Themes of “A Raisin in the Sun”

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“A Raisin in the Sun” explores important themes such as poverty, dreams, racism, society, and various social issues that impact an African-American family. Lorraine Hansberry delves into the effects of race prejudice and economic insecurity on a black man’s role within his own family, his ability to provide, and his sense of identity. A significant theme in the play is the concept of dreams and deferred dreams. Upon receiving a ten thousand dollar check in the mail, the Younger family members each have different ideas on how to spend the money. This inheritance comes from Mama’s late husband, resulting in everyone coveting the money solely for their own dreams while neglecting others. Their ambitions gradually wither away, akin to a raisin shriveling under the sun. Not only do dreams become faded, but Walter Lee and Ruth’s marriage also begins to deteriorate. The money could have made Ruth and Mama’s dream of owning a house come true, while Walter could use it to pursue his entrepreneurial aspirations. Furthermore, Beneatha dreams of completing medical school and becoming a doctor in order to heal people from their afflictions.

Emotionally, not having their dreams realized has caused the Younger family to despise each other. In addition to dreams and dreams deferred, Lorraine Hansberry also addresses racism. The Younger family encounters prejudice when Mr. Linder, claiming to be the “welcoming committee” from Clybourne Park (p.894), offers them double the amount they paid for their new house to maintain the all-white neighborhood. Initially tempted by the offer, Walter Lee ultimately chooses to move into the house out of pride for his heritage. Poverty is another central theme in this play, evident in their living arrangements…

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