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A Raisin in the Sun


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A Raisinin the Sun

The action of the playis set in Chicago's side, sometime South between World War II and thepresent.
Act I
Scene I Friday morning. Scene II Thefollowing morning.

Act II
Scene I Later, thesame day. Scene II Friday night, a few later. weeks Scene III Moving day, one later. week

An hour later.

The YOUNGER living room would comfortable wellbe a and ordered roomifitwere for a not number of indestructible contradictions to this stateofbeing. furnishings andunIts typical are

Lorraine Hansberry distinguished and their primary feature now is that they have clearly had to accommodate the livingof too many people too for many years—and they aretired.Still,we can seethatatsome time, a time probably no longer rememberedby the (except perfamily haps for MAMA),the furnishings this room were actually selected of with care and love and even hope—and brought tothis apartment and arranged with taste and pride. That was a long time ago. Now the once loved patternof the couch upholstery has to fight to show from under of itself acres crocheted doilies and couch covers which have themselvesfinally come to be more important than the upholstery. And hereatable or a chair has been moved to disguisetheworn places thecarpet; in but the carpet has fought back by showing its weariness, with depressing uniformity, elsewhere surface. on its Weariness has, in fact, won in this room.Everything hasbeen polished, washed, sat on, used, scrubbed too often. Allpretenses but living itself have long since vanished from very atmosphere the of this room. Moreover, a sectionof this room, it is not aroom unto for really itself, though the landlord's lease would make itseemso,slopes backward to provide a small kitchen area, wherefamily prethe pares the meals that are eaten in the living room proper, which must also serve as dining room. The single windowthat has been provided for these "two" rooms is locatedin this kitchen area. The sole natural lightthe familymay in the course a day enjoy of is only that which fights it way through this little window. At left, a door leads to a bedroom which shared MAMA by is and her daughter, BENEATHA. At right, opposite,is asecond room (which in the beginningof of this apartment probably life the was the breakfast room) which serves aWALTER for as bedroom and his wife,RUTH. Time Sometime between World War II and the present. Place Chicago's South side. At rise It is morning darkin the living asleep TRAVIS room. is on the make-down bed at center. An alarm clock sounds from within the bedroom at right,and RUTH enters from that presently room and closes the door behind her.Shecrosses sleepily toward

A RAISININ THE SUN Act IScene the window. As shepasses hersleeping son she reaches down and shakes him a little. At the window she the raises shadeand a dusky Southside morning light comesfeebly. She in fills a pot with water and puts it on to boil. She to the boy,between yawns,in a calls slightlymuffled voice. RUTH is about thirty. We can seethat was a she pretty girl, even exceptionally so, but now it isapparent that little life hasbeen that she expected, and disappointment has alreadybegunto hang in her face. In a few years, thirty-five even, will before she be known among her people as a"settled woman." She crosses to her son andgiveshim a good,final, rousing shake. RUTH: Come on now, boy, it's seven thirty! (Her sits at son up last, in a stuporof sleepiness.)I sayhurry Travis! up, You ain't the only person in the world got to use a bathroom! (The child, a sturdy, handsome littleboy of ten oreleven, himself drags out of the bed and almost blindly takeshistowelsand "today's clothes" from drawers and a closetandgoesout to thebathroom, which is in an outside hallandwhichis shared another by family or families on the same floor. RUTHcrosses thebedto room door at right and opens it and in to herhusband.) calls Walter Lee! . . . It's seven thirty! Lemme see you do after some waking up in there now! (She waits.) Youbetter from get up there, man! It's after seven thirtyItell you. (She waits again.) All right, youjust go ahead and laythereandnext thingyou know Travis be finished and Mr. Johnson'll be inthere and you'll befussing and cussing round here likeamadman!And be late too! (She waits, at the end ofpatience.) Walter it's time for you to GET UP! She waits another second andthen starts to go into the bedroom, but is apparently satisfied thatherhusbandhasbegun get up. to She stops, pulls the door to, andreturns to thekitchen area. She wipes her face witha moist clothandruns fingers her through her sleep-disheveled hairin effort and ties apron around avain an her housecoat. The bedroom door at right opensand herhusband stands in the doorway in his pajamas, whicharerumpledand mismated. He is a lean, intense youngman in his middle thirties, inclined to quick nervous movements anderratic speech habits— and always in his voice there aquality indictment. is of 488


