Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun

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The play, A Raisin in the Sun, is written by Lorraine Hansberry, and premiered on Broadway in 1959. Hansberry was motivated by a poem written by Langston Hughes. Active in civil rights, Hansberry’s play addresses the racial conflicts for equality and human rights felt by African Americans and Lorraine Hansberry herself. Racial segregation was still strongly being enforced at this time. Each character in the play has a dream. Race, class and gender, all shape these individual’s identity; through their dreams, their life challenges are revealed. Every American has a dream for, social status, freedom and equality; however, unjust racial discrimination exists in America crushing those dreams. The Younger family faces this dilemma.
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She had dreams of buying a house with a garden in the back; those dreams were postponed, but never ever forgotten (Hansberry, 1959). Mama’s dreams of buying a house were at a time when African Americans were fighting hard to obtain equal civil rights. These rights involved equal opportunity in work, housing, and education, along with the right to vote, the right to equal access to public facilities and freedom from racial discrimination (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, 2005). Mama is irritated because African Americans are beginning to think money is life, when at one time freedom was life (Hansberry, 1959). During the 1930’s and the Great Depression the term American Dream was all about owning things and making money. Mama states, Big Walter used to always say, “Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams”(p. 352 Hansberry, 1959). Creating housing developments by the color of a person’s skin was a way to distinguish race and class identities, the white race thinking they were superior to the black race (Wiese, …show more content…
It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." (King Jr., 1963). African Americans have faced years and years of struggles for freedom and equality. Martin Luther King Jr. was a key figure for black hopes and civil reforms (West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, 2005). Even today achieving dreams is largely dependent on race, gender and social status. Mama, Walter Lee and Beneatha each characterize an issue relating to their generation, their race or their gender. They are dreaming, struggling and determined to fight for their cause, freedom of racial discrimination. African Americans did not want assimilation into the white culture, but rather, recognition of their black culture with equal rights and freedom, an integrated society (Hansberry, 1959). The characters’ class, gender and race create struggles for all, in the play A Raisin in the Sun, it is through this struggles, dreams become closer to reality and the family connects (Hansberry,

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