation of a working class African American family, placed at the heart of the narrative, thereby providing black actors with the rare chance to play three-dimensional characters. A Raisin in the Sun gives voice to African Americans written out of the ideological dream and marginalised by white, capitalist society. At the beginning of the Young Vic’s production, the opening lines of Langston Hughes’s ‘A Dream Deferred’ are intermittently projected onto the back wall of the family’s apartment, like the opening credits of a film.
Frances O’Connor’s design effectively conveys the drab dinginess of this 1950s Chicago apartment, with three brick walls symbolically blocking in an impoverished but aspiring family. In the context of racially segregated America, the play looks inwards to explore the pressures upon family unity. As race relations and gender roles have evolved, so there grows an aching generational gap in the traditional black family. When mother Ruth inherits money from an insurance claim against her husband’s death, she emasculates her son by usurping Walter Lee’s role as head of the family.
More than any other character, we perceive Walter’s struggle with his social and familial role. In a rousing monologue, he vents his frustration at working as a servile chauffeur and failing to fulfil the traditional patriarchal role of family breadwinner. ‘Things sure have changed’, Ruth muses: for her generation, living meant freedom; in 1950s capitalist America, life is money. There is tension, too, between Ruth and her daughter. 20-year-old, educated Beneatha represents a future of freethinking and independent black
American women; donning newly cropped hair and trousers, she firmly asserts, ‘I am not an assimilationist’. Against a domestic backdrop of family politics, the narrative sets up the wider social struggle between assimilation and ghettoisation. Displaced patriarch Walter has enterprising plans to set up a business with the insurance money; conforming to the dominant socio-economic system will at least grant him a social identity. However, Walter’s aspirations clash with Ruth’s dream to buy a family house, so that, as daughter-in-law Lena exclaims, ‘It will be ours’.
Bonnie Greer points out that for many black people in 1950s America, ‘To own your own home was to be your own master’. Yet, the all-white housing association of their future home offers the family a pay-off to sell the house and remain in a community of black residents. Towards the end of the play, the drama hinges on whether or not the family will become slaves again to a white social system, which seeks to deny black people social visibility. In the end, Hansberry envisages a mixed-race community, in which black people refuse to be ghettoised.
Ruth tends to a plant pot on the window sill, the only symbol of life in the apartment. When the family finally moves house, Ruth is determined to save it, and plant it in the garden of their new house. The sunlight has not dried up their dreams, but promises to raise a blossoming garden in their own backyard. Packed with conflict and contradictory characters, the script is full of drama and dramatic potential. Hansberry shows the economic, social and familial ramifications of racially stratified 1950s America.
By exclusively focusing on one black family, she conveys intra-racial conflict with not a hint of blame and a lot of humanity. Like every great play, A Raisin in the Sun provokes, stimulates debate, and resists simplistic solutions. The play is more powerful than the Young Vic’s production, though; it is the magnificence of Lorraine Hansberry’s writing that really resonates. For a play brimming with conflict, David Lan’s direction should have been punchier, the performances pacier. Dodgy American accents became fundamental stumbling blocks for some actors, most notably a New York-sounding Nicole Charles as Beneatha.
However, Lennie James (the only original cast member of the 2001 production) as Walter Lee is compelling to watch: a sensitive, but strongly physical performer, he brings power and energy to the stage, overwhelming us with the fierce importance of this great play. The American Dream The long-standing appeal of A Raisin in the Sun lies in the fact that the family’s dreams and aspirations for a better life are not confined to their race, but can be identified with by people of all backgrounds.
Even though what that “better life” may look like is different for each character, the underlying motivation is universal. The central conflict of the play lies in Walter’s notion of this American dream. Walter buys into the middle-class ideology of materialism. The notion of the self-made man who starts with nothing and achieves great wealth through hard work seems innocuous enough, but the idea can become pernicious if it evolves into an idolization of wealth and power. In the beginning, Hansberry shows how Walter envies Charlie Atkins’ dry-cleaning business because it grosses $100,000 a year.
He ignores Ruth’s objection to his potential business partner’s questionable character and dismisses his mother’s moral objection to achieving his goals by running a liquor store. The liquor store is a means to an end, and Walter is desperate for his dreams to come to fruition. That same Machiavellian ethic is demonstrated when Walter plans to accept Mr. Lindner’s offer. Walter is not concerned with the degrading implications of the business deal. It is simply a way to recover some of the lost money.