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WALTER: Is he out yet? RUTH: What you mean out? He ain't hardly got in there good yet. WALTER (wandering in, still more oriented to sleep than to a new day): Well, what was you doing all that yelling for if I can't even get in thereyet? (Stopping and thinking.) Check coming today? RUTH: They said Saturday and this is just Friday and I hopes to God you ain't going to get up here first thing this morning and start talking to me 'bout no money—'cause I 'bout do to hear it. WALTER: Something the matter with you this morning? RUTH: No—I'm just sleepy as the devil. What kind of eggs you want? WALTER: Not scrambled. (RUTH starts to scramble eggs.) Paper come? (RUTH points impatiently to the rolled up Tribune on the table, and he gets it and spreads it out and vaguely reads the front page.) Set off another bomb yesterday. RUTH (maximumindifference): Did they? WALTER (looking up): What's the matter with you? RUTH: Ain't nothing the matter with me. And don't keep asking me that this morning. WALTER: Ain't nobody bothering you. (reading the news of the day absently again) Say Colonel McCormick is sick. RUTH (affecting tea-party interest): Is he now? Poor thing. WALTER (sighing and looking at his watch): Oh, me. (He waits.) Now what is that boy doing in that bathroom all this time? He just going to have to start getting up earlier. I can't be to work on account of him fooling around in there. RUTH (turning on him): Oh, no he ain't going to be getting up no earlier no such thing! It ain't his fault that he can't no earlier nights 'cause he got a bunch of crazy good-for-nothing clowns sitting up running their mouths in what is supposed to be his bedroom after ten o'clock at night. .. WALTER: That's what you mad about, ain't it? The things I want to talk about with myfriendsjust couldn't be important in your mind, could they? He rises and finds a cigarette in her handbag on the 489 table and

A RAISIN THE SUN Act IScene IN crosses to the little window andlooks out, smokingand deeply enjoying this first one. RUTH (almost matterof factly,acomplaint automatic detoo to serve emphasis): Why youalways to got smoke before eat you in the morning? WALTER (at thewindow): Just look at'em down there . .Running . and racing to work . . . (He turnsfaces his watches and and wife her a moment at the stove,and then, suddenly) You look young this morning, baby. RUTH (indifferently): Yeah? WALTER: Justfor a second—stirringthem eggs. Just a for second it was—you looked real young again. reaches she (He for her; crosses away. Then, It's gone drily) now—you look like yourself again! RUTH: Man, if you don'tshutup andleave alone. me WALTER (looking out to thestreet again):First thing man a ought to learn in is not to make love to nocolored woman first life thing in the morning.You all some eeeevil peopleeight o'clock at in the morning. TRAVISappears in thehall doorway, almost and fullydressedquite wide awake now, histowelsandpajamas across shoulders. his He opens the door and signals his for father make bathroom to the in a hurry.) TRAVIS (watchingthe bathroom): Daddy, come on! WALTER gets his bathroom utensilsout to the bathroom. flies and RUTH: Sit down and have your breakfast, Travis. TRAVIS: Mama, this Friday, is (gleefully) Check coming tomorrow, huh? RUTH: You get your mind money eat off and your breakfast. TRAVIS(eating): This themorning supposed the fifty is we to bring cents to school. RUTH: Well, I ain't got no fiftycents this morning. TRAVIS: Teacher say wehave to. RUTH: I don't care what teacher say. got it. Eat ain't I your breakfast, Travis. TRAVIS: I am eating. RUTH: Hush up now and eat! just

Lorraine Hansberry The boy gives her an exasperated look for her lack of understanding, and eats grudgingly. TRAVIS: You think Grandmama would have it? RUTH: No! And I want you to stop asking your grandmother for money, you hear me? TRAVIS (outraged): Gaaaleee!I don'task her,she gimme just it sometimes! RUTH: Travis WillardYounger—I got too much on me this morning to be— TRAVIS: Mabe Daddy — RUTH: Travisl The boy hushes abruptly. They are seconds. both quiet and tense for several

TRAVIS (presently): CouldI maybe carry some groceries go front in of the supermarket for a little while after school then? RUTH: Just hush, I said. (Travis jabs his spoon into his cereal bowl viciously, and rests his head in anger upon his fists.) If you through eating, you can get over there and make your bed. The boy obeys stiffly and crosses the room, almost mechanically, to the bed and more or folds the bedding into a heap, then less angrily gets his books and cap. TRAVIS (sulking and standing apart from her unnaturally): I'm gone. RUTH (looking up from the stove to inspect him automatically): Come here. (He crosses to her and she studies his head.) If you don't take this comb and fix this here head,(TRAVIS you better! puts down his books with a great sigh oppression, and crosses of to the mirror. His mother mutters under her breath about his "slubbornness.") 'Bout to march out of here with that head looking just like chickens slept in it! just I don't know where you get your stubborn ways . . . And get your jacket, too. Looks chilly out this morning. TRAVIS (with conspicuously brushed hairand jacket): I'm gone. RUTH: Get carfare and milk money — (wavingone finger) —and not a single penny for no caps, you hear me? TRAVIS (with sullen politeness): Yes'm. He turns in outrage to leave. His

