Analysis and Interpretation of an Aspect of “A Raisin in the Sun”
‘A Raisin’ in the Sun’ by Lorraine Hansberry, (1959) is a touching family drama that projects the dreams, hopesand plans of the members of the black Younger family that forms the central conflict of this engaging narrative. The play occurs in Chicago, after the Second World War, when the Younger family receives a $10,000 check as insurance money. The play progresses with the differing dreams of each of the members and who have no way of achieving them. The chief protagonist of the play is Walter Lee Younger, an angry man who is rather selfish and wishes to fulfill his dream of buying a liquor house with the insurance money, but the other members of the family disagree with him. The mother wants to make use of the money in such a way that it benefits the whole family. However, dreams are kept alive by the family, but making these dreams into a reality is easier said than done as the author explores the complications that associate themselves in the pursuit and realization of these dreams. This essay attempts to investigate and analyze how the members of the Younger family intend to turned the dreams into reality.
The important theme that I have chosen for this essay is about the realization of dreams and how each member of the family go about cherishing their dreams and striving to make them become a reality. Beneatha dreams of becoming a doctor and is ecstatic that she is close to realizing her dreams, but Walter her brother feels that her dreams are too far fetched. However, Beneatha is determined and stands up for herself and expresses her deep desire of going into the medical field. Her vision of fulfilling her dream is because of her great love for helping other humans to get over their sicknesses and be healthy once again.
Walter is also pursuing his dreams and because they don’t seem to be coming true, he is disgruntled and takes it out on his family. Mama reminisces and quotes what Big Walter used to say – Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams – but he did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile. (1.1.26) She reminds them of all the sacrifices parents make for their children. Walter dares to dream big and his desires are so complex that they seem to threaten his very existence. Both Walter and Ruth feel that they have lost sight of their dreams and in a bid to keep the fire of hope burning in them, they strive to encourage their son Travis to fulfill his dreams. This determination and dedication to his son is the reason that it become impossible for Walter to give in to Linder.
Lena Younger, the mother is a very hardworking woman and dedicates her life to her children by trying to instill good values in them. She has a very nurturing personality and loves her children unconditionally. Though the many dreams she had never become a reality, yet she hopes that her children would be able to fulfill their dreams one day. She loves both Walter and Beneatha equally and tries to encourage them in the right path. She wants to spend the insurance money in a way that all the family members would benefit from it. Towards the end of the play, Mama is seen entrusting $6,500 to Walter from the insurance money, but when he loses it, she gets totally disappointed. However, she once again redeems her faith in Walter and takes pride in him when he flatly refuses to accept a bribe from Mr. Linder.
Mr. Linder is the only white character in the play and represents the white majority. He is supposed to be a representative of a welcoming committee of Claybourne Park where mama has bought a house for the family in the white neighborhood. However, the white population disapproves of it and collectively gathers enough money to buy the house that mama bought for a much higher price than what she had bought it. The white homeowners try to bribe the Younger family because they did not want a black family in their white neighborhood. Hence, we see even this dream coming to an end. Willy Harris is a negative character as far as the Younger family is concerned. He lures Walter and convinces him to part with a huge sum of money to buy a liquor shop, but steals the money and runs away and thus shatters Walter’s dream.
Therefore, in ‘A Raisin’ in the Sun’ we come to understand how painful it must have been for the Younger family when none of them are able to chase and fulfill their dreams, inspite of everyone trying hard enough. Lorraine Hansberry has painted a very human portrait of the black Younger family and its travails and sufferings of trying to turn their dreams into reality but which does not happen.
A Raisin in the Sun www.shmoop.com/a-raisin-in-the-sun/characters.html