However, Hansberry challenges Walter’s crude interpretation of the American dream by forcing him to actually carry out the transaction in front of his son. Walter’s inability to deal with Mr. Lindner marks a significant revision of his interpretation of the American dream, a dream that inherently prioritizes justice a Walter Lee Younger – The protagonist of the play. Walter is a dreamer. He wants to be rich and devises plans to acquire wealth with his friends, particularly Willy Harris. When the play opens, he wants to invest his father’s insurance money in a new liquor store venture.
He spends the rest of the play endlessly preoccupied with discovering a quick solution to his family’s various problems. Beneatha Younger (“Bennie”) – Mama’s daughter and Walter’s sister. Beneatha is an intellectual. Twenty years old, she attends college and is better educated than the rest of the Younger family. Some of her personal beliefs and views have distanced her from conservative Mama. She dreams of being a doctor and struggles to determine her identity as a well-educated black woman. Lena Younger (“Mama”) – Walter and Beneatha’s mother.
The matriarch of the family, Mama is religious, moral, and maternal. She wants to use her husband’s insurance money as a down payment on a house with a backyard to fulfill her dream for her family to move up in the world. Ruth Younger – Walter’s wife and Travis’s mother. Ruth takes care of the Youngers’ small apartment. Her marriage to Walter has problems, but she hopes to rekindle their love. She is about thirty, but her weariness makes her seem older. Constantly fighting poverty and domestic troubles, she continues to be an emotionally strong woman.
Her almost pessimistic pragmatism helps her to survive. Travis Younger – Walter and Ruth’s sheltered young son. Travis earns some money by carrying grocery bags and likes to play outside with other neighborhood children, but he has no bedroom and sleeps on the living-room sofa. Joseph Asagai – A Nigerian student in love with Beneatha. Asagai, as he is often called, is very proud of his African heritage, and Beneatha hopes to learn about her African heritage from him. He eventually proposes marriage to Beneatha and hopes she will return to Nigeria with him.
George Murchison – A wealthy, African-American man who courts Beneatha. The Youngers approve of George, but Beneatha dislikes his willingness to submit to white culture and forget his African heritage. He challenges the thoughts and feelings of other black people through his arrogance and flair for intellectual competition. Mr. Karl Lindner – The only white character in the play. Mr. Lindner arrives at the Youngers’ apartment from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. He offers the Youngers a deal to reconsider moving into his (all-white) neighborhood.
Bobo – One of Walter’s partners in the liquor store plan. Bobo appears to be as mentally slow as his name indicates. Willy Harris – A friend of Walter and coordinator of the liquor store plan. Willy never appears onstage, which helps keep the focus of the story on the dynamics of the Younger family. Mrs. Johnson – The Youngers’ neighbor. Mrs. Johnson takes advantage of the Youngers’ hospitality and warns them about moving into a predominately white neighborhood. nd equality over money. 1 * Download app * Listen to an overview * Buy this Lit Note
A Raisin in the Sun By Lorraine Hansberry Character Analysis Mama (Lena Younger) Although Mama is a strong motivational force in this drama, she is not its focal point, as many earlier critics assumed. Raisin actually tells the story of Walter Lee — granted that his is a story greatly influenced by Mama. A proud woman, Lena Younger does not have much material wealth, but she walks tall, exudes dignity, and carries herself, as Hansberry says, with the “noble bearing of the women of the Heroes of Southwest Africa [a pastoral people],” as though she walks with a “basket or a vessel upon her head. Her children are her life; she refers to them as her “harvest. ” With no significant dreams of her own, she lives vicariously through her children, for even her dream of having a house is motivated only by her desire to make living conditions better for her family. She says, upon receiving the $10,000 insurance check, that, for her part, she’d just as soon donate the entire sum to her church. Because Mama seems to be accustomed to suffering and enduring hardships, the Lindners of the world cannot disturb her inner peace, for she has previously suffered the death of a baby and, more recently, the death of her husband of many years.
Her strong faith and deep religious convictions give her the psychological and physical mettle she needs in order to rise to life’s challenges. At her lowest point, she asks God to replenish her waning strength and is immediately possessed of a more compassionate perception of Walter Lee’s folly. Mama’s old-fashioned and conservative views are evident when she speaks of her husband’s past “womanizing” and chauvinistic behavior as being something that she could overlook. Mama actually believes that accepting such behavior is a woman’s lot in life.
Ruth, however, is only slightly more liberated as she, too, would accept such behavior in her man, but she would at least address the problem. Beneatha, in contrast, represents a new, liberated generation of women; she would never accept such behavior in a man and would, perhaps, have spoken out against Mama’s lack of spunk in dealing with a sexist mate had Mama reminisced about life with “Big Walter” with Beneatha instead of Ruth. Mama’s single weakness appears to be her all-consuming love for her grandson, Travis, which causes her to spoil him and causes her also to act in a somewhat meddlesome manner with her daughter-in-law.