mother watcheshim as in after

A RAISININ THE SUN Act I Scene I his frustration he approaches the door almost comically. When she speaks to him, her voice has become very gentle tease. a RUTH (mocking, as she thinks he wouldsay it):Oh, Mama makes me so mad sometimes, I don't know what to do! (She waits and continues to his back as he stands stock-still in front of the door.) I wouldn't kiss that woman good-bye for nothing in this world this morning! (The boy finally turns around and rolls his eyes at her, knowing the mood has changed and he is vindicated; he does not, however, move toward her yet.) Not for nothing in this world! (She finally laughs aloud at him and holds out her arms to him and we see that it is a way between them, very old and practiced. He crosses to her and allows her to embrace him warmly but keeps his fixed face with masculine rigidity. She holds him back from her presently and looks at him and runs her fingers over thefeatures of his face. With utter gentleness—) Now—whose little old angry man are you? TRAVIS (the masculinityand gruffness start atlast.): fade to Aw gaalee—Mama . .. RUTH (mimicking): Aw—gaaaaalleeeee, Mama! (She pushes him, with rough playfulness and finality, toward the door.) Get on out of here or you going to be late. TRAVIS (in theface of love,newaggressiveness): Mama, could I please go carry groceries? RUTH: Honey, it's starting to get so cold evenings. WALTER (coming in from the bathroom and drawinga makebelieve gun from a make-believe holster and shooting at his son): What is it he wants to do? RUTH: Go carry groceriesafter school at the supermarket. WALTER: Well, let him go ... TRAVIS (quickly, to the ally): I haveto —she won't gimme fifty the cents . . . WALTER (to his only): Why not? wife RUTH (simply, and with flavor): 'Cause we don't have it. WALTER (to RUTHonly): Whatyou tell boy things like that the for? (Reaching down into his pants with a rather important gesture) Here, son — (He hands the boy the coin, but his are directedto his eyes wife's. TRAVIS takes the money happily.)

Lorraine Hansberry TRAVIS: Thanks, Daddy. He starts out. RUTH watches bothof them with murder in her eyes. WALTER stands and stares backat her with defiance,and suddenly reaches into his pocket again on an afterthought. WALTER (without even looking at his son, still staring hard at his wife): In fact, here's another fifty cents . . . Buy yourself some fruit today—or take a taxicab to school or something! TRAVIS: Whoopee — He leaps up and clasps his father around the middle withhis legs, and they face each other in mutual appreciation; slowly WALTER LEE peeks around the boy to catch the violent fromhis rays wife's eyes and draws his head backas shot. if WALTER: You better get downnow—and get to school, man. TRAVIS (at the door): O.K. Good-bye.(He exits.) WALTER (after him, pointing with pride): That'smy boy. (She looks at him in disgust and turns back to her work.) You know what I was thinking 'bout in the bathroom this morning? RUTH: No. WALTER: How come you always try to be so pleasant! RUTH: What is there to be pleasant 'bout! WALTER: You want to know what I was thinking 'bout in the bathroom or not! RUTH: I know what you thinking 'bout. WALTER (ignoring her): 'Bout whatme and Willy Harris was talking about last night. RUTH (immediately—a refrain): Willy Harris a good-for-nothing is loudmouth. WALTER: Anybody who talks to me has got to be a good-fornothing loudmouth, ain't he? And what you know about who is just a good-for-nothing loudmouth? Charlie Atkinswas just a "good-for-nothing loudmouth" too, wasn't he! When he wanted me to go in the dry-cleaning business with him. And now—he's grossing a hundred thousand a year. A hundred thousand dollars a year! You still call him a loudmouth! RUTH (bitterly): Oh, Walter Lee . . . She folds her head on her arms over the table. WALTER (rising and coming to her and standing over her):You tired, ain't you? Tired of everything. Me, the boy, the way we


A RAISIN THE SUN Act II IN Scene live—this beat-uphole—everything. Ain't you? (She doesn't look up, doesn't answer.) So tired—moaningand groaning all the time, but you wouldn't do nothing to help,would You you? couldn't be on my side that longfor nothing, could you? RUTH: Walter, please leave alone. me WALTER: A man needs a woman to back him up ... RUTH: Walter — WALTER: Mama would listento you.Youknow listen you she to more than she do me and Bennie.Shethink more you. of All you have to do is sit down withherwhen drinking your just you coffee one morning and talking 'bout things like and— you do (He sits down besideher and demonstrates graphically what he thinks her methods and tone should be.)—yousipyour cofjust fee, see, and say easy like thatyou been thinking 'boutthat deal Walter Lee is so interested in, 'boutthe storeand all,and sip some morecoffee, like what you saying ain't really that important toyou—And the next thingyouknow,she belistening good and asking you questionsand whenIcome home—I tell can her the details. This ain't no fly-by-nightproposition, baby.Imean we figured it out, me and Willyand Bobo. RUTH (witha frown):Bobo? WALTER: Yeah.You see, this little liquor store got inmind cost we seventy-five thousand and we figured the initial investment on the place be 'bout thirty thousand, see. That be ten thousand each. Course, there's a couple of hundred you got to pay so's you don't spend yourjust waitingfor them clowns let life to your licensegetapproved— RUTH: You mean graft? WALTER (frowning impatiently): Don't callthat. there, that it See just goes to show you what women understand abouttheworld. Baby, don't nothing happenfor you inthis world 'less you pay somebody off! RUTH: Walter, leave alone! (She her head stares me raises and at him vigorously—then says, more quietly.) Eatyour eggs, they gonna be cold. WALTER (straightening from and looking it. up her off): That's There you are. Man say to his woman: I got me adream.His woman say: Eat your eggs. (Sadly, butgaininginpower.) Man say: I got to take hold of this here world, baby! And awoman 494