Mama impresses us with her strength, but this strength appears to have been sublimated during her marriage. It seems that only after the death of “Big Walter,” when Mama has to become head of the household, that she can summon the herculean strength she exhibits throughout the drama. As her name suggests, Lena’s entire family “leans on” her and draws from her strength in order to replenish their own. Character Analysis Walter Lee Younger (“Brother”) Essentially, this play is the story of Walter Lee Younger, sometimes called “Brother. Passionate, ambitious, and bursting with the energy of his dreams, Walter Lee is a desperate man, shackled by poverty and prejudice, and obsessed with a business idea that he thinks will solve all of his economic and social problems. He believes, for example, that through his business idea, he will suddenly accumulate all the money he will ever need. Then, with this sudden accumulation of capital, he will improve himself socially and will be looked up to by others — all the people who, he believes, do not think much of him as a man.
He will, he believes, finally be able to provide material necessities and even luxuries for his wife. Walter asks in desperation why shouldn’t his wife wear pearls. Who decides, he wonders, which women should wear pearls in this world? However, Walter proves throughout the drama that he does not possess the entrepreneurial skills necessary to succeed in business. His education is sorely lacking, a fact made most clear in his confrontation with George Murchison. When George says, “Good night Prometheus,” Walter not only does not know what “Prometheus” refers to, but he actually thinks that George, just that moment, made up the word.
The word “Prometheus” fits Walter’s fiery personality. Prometheus, the god who was punished for bringing fire to mortals, was chained to Mt. Caucasus, where every day an eagle tore out his liver, which grew back each night. Prometheus’ suffering lasted for thousands of years — until Hercules killed the eagle and freed Prometheus. As a parallel, Walter, too, is chained, and likewise, his obsessive dream restores what his frustrations devour. Sadly, Walter never sees any way out of his economic distress other than the liquor store, which his mother opposes solely on moral grounds.
Nowhere in the play does Mama indicate that she would not give Walter the money for some other business idea; it’s just that she resists the idea of his selling liquor. Walter’s singular obsession causes him to lose sight of his possible alternatives and of a compromise that might have led to his goal of economic independence. Walter’s chauvinism is evident immediately when he tells his wife, Ruth, that for a fleeting moment, she “looked young . . . real young . . . but . . . it’s gone now. ” Walter Lee is older than Ruth, but, to him, looking young is important only to a woman.
However, it is, perhaps, the disturbing realization of his own aging that prompts his sarcasm, for shortly after these remarks to both, he admits that he has been contemplating his own aging, without having realized any of his dreams, when he says, “This morning, I was lookin’ in the mirror and thinking about it. . . . I’m thirty-five years old; I been married eleven years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room. ” Walter’s chauvinism is further apparent when he questions Beneatha about her decision to become a doctor: He asks why she couldn’t just become a nurse or get married “like other women. When he comes home after a drinking bout with his friends and Beneatha is dancing to the African music, he says, “Shut up” to Ruth, just before joining Beneatha in the dance. Walter is obsessed with getting money so that he can buy “things for Ruth”; he is unaware that treating Ruth more kindly and with more respect would be more appreciated and valued than any “gifts. ” After Walter foolishly entrusts all of his mother’s remaining money to his unscrupulous buddy, his shame turns to self-hatred, the only emotion that permits him to consider selling out his race and accepting Lindner’s offer.
It is a proud moment when Walter, mainly because Travis is watching him, cannot bring himself to relinquish his remaining dignity for Lindner’s offer of money. Character Analysis Ruth Younger Previous Next Ruth’s close relationship with her mother-in-law and with her new family is comparable to the biblical Ruth, who tells her mother-in-law, Naomi, that she will travel with her wherever she goes and that “your people shall be my people. ” Unlike the biblical story, though, no mention is ever made of Ruth Younger’s parents or siblings or background.
We are never told from whence this Ruth has come before joining the Younger household. Ruth is a “soft” personality type. She is not aggressive; she just lets life “happen” to her. She is the “worn-out wife” with a tedious, routine lifestyle. Hansberry describes Ruth as being “about thirty” but “in a few years, she will be known among her people as a ‘settled woman. ‘” Ruth has only simple dreams and would be content to live out her life being moderately comfortable. Her biggest dream blossoms only after Mama’s news of the possibility of their moving to a better neighborhood.
Ruth is easily embarrassed and tries too hard to please others. When George Murchison arrives in the middle of Walter and Beneatha’s frenzied African dance, Ruth is overly apologetic to George about their behavior. When Walter and Beneatha argue, Ruth asks Walter not to bring her into their conflict. And even though Ruth is annoyed by Lena’s (Mama’s) meddling, she still allows her mother-in-law to influence her at times about the correct way to raise Travis. Very low key, Ruth reveals the most emotion when Mama tells her that they may not be able to move; it is only then that Ruth assertively expresses her views.
Lacking education and sophistication, Ruth relies upon the suggestions, advice, and even what she thinks might be the wishes of others. She contemplates an abortion, for example, not because she wants to, but because she is worried about the additional burden she would bring to the family that she already has. Still, Ruth is not an “emotional weakling. ” She never raises her voice (as Walter does quite often), but she exhibits a remarkable strength. With all of her economic and marital problems, Ruth never succumbs to despair.
In her inimitable quiescence, she has a charming manner of always getting her way. She forces Travis to kiss her goodbye even though he is too angry at her to do so on his own. She persuades her mother-in-law to stop meddling with just one glance of disapproval. And she manages to save her marriage even when things look hopeless for the relationship. All About Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun Tom Canty, Yahoo! Contributor Network Jul 27, 2009 “Share your voice on Yahoo! websites. Start Here. ” * More: * A Raisin in the Sun * Raisin in the Sun * * tweet * Print FlagPost a comment
Lorraine Hansberry’s renowned play A Raisin in the Sun – the story of the plight of an African American family living in the 1950s – begins with a short poem by Langston Hughes titled, “A Dream Deferred”. Two themes inherent in this poem are the deliberate oppression of one’s dreams and the consequences for such actions. These themes offer insight into the shared and discrete problems of the Younger family, foreshadow how the Youngers will solve their problems, and pose an important question as to which dreams can be classified as beneficial or destructive. Conflicts Inherent in the Younger Family
The conflicts and frustration expressed by the Youngers throughout the play stem from the inability of their dreams to manifest. The Youngers share feelings of oppression with regard to poor economic status and poor racial treatment. Unique deferrals of dreams are also inherent in the individual members of the Younger family. For example, Beneatha vies to be a doctor and to be recognized for her intellect and her ambitious nature. However, society admonishes her for pursuing such aspirations because the stereotypical female role in the medical profession is nursing.
Walter yearns to be able to proudly be the patriarch of the family, to give his son everything he never had as a child, and to have a respectable job that highly correlates to his intellect. None of this can happen unless his liquor investment is successful. Ruth simply wishes to be a suiting wife for her husband Walter, but Walter’s cantankerous attitude due to his deferred dreams has caused the couple to not get along well. Mama hopes that future generations of the Younger family will attain a threshold in entitlement so as to retain the dignity necessary for the longevity of a proud family.
The Youngers’ Response to Their Problems The line “Or does it explode? ” found at the end of Langston Hughes’s poem alludes to the resolution of A Raisin in the Sun (line 11). Faced with the possibility of further deferring their dream (i. e, being offered money if they would agree to not move into a predominately white neighborhood), the Younger family retaliates by forcing their dream to materialize – they reject the offer and decide to move in anyway. The Youngers were able “to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way” (Goleman ix).
An Open Discussion Regarding Dreams The discussion of dreams in the poem and play poses intriguing conundrums: Are all dreams important? Which dreams are more important than others? Excluding all unethical dreams, I believe that practical dreams should be kept alive and that impractical dreams become destructive – a substitute for action. As a caveat, I suggest that someone who wishes to pursue impractical dreams should modify the goal or the time frame to achieve said dreams so as to minimize the incurrence of heavy losses.
Final Remarks Lorraine Hansberry’s decision to begin A Raisin in the Sun with Langston Hughes’s “A Dream Deferred” poem is significant because the poem’s themes of dreams and disillusionment serve as clever jump-off points for the similar problems the Younger family faces. The poem’s suggestion of retaliation ensuing suppression hints to the outcome of A Raisin in the Sun. This thorough discussion of dreams allows the reader to be cognizant of the importance of having them.
Mama and Ruth dream of owning their own house and getting the family out of their current living situation while Beneatha dreams of getting an education, becoming a doctor and not being dependent on a man for anything. Walter, although he wants to support his family, has his dream of buying a liquor store to raise money for his family. He finds more pride in proving himself successful. Walter, although with a capitalistic way of thinking, sticks to his own dream and come off as a frustrated character throughout the play. He takes out his frustration about not having money on Ruth.