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will say: Eat your eggs and go to work. (Passionately now.) Man say: I got to change my I'm choking to death, baby! life, And his woman say utter anguishas he brings fists down —(in his on his thighs)— Your eggs is getting cold! RUTH (softly): Walter, that ain't noneof our money. WALTER (not listeningat all or even lookingat This morning, her): I was lookin' in the mirror and thinking about it... I'm five years old; I been married eleven years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room —(very, veryquietly)—and all I got to give him is stories about how rich white people live . . . RUTH: Eat your eggs, Walter. WALTER (slams the table and jumps up): —DAMN — EGGS MY DAMN ALL THE EGGS THAT EVER WAS! RUTH: Then go to work. WALTER (looking up at her): See —I'm trying to talk to you 'bout myself— (shaking his head with the repetition)—and all you can say is eat them eggs and go to work. RUTH (wearily): Honey, you neversay nothing new.I listen you to every day, every night and every morning, and you never say nothing new. (shrugging) So you would rather be Mr. Arnold than be his chauffeur. So—I would rather be livingin Buckingham Palace. WALTER: That is just what is wrong with the colored womanin this world . . . Don't understand about building their men up and making 'em like they somebody. Like they can do somefeel thing. RUTH (drily, but to hurt): There are colored men who do things. WALTER: No thanks to the colored woman. RUTH: Well, being a colored woman, I guess I can't help myself none. She rises and gets the ironing board and sets it up and attacks a huge pile of rough-dried clothes, sprinkling them in preparation for the ironing and then rolling them into tight fat balls. WALTER (mumbling): We one group of men tied to a race of women with small minds! His sister BENEATHA enters.She is about twenty, as slimand intense as her brother. She is not as pretty as her sister-in-law, but her lean, almost intellectual has a handsomeness of its own.She face


A RAISININ THE SUN Act IScene wears a bright-red flannel nightie, and her thick hair stands wildly about her head. Her speechis a mixture many things; is of it different from the restof the family's aseducation insofar has permeated her sense of English—andperhapsthe Midwest rather than the South hasfinally—at last—won out in her inflection; but not altogether, because overall of it soft a is slurring and transformed use of vowels which thedecided of the is influence Southside. Shepasses through the room without looking at either RUTH or WALTERand goesto theoutside door and looks, a little blindly, out to the bathroom. She sees that it has been lost to the Johnsons. She closesthedoor witha sleepy vengeance crosses and to the table and sits down alittle defeated. BENEATHA: I am goingtostart timing those people. WALTER: You shouldget upearlier. BENEATHA (Her in herhands. is face She still fightingurge the to go back to bed.): Really—would yousuggest dawn? Where's the paper? WALTER (pushing the paper across table her as he the to studies her almost clinically,asthoughhe hasnever seen before): her You a horrible-looking chick atthis hour. BENEATHA (drily): Good morning, everybody. WALTER (senselessly): How is school coming? BENEATHA (in the same spirit): Lovely. Lovely. you know, And biology is the greatest, (lookingup athim) I dissected something that lookedjustlikeyouyesterday. WALTER: I just wondered you've madeyour mind everyif up and thing. BENEATHA(gaininginsharpness impatience): what I and And did answer yesterdaymorning—and day the before that? RUTH(from the ironing board,like someone disinterestedold): and Don't be so nasty, Bennie. BENEATHA(still to her brother): And the day before that the and day before that! WALTER (defensively): I'm interested you. Something wrong in with that? Ain't many girlswho decide— WALTER and BENEATHA unison):—"to a (in be doctor." (silence) WALTER: Have we figured out yet just exactly much medical how school is going to cost? 496