One of the characters with a dream is Walter Lee Younger. Walters dream is to invest in a liquor store with the money his mother is acquiring from the insurance company. Walter also wants to have the money so that he can afford things for his family. However; the rest of Walters’s family has their own ideas on how they think the money should be spent. The quote Walter says in Act 1 Scene 2: “I want so many things that they are driving me kind of crazy…Mama – look at me. ” shows Walters desires are starting to get complicated and may start to become dangerous to him.
Dreaming big may have its pros, but cons will definitely follow. Following that idea, another quote Walter says in Act 3 Scene 1 is: “We have decided to move into our 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. ” Walter clearly has decided to take responsibility by speaking for his family with this decision. I honestly think their decision to move in the house, shows that they don’t care what others think about them in Clybourne Park.
They want to start a better life, and they won’t let anyone get in their way. What is the American dream? In the play, A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, Walter is depicted as being a very ambitious and determined man. He often had dreams of making a better life for his family and himself. One way of making a reaching his dream was to open a liquor store. “I got a dream…. I got to take hold of this here world; I’m going to open a liquor store. ” (p. 701). This is all Walter dreams about. A way for him to achieve this dream is to utilize the $10,000 insurance money from his father’s death.
Walter’s dream conflicts with his mother’s, Lena’s (mama’s), dream. Lena, known as mama, is a strong, caring, and very religious woman. She works very hard to try and help her family have the best. She dreams of owning a house for the family “You should know the dream I have of owning a house and fixing it up and making me a little garden” (p. 707). This brings about conflict with the other family members, particularly Walter who is already set on opening his own liquor store. However, Walter was not the only one with an American Dream.
A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965), is a dramatic play of pride, hope and “dreams deferred”. “Raisin” tells the story of the Youngers, three generations of an African-American family struggling together in an apartment on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. The head of the family is Lena Younger. After her husband, Big Walter, dies, Lena learns that she will get an insurance check for $10,000 (which was a lot of money back in the day). The money drives this tight-knit family apart as each person dreams of how to spend it: Lena’s dream is to move out of their crowded, run-down apartment and buy a house with a garden.
Her son, Walter Lee, feels like he’s “choking to death” working as a chauffeur and dreams of investing in a liquor store with what his sister calls his “good-for-nothing loudmouth friends”. Walter Lee’s sister, Beneatha, wants to use the money to pay for her tuition; her dream is to become a doctor even though her brother Walter says she’s crazy. Travis dreams of becoming a bus driver one day – a dream his father says “ain’t big enough! ” Walter Lee’s wife, Ruth, has a secret that may spoil everything. Their living conditions are already crowded. Imagine how the family will react when they find out Ruth is pregnant!
When the insurance check arrives in the mail, Lena eagerly puts a down payment on a house in an all-white neighborhood, Clybourne Park. The family happily prepares to move…until they get an unexpected visit from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. The representative, Mr. Lindner, informs them that the residents of Clybourne Park prefer to keep their neighborhood a “certain kind of way” (meaning no blacks). Will the Youngers’ dreams dry up like a “raisin in the sun”? This passionate piece of literary work has become one of the greatest classics of the 20th century. Source: http://www. shvoong. om/books/classic-literature/1974926-raisin-sun/#ixzz2D07mhhIM A Raisin In The Sun – Theme *INTRO* A dream may not necessarily be just a dream. With ambition and determination, it can come true in time. Lorraine Hansberry illustrates this theme of achieving success in her play A Raisin in the Sun. The play is about the problems that the economically impoverished African American Younger family faces in trying to make their dreams come true, and the means by which they finally see some light at the end of the tunnel. Lena is Walter and Beneatha’s mother. Walter is married to Ruth and has a son whose name is Travis.
Lorraine Hansberry shows how Lena’s dream of having a house in a good neighborhood finally comes true in spite of the multitude of difficulties that she faces. The ambition and determination exemplified by Lena, Walter and Ruth makes this happen. *BODY 1* Keeping the dream of stability and wellness constantly in mind, and working towards it, Lena is surely the protagonist in the play. Her husband’s decease is a big setback for her but she still continues to struggle towards achieving stability. Her moral values of self-pride and encouragement help Walter to produce strength in him to do the right thing.
Her installation of love in Beneatha for the members of her family makes Beneatha not hate her brother Walter when he makes some terribly wrong decisions. She has a dream of moving into a bigger and better house since many years. Even after a large amount of the money was lost, she still adamantly acted on that dream and made it come true. This was projected in the play by her plant. It stayed alive in spite of all the difficulties such as very little sunshine, etc. that it faced. It also gave her hope all the way along. She is thus the best example of putting the family’s needs first. BODY 2* Walter, mama’s son, feels that every dream he has gets taken away from him. When he learns that mama was receiving a large amount of money, he decided to want to use it towards his dream of owning a business and thus not having to work for someone. As long as they money was there, he did whatever he could to fulfill his dream because it was bubbling. However, it festered and consumed money, and then ran away. The money disappeared and so did the dream. Thus, he appears to be his own antagonist and even the antagonist of the play at first.
Hence, even though he has an unselfish character, it gets overshadowed by his unwise decision of giving the money away to his friend who cheated him. He then learns that he has to set his dreams aside for the sake of the family, that pride in him and his family were inseparable and that anything that harms one would harm the other. He proves that by surprisingly telling Mr. Lindner that his family was moving into the house in the white neighborhood in spite of them being not wanted there. Right when this was about to occur, there is a feeling of dislike towards Walter because he had resulted in the loss of a large part of the money.
What was thereby expected was that he would continue worrying about money and sell their dream house to Mr. Lindner. Instead, he does an unexpected, honorable thing. *BODY 3* Walter’s wife Ruth too seems to be hand in hand with mama as far as mama’s dreams of achieving wellness and stability went. She too like Walter saw a resolution in the insurance check arriving in the mail. The money would let her fulfill hers and mama’s dream of owning a house and deserting the dilapidated apartment that she was now living in.
She wanted to keep her family together and in working order. The hopes for that began to fall apart when Walter lost a large part of the money. She in fact had even warned him in advance of the undependability of his friend Willy Harris. Later, she even thought about sacrificing her second unborn baby due to financial reasons by having an abortion even though it was highly risky to do so then. Finally, she persuaded mama to purchase the house by assuring her that she would strive to make regular payments for the house.
In this way, her nature was symbolic of possessing ambition and determination to make deferred dreams come true. *CONCLUSION* The Younger family’s situation gave them a reason to fight for their dreams and overcome the obstacles set before them. By leaving the apartment and moving into the house, not only were they surmounting an economical situation, but also the racial barriers. Conclusively, especially through Lena, and also through Walter and Ruth, the play shows that dreams have to be held on to with relentless ambition and determination, so that success can be achieved.
The American Dream is a common definition for success, comfort, happiness, wealth and the wish to succeed, and many Americans achieve this dream by simply finding true love, raising a family, and having a property that is theirs to their comfort. The novel, The Great Gatsby, is a prime reference on the American dream. The characters are all striving for the American Dream, with some minor differences. The characters in the novel are wealthy, well standing people in society. In the novel, Gatsby once a poor man is a shining example of a character that is making an unrest attempt to achieve the American dream.
The American Dream cannot be defined by one person. In the novel, all the characters except for Nick; are trying to reach this life of happiness and success. To reach their goals, they have to work to be good standing in the society, and meet their own desires such as love. In the American dream, they all wish to succeed in everything they do, and get caught up in a life with no difference, like the white room and dresses that Daisy and her friends are in. The character Gatsby is the strongest achiever of the American Dream of them all. People strongly believe they can buy happiness with money.
Gatsby grows up his life in poverty, with little to show and thus joins the army to make a hero of himself. As he is heading out to war he meets Daisy; a rich well to do lady with society watching her. They fall in love as Gatsby is sent to Europe and she moves on dating many more officers. When she meets a man named Tom, Daisy marries him for his wealth and well standing. This right here is the American dream for Daisy as she is soaring to new heights. Gatsby returns and soon notices that he has to make something of himself to prove he is in high standing.
After getting a tremendous amount of money in a not so just business, Gatsby purchases his estate on the shore of West Egg so he could see Daisy far away in East Egg. Here is another example of the American Dream, leisurely purchasing this mansion to fill all his needs. With all of his parties and attempts to show Daisy and society that he is well to do, people take advantage of him. Later on Daisy sees he is a high standing man and falls back in love with him. Gatsby has achieved his American Dream to be “happy” however is soon blown away with the consequences of his actions that he did to get there.
The Great Gatsby is mainly focused on showing the American Dream and what people will do to get it. The whole novel is a timeline on how the process works in some lives to achieve this dream. The result of this pursuit is that their minds are only set on the big and fancy things; missing the small things such as true love along the way. Each and every character is attempting to reach the American dream in The Great Gatsby. The American Dream is about leaving behind whatever you were or weren’t in your home country. None of that matters in the United States. What matters is your ambition, talent, and hard work.