Lorraine Hansberry RUTH: Walter Lee, why don't you leave the girl alone and get out of here to work? BENEATHA (exits to the bathroom and bangs on the door): Come on out of there, please! (She comes back into the room.) WALTER (looking at his sister intently): You know the check is coming tomorrow. BENEATHA (turning on him with a sharpness all her own): That money belongs to Mama, Walter, and it's for her to decide how she wants to use it. I don't care if she wants to buy a house or a rocket ship or just nail it up somewhere and look at it. It's hers. Not ours—hers. WALTER (bitterly): Now ain't that fine! You just got your mother's interest at heart, ain't you, girl? You such a nice girl—but if Mama got that money she can always take a few thousand and help you through school too —can't she? BENEATHA: I have never asked anyone around here to do anything for me! WALTER: No! And the line between asking and just accepting when the time comes is big and wide —ain't it! BENEATHA (with fury): What do you want from me, Brother—that I quit school or just drop dead, which! WALTER: I don't want nothing but for you to stop acting holy 'round here. Me and Ruth done made some sacrifices for you— why can't you do something for the family? RUTH: Walter, don't be dragging me in it. WALTER: You are in it—Don't you get up and go work in somebody's kitchen for the last three years to help put clothes on her back? RUTH: Oh, Walter—that's not fair . . . WALTER: It ain't that nobody expects you to get on your knees and say thank you, Brother; thank you, Ruth; thank you, Mama —and thank you, Travis, for wearing the same pair of shoes for two semesters — BENEATHA (dropping to her knees): Well—I do —all right?—thank everybody! And forgive me for ever wanting to be anything at all! (pursuing him on her knees across the floor) FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE ME! RUTH: Please stop it! Your mama'll hear you. WALTER: Who the hell told you you had to be a doctor? If you so 497


crazy 'bout messing 'roundwith sick people—thengo be a nurse like other women—or just getmarried and be quiet. . . BENEATHA: Well—you finally got itsaid . . . It took you three yea but you finally got it said. Walter,giveup;leaveme alone—it's Mama's money. WALTER: He was my father, too! BENEATHA: So what? He was mine,too Travis' grand—and father—but the insurance money belongstoMama. Pickingon me is not going to make hergiveit to you toinvestin any liquor stores —(underbreath, dropping into —and for one chair) I a say, God bless Mama for that! WALTER (to RUTHJ: See—did hear? youhear! you Did RUTH: Honey, please go to work. WALTER: Nobody in this houseisever going understand to me. BENEATHA: Because you're nut. a WALTER: Who'sa nut? BENEATHA: You—youare anut. Thee mad, boy. is WALTER (looking at his and his sister from door,very wife the sadly): The world's most backward race of people, and that'sa fact. BENEATHA (turning slowlyin her Andthen there all chair): are those prophetswho would lead out (WAL-wilderness us of the — TER slams out of the house.)—into swamps! the RUTH: Bennie, why you always gottabepickin' your brother? on Can't you be a little sweeter sometimes? (Door opens. WALTER walks in. He fumbles with his starts tospeak, cap, clears throat, looks everywhere but at Finally:) RUTH. WALTER (to RUTH,):I need some money carfare. for RUTH (looks at him, then warms; teasing,tenderly): but Fifty cents? (She goes to her bag and gets money.) Here—take a taxi! WALTER exits. MAMA enters. is a woman early sixties, She in her full-bodied and strong.She is one of those women a of certain grace and beauty who wearit sounobtrusively thattakeswhile it a to notice. Her dark-brown is surrounded by the total face whiteness of her hair, and, beinga woman who adjustedto has many thingslife and overcome many more, in full face of her is strength. She has,we cansee,wit and of kind that keep faitha her 498

Lorraine Hansberry eyes lit and full of interest and expectancy. She is, in a word, a beautiful woman. Her bearing is perhaps most like the noble bearing of the women of the Hereros of Southwest Africa—rather as if she imagines that as she walks she still bears a basket or a vessel upon her head. Her speech, on the other hand, is as careless as her carriage is precise—she is inclined to slur everything—but her voice is perhaps not so much quiet as simply soft. MAMA: Who that 'round here slamming doors at this hour? She crosses through the room, goes to the window, opens it, and brings in a feeble little plant growing doggedly in a small pot on the window sill. She feels the dirt and puts it back out. RUTH: That was Walter Lee. He and Bennie was at it again. MAMA: My children and they tempers. Lord, if this little old plant don't get more sun than it's been getting it ain't never going to see spring again. (She turns from the window.) What's the matter with you this morning, Ruth? You looks right peaked. You aiming to iron all them things? Leave some for me. I'll get to 'em this afternoon. Bennie honey, it's too drafty for you to be sitting 'round half dressed. Where's your robe? BENEATHA: In the cleaners. MAMA: Well, go get mine and put it on. BENEATHA: I'm not cold, Mama, honest. MAMA: I know—but you so thin . . . BENEATHA (irritably): Mama, I'm not cold. MAMA (seeing the make-down bed as TRAVIS has left it): Lord have mercy, look at that poor bed. Bless his heart—he tries, don't he? She moves to the bed TRAVIS has sloppily made up. RUTH: No—he don't half try at all 'cause he knows you going to come along behind him and fix everything. That's just how come he don't know how to do nothing right now—you done spoiled that boy so. MAMA (folding bedding): Well—he's a little boy. Ain't supposed to know 'bout housekeeping. My baby, that's what he is. What you fix for his breakfast this morning? RUTH (angrily): I feed my son, Lena! MAMA: I ain't meddling— (underbreath; busy-bodyish) I just noticed all last week he had cold cereal, and when it starts getting 499