People of very humble beginnings who wouldn’t have had a chance anywhere else became successful here. There are no monarchs or aristocrats here. You can be what you want and do what you want and nobody tells you what your place is. The US is about escaping the poverty and worthlessness present in other parts of the world. The American Dream is for each and every person to be responsible for improving themselves into a position where they are proud of their accomplishments. The American Dream life is where they did it all by themselves and earned every dollar they have. They deserve praise for their hard work and dedication.
Living American Dream is something to be proud of. Wanting the American dream means nothing until you are successful. Everyone who wants to be rich, and accepts money they did NOT actually work hard to get, is NOT living the American Dream. A Raisin in the Sun The American Dream is why many people find themselves attracted to this country. For some, it can be the desire to become more than their parents. For others, it is the desire to excel beyond others expectations. No matter the reason for a person’s desire to reach the American Dream there are obstacles that sometimes seem overwhelming.
In the story a raisin in the sun an African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s where racism and prejudice was a serious issue. The Younger’s family had to embrace the hard reality that comes with the American dream. In this essay I intend to prove why the “American dream is a myth not a destiny”. The American Dream is a national symbol of the United States; a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and progress achieved through hard work. Throughout the texts, The Great Gatsby, Of Mice and Men and A Raisin in the Sun, various characters chase the elusive American Dream.
In, The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby pursues his dream girl Daisy Buchanan even though his dream of whisking her away is intangible. In the text, Of Mice and Men, George and Lennie dream of acquiring a farm where they can remain blissfully undisturbed. In the play, A Raisin in the Sun, Walter Younger dreams of owning a liquor store and supplying his family with an abundance of opportunities. In all three stories, the American Dream shapes the beliefs and values of society by prompting people to strive for their ideal goals even though they remain frustratingly intangible.
In Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, she describes the dreams that an African-American family has throughout their life. Lena, the mother of two children, has a dream set to make her kids’ life full of opportunity and success. Lena was not the only one in the house that had dreams though. Lena’s children, Beneatha and Walter also had their own dreams. Walter, Lena’s oldest son, had a dream of opening up his own liquor store. He planned on doing this off his mother’s money to better his and his wife’s lives. As for Beneatha, Lena’s daughter, her dream was to become a doctor when she got out of college.
Walter’s wife, Ruth, just had a dream to live a wealthy life with Walter. This story A Raisin in the Sun is about an African-American household full of different dreams, and a family that is trying to pursue those dreams. Lena became a widow in her sixties, and then devoted her life to better her children. She waited on her husband’s insurance money. Lena got the ten thousand dollars from her husband’s insurance, and went and bought a bigger and better house for three thousand dollars in Clybourne Park, a neighborhood that consisted of only white folks.
With the rest of the money, Lena was going to put some money away for her daughter Beneatha to go to medical school. When she told the children what she had done with the money, everyone was excited and extremely thankful, except for Walter. The idea of the American Dream still has truth in today’s time, even if it is wealth, love, or fame. The thing that never changes about the American Dream is that everyone deserves something in life and everyone, somehow, should strive to get it. Everyone in America wants to have some kind of financial success in his or her lives.
The American dream is said to be that each man have the right to pursue happiness and strive for the beat. In the play “A Raisin in the Sun”, the author shows an African-American family struggling to get out of the poverty line, which is stopping them from making financial stability, or the American Dream. Its main focus is on Walter’s effort to make it, or be somebody. She also shows how race, prejudice, and economic problems effect a black mans role in his family, how he provides, and his identity.
It is also said that that the Youngers family dreams were unreal and they couldn’t attain there dreams due to their status in life. The two most common American dreams that the Youngers family want to achieve is to be accepted by the white society and to be financially stable. For example, when the Younger family received the insurance check in the mail Mama went out and brought a house in the white neighborhood. Shortly after she brought the house in the white neighborhood, which is known, as Clybourne Park they quickly sent a representative by the name of Karl Linder.
Linder was apart of the New Neighbors Orientation Committee that welcomed newcomer in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, since the Youngers were black Linder stated ” 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 407). This basically states that Mr. Linder was trying to convince them not to live in their neighborhood because they didn’t fit into the description of that community.
This is an example of them not being accepted by the white society. Being financially stable allows you to have a better lifestyle, gain respect from others and to obtain power. By being financially stable you can live better because you can you don’t never have to worry about how your going to eat, will all the bills be paid and maybe you could own your own business one day. This relates to the story “A Raisin in the Sun” because Walter wants to take the money that his mother received from the death of her father to open a nearby liquor store.
He wants to open this liquor to better his families’ life, but he gave the money to one of his friends so they can start getting the liquor store started but the friend took the money and fled with it. With having money it also brings you respect, it may seem funny because you would never know that money would allow a person to gain respect. Also by being financially able people will not look down on you as if you’re another one of them poor African American peoples. Another aspect of being financially stable is to obtain power. Having money will allow you money and power it is sometimes good and its sometimes bad.
Mentioned further up in the readings I mentioned that having money allows you to gain power it allows you to gain power because money talks. Not only do money talks when having power you can voice your opinion and something could be done sooner than someone without the money. Powers also puts you in high positions and allows you to obtain fame. In today’s society the American people view the American dream as “a dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.
It is a difficult dream for the European upper classes to interpret adequately, and too many of us ourselves have grown weary and mistrustful of it. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position. “(What is the America Dream? It is said that some Americans view the American Dream as a pursuit of material prosperity, that people work more hours to get bigger cars, fancier homes, the fruits of prosperity for their families, but have less time to enjoy their prosperity. Others say that the American Dream is beyond the grasp of the working poor who must work two jobs to insure their family’s survival. Yet others look toward a new American Dream with less focus on financial gain and more emphasis on living a simple, fulfilling life. What is the American Dream? ). There has also been much criticism of the American dream. The main criticism is that the American dream is now misleading. These critics say that, for various reasons, it simply is not possible for everyone to become prosperous through determination and hard work. The consequences of this belief can include the poor feeling that it is their fault that they are not successful. It can also result in less effort towards helping the poor since their poverty is “proof” of their laziness.
The concept of the American dream also ignores other factors of success such as the family and wealth one is born into and inheritable traits such as intelligence. On the other hand the Youngers American dream is to get a bigger house and move into a more suburban area. The Youngers also wanted to be accepted by the white society and to become financially stable. They also had their own individual dreams, Beneatha who is Walters sister wants to go to school to become a doctor, but in those times people of color weren’t considered being in high positions.
Walter on the other hand wanted to own his own business, which was a liquor store, but Mama didn’t want to spend her money on that. Walter also told his son Travis ” that he is going to make a transaction? a business transaction that going to change our lives? that’s how come one day when you ?bout seventeen years old I’ll come home and I’ll be pretty tired, you know what I mean, after a long day of conferences and secretaries getting things wrong the way they do?’cause an executive’s life is hell, man.
And I will pull the car up on the driveway? just a plain black Chrysler, I think, with white wall and no black tires (Hansberry 402). This was all Walters American dream, but Travis stated to him that they’re family is not a business family and that they are all hard working folks. Mama’s dream was to get her family out of that little house where Travis had to sleep on the couch with well enough room in it for everyone to sleep comfortable. She also wants her family to see the light because in their old house they only had one window where little light came in.
Ruth dreams were for her and Walter to have a better relationship with each and to stop all the arguing and fighting they did. She also wanted to move into a bigger house to see the light. Travis on the other hand want to become a bus driver when he gets older but his father tell him that being a bus driver you will never make money and you will never achieve that American dream. In order to achieve the American dream you must define success, which means what you choose to do for a living and it should reflect on you values, strengths, and interest.
You also have to decide what is important to you. Is it becoming a millionaire, working at a job you really enjoy, having a family, or all of the above? Avoid measuring success by comparing your job title or pay scale to other people. The next step will be learning which means education includes more than just high school, college, grad school, or learning a trade. It involves observing people, acquiring new skills, pursuing new interests and hobbies, and generally keeping your mind fresh and alert. Challenge yourself.
Learn a few useful phrases in another language or research new marketing strategies. Travel when you can and meet new people. Be open to learning. When opportunity knocks, you want to be ready. The next step will be working harder, this step consist of improving your time management skills plan your projects, prioritize your “to do” list. Produce quality results without spending excessive hours hunched over a computer, on a job site or in an office. Don’t be afraid to decline taking on an additional project when you know you won’t have enough time to complete it properly.
Take control of your time. The last step would be to invest wisely, not spending you money on little things that’s not necessary. It is also said that wise business people understand the importance of investing, especially in a retirement fund, which makes equally good sense for everyone. In contrast of taking those steps the Younger family didn’t invest their money properly, learn what they were doing, working harder and didn’t define success before they decided to spend their money.
Mama knowing that Walter was immature she gave him the money to put some away for his sisters schooling and she told him that he could have the rest but consequently he tried to open up a liquor store with his friends and one of his friends took the money fled with it and they never saw him again. In conclusion of this paper if the will to make money is there, anyone in America can pursue happiness and make their dreams come alive. The dream of making money, having a better life, and helping those less fortunate is alive in modern day society. No matter the definition of the American Dream
Cite this Racial Discrimination Essay
Racial Discrimination Essay. (2017, Feb 05). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/racial-discrimination-2/