A RAISININ THE SUN Act IScene I this chilly in the a child ought to have some hot grits or fall something when he goes out in the cold— RUTH (furious)-. I gave him hot oats—is that right! all MAMA: I ain't meddling, (pause) Put a lot of nice butter it? on (RUTH shoots her an angry lookand does not He likes reply.) lots of butter. RUTH (exasperated):Lena— MAMA (To BENEATHA. MAMA inclined is to wander conversationally sometimes.): What was you and your brother fussing 'boutthis morning? BENEATHA: It's not important. Mama. She gets up and goes to look out at the bathroom, which is apparently free, and she picks up her towelsand rushes out. MAMA: What was they fighting about? RUTH: Now you know as wellas I do. MAMA (shakingher head): Brother still worrying hisself sick about that money? RUTH: You knowhe is. MAMA: You had breakfast? RUTH: Somecoffee. MAMA: Girl, you better start eating looking yourself and after better. You almost thin as Travis. RUTH: Lena — MAMA: Un-hunh? RUTH: What are you goingto do with it? MAMA: Now don't you start, child. It's too earlyin themorning to be talking about money. It ain't Christian. RUTH: It's just that he got his heartset on that store— MAMA: You mean that liquor store that Willy Harris want him to invest in? RUTH: Yes — MAMA: We ain't no business people, Ruth.justplain working We folks. RUTH: Ain't nobody business people till they into business. go Walter Lee say colored people ain't never goingtostart getting ahead till they start gamblingon some different kinds things of in the world—investmentsand things. 500

Lorraine Hansberry MAMA: What done got into you, girl? Walter Lee done finally sold you on investing. RUTH: No. Mama, something is happening between Walter and me. I don't know what it is—but he needs something—something I can't give him any more. He needs this chance, Lena. MAMA (frowning deeply): But liquor, honey — RUTH: Well—like Walter say—I spec people going to always be drinking themselves some liquor. MAMA: Well—whether they drinks it or not ain't none of my business. But whether I go into business selling it to 'em is, and I don't want that on my ledger this late in life, (stopping suddenly and studying her daughter-in-law) Ruth Younger, what's the matter with you today? You look like you could fall over right there. RUTH: I'm tired. MAMA: Then you better stay home from work today. RUTH: I can't stay home. She'd be calling up the agency and screaming at them, "My girl didn't come in today —send me somebody! My girl didn't come in!" Oh, she just have a fit... MAMA: Well, let her have it. I'll just call her up and say you got the fluRUTH (laughing): Why the flu? MAMA: 'Cause it sounds respectable to 'em. Something white people get, too. They know 'bout the flu. Otherwise they think you been cut up or something when you tell 'em you sick. RUTH: I got to go in. We need the money. MAMA: Somebody would of thought my children done all but starved to death the way they talk about money here late. Child, we got a great big old check coming tomorrow. RUTH (sincerely, but also self-righteously): Now that's your money. It ain't got nothing to do with me. We all feel like that— Walter and Bennie and me—even Travis. MAMA (thoughtfully, and suddenly very far away): Ten thousand dollars — RUTH: Sure is wonderful. MAMA: Ten thousand dollars. RUTH: You know what you should do, Miss Lena? You should take yourself a trip somewhere. To Europe or South America or someplace — 501

A RAISIN IN THE SUN Act I Scene I MAMA (throwing up her hands at the thought): Oh, child! RUTH: I'm serious. Just pack up and leave! Go on away and enjoy yourself some. Forget about the family and have yourself a ball for once in your life— MAMA (drily): You sound like I'm just about ready to die. Who'd go with me? What I look like wandering 'round Europe by myself? RUTH: Shoot—these here rich white women do it all the time. They don't think nothing of packing up they suitcases and piling on one of them big steamships and—swoosh!—they gone, child. MAMA: Something always told me I wasn't no rich white woman. RUTH: Well—what are you going to do with it then? MAMA: I ain't rightly decided. (Thinking. She speaks now with emphasis.) Some of it got to be put away for Beneatha and her schoolin' —and ain't nothing going to touch that part of it. Nothing. (She waits several seconds, trying to make up her mind about something, and looks at RUTH a little tentatively before going on.) Been thinking that we maybe could meet the notes on a little old two-story somewhere, with a yard where Travis could play in the summertime, if we use part of the insurance for a down payment and everybody kind of pitch in. I could maybe take on a little day work again, few days a week— RUTH (studying her mother-in-law furtively and concentrating on her ironing, anxious to encourage without seeming to): Well, Lord knows, we've put enough rent into this here rat trap to pay for four houses by now . . . MAMA (looking up at the words "rat trap9' and then looking around and leaning back and sighing—in a suddenly reflective mood—): "Rat trap"—yes, that's all it is. (smiling) I remember just as well the day me and Big Walter moved in here. Hadn't been married but two weeks and wasn't planning on living here no more than a year. (She shakes her head at the dissolved dream.) We was going to set away, little by little, don't you know, and buy a little place out in Morgan Park. We had even picked out the house, (chuckling a little) Looks right dumpy today. But Lord, child, you should know all the dreams I had 'bout buying that house and fixing it up and making me a little garden in the back— (She waits and stops smiling.) And didn't none of it happen, (dropping her hands in a futile gesture) 502,

Lorraine Hansberry RUTH (keeps her head down, ironing): Yes, life can be a barrel of disappointments, sometimes. MAMA: Honey, Big Walter would come in here some nights back then and slump down on that couch there and just look at the rug, and look at me and look at the rug and then back at me— and I'd know he was down then . . . really down. (After a second very long and thoughtful pause; she is seeing back to times that only she can see.) And then, Lord, when I lost that baby—little Claude—I almost thought I was going to lose Big Walter too. Oh, that man grieved hisself! He was one man to love his children. RUTH: Ain't nothin' can tear at you like losin' your baby. MAMA: I guess that's how come that man finally worked hisself to death like he done. Like he was fighting his own war with this here world that took his baby from him. RUTH: He sure was a fine man, all right. I always liked Mr. Younger. MAMA: Crazy 'bout his children! God knows there was plenty wrong with Walter Younger—hard-headed, mean, kind of wild with women—plenty wrong with him. But he sure loved his children. Always wanted them to have something—be something. That's where Brother gets all these notions, I reckon. Big Walter used to say, he'd get right wet in the eyes sometimes, lean his head back with the water standing in his eyes and 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 worth while." (She smiles.) He could talk like that, don't you know. RUTH: Yes, he sure could. He was a good man, Mr. Younger. MAMA: Yes, a fine man—just couldn't never catch up with his dreams, that's all. BENEATHA comes in, brushing her hair and looking up to the ceiling, where the sound of a vacuum cleaner has started up. BENEATHA: What could be so dirty on that woman's rugs that she has to vacuum them every single day? RUTH: I wish certain young women 'round here who I could name would take inspiration about certain rugs in a certain apartment I could also mention. 503

A RAISININ THE SUN Act IScene I BENEATHA(shrugging): How much cleaning a can house need, for Christ's sakes. MAMA (not liking the Lord's name used thus): Bennie! RUTH: Just listento her—just listen! BENEATHA: Oh God! MAMA: If you use the Lord'sname just more one time— BENEATHAbit of a whine): Oh, (a Mama— RUTH: Fresh—just as salt, this girl! fresh BENEATHA (drily): Well—if salt loses the savor— its MAMA: Now that will do. just ain't going tohaveyou 'round I here reciting the scripturesin vain—youhear me? BENEATHA: How did I manageto get oneverybody's wrong side by just walking into aroom? RUTH: If you weren't fresh— so BENEATHA: Ruth, I'm twenty years old. MAMA: What timeyou behome school today? from BENEATHA: Kindof late, (with enthusiasm) Madeline to is going start my guitar lessons today. (MAMA and RUTH lookup with same expression.) the MAMA: Your what kind lessons? of BENEATHA: Guitar. RUTH: Oh, Father! MAMA: How come you done takenit in your mind learn play to to the guitar? BENEATHA: Ijust want to, that'sall. MAMA (smiling): Lord, child, don't know what get of you to tired this now—like you got tiredofthat littledowith yourself?How long it going to be beforeyouplay-acting groupyou joined last year? (looking at And what RUTH) was it theyear before that? RUTH: The horseback-riding club which bought that for she fiftyfive-dollar riding habit that's been hangingin thecloset ever since! MAMA (to BENEATHA): Why you got to flitfrom thing soone to another, baby? BENEATHA (sharply): justwant learn play guitar. I to to the Is there anything wrong with that? MAMA: Ain't nobody trying stop you. wonders sometimes to just I why you has to flit so from one thing toanother all thetime. 504

Lorraine Hansberry You ain't never done nothing with all that camera equipment you brought home — BENEATHA: I don't I experiment with —I flit! different of forms expression— RUTH: Like ridinga horse? BENEATHA: —People have to express themselvesone way or another. MAMA: What is it you want to express? BENEATHA (angrily):(MAMA look each other Me! and RUTH at and burst into raucous laughter.} Don't worry—I don't expect you to understand. MAMA (to change the subject): Who you goingout with tomorrow night? BENEATHA (with displeasure): George Murchison again. MAMA (pleased): Oh—you getting little sweet him? a on RUTH: You ask me, this child ain't sweet on nobodybut herself— (underbreath) Express herself! (They laugh.) BENEATHA: Oh—I like Georgeall right, Mama.I mean like I him enough to go out with him and but— stuff, RUTH (for devilment): What does mean? stuff and BENEATHA: Mind your own business. MAMA: Stop picking at her now, Ruth. (She chuckles—thena suspicious sudden look at her daughter as she turns in her chairfor emphasis.) What DOES it mean? BENEATHA (wearily): Oh, Ijust meanI couldn't ever really be serious about George. He's—he's so shallow. RUTH: Shallow—what do you mean he's shallow? He's Rich! MAMA: Hush, Ruth. BENEATHA: I know he's rich. He knows he's rich, too. RUTH: Well—what other qualities a man got to have satisfy to you, little girl? BENEATHA: You wouldn't even begin to understand. Anybody who married Walter could not possibly understand. MAMA (outraged): What kind of way is that to talk about your brother? BENEATHA: Brotheris a flip—let's it. face MAMA (to RUTH,helplessly): What'sflip? a



RUTH (glad to add kindling): She's saying he's crazy. BENEATHA: Not crazy. Brother isn't really yet—-he—he'san crazy elaborate neurotic. MAMA: Hush your mouth! BENEATHA: As for George. Well. George looks good—he's got a beautiful car and he takes me to nice places and, as my sisterin-law says, he is probably the richest boy I will ever get to know and I even like him sometimes if the Youngersare sitting —but around waiting to see if their little Bennie is going to tie up the family with the Murchisons, they are wasting their time. RUTH: You mean you wouldn't marry George Murchison if he asked you someday? That pretty, rich thing? Honey, I knew you was odd— BENEATHA: No I would not marry him if all Ifor him was felt what Ifeel now. Besides, George's family wouldn't really like it. MAMA: Why not? BENEATHA: Oh, Mama—The Murchisons are honest-to-God-reallive-rich colored people, and the only people in the world w are more snobbish than rich white people are rich colored people. I thought everybody knew that. I've met Mrs. Murchison. She's a scene! MAMA: You must not dislike people 'cause they well off, honey. BENEATHA: Why not? It makes just as much sense as disliking people 'cause they are poor, and lots of people do that. RUTH (A wisdom-of-the-ages manner. To Well, she'll MAMA.J: get over some of this — BENEATHA: Get over it? What are you talking about, Ruth? Listen, I'm going to be a doctor. I'm not worried about who I'm going to marryyet—if I ever get married. MAMAandRUTH: If! MAMA: Now, Bennie — BENEATHA: Oh, I probably will. . . but first I'm going to be a doctor, and George, for one, still thinks that's pretty funny. I couldn't be bothered with that. I am going to be a doctor and everybody around here better understand that! MAMA (kindly): 'Course you going to be a doctor, honey, God willing. BENEATHA(drily): God hasn't got a thing to do with it. 506

Lorraine Hansberry MAMA: Beneatha—that just wasn't necessary. BENEATHA: Well—neitheris God.I get sick hearing about God. of MAMA: Beneatha! BENEATHA: I mean it! I'm just tired of hearing aboutGod all the time. What has He got to do with anything? Does he pay tuition? MAMA: You 'bout to get your fresh little jaw slapped! RUTH: That's just what she needs, all right! BENEATHA: Why? Why can't I say what I want to around here, like everybodyelse? MAMA: It don't sound nicefor a young girlto say things like that— you wasn't brought up that way. Me and your father went to trouble to get you and Brother to church every Sunday. BENEATHA: Mama, you don't understand. It's all a matter of ideas, and God is just one idea I don't accept. It's not important. I am not going out and be immoral or commit crimes because I don't believe in God. I don't even think about it. It's just that I get tired of Him getting credit for all the things the human race achieves through its own stubborn effort. There simply is no blasted God—there is only man and it is he who makes miracles! MAMA absorbs this speech, studies her daughterand rises slowly and crossesBENEATHAandslapsher powerfully across to face. the After, there is only silence and the daughter dropsher eyes from her mother's face, and is very tall MAMA before her. MAMA: Now—you say after me, in my mother's house thereis still God. (There is a long pause and BENEATHA stares the at floor wordlessly. MAMA repeats the phrase with precision and cool emotion.) In my mother's house there is still God. BENEATHA: In my mother's house there still God.(a long pause) is MAMA (walking away BENEATHA,too disturbed triumfrom for phant posture. Stopping and turning back to her daughter.): There are some ideas we ain't going to have in this house. Not as long as I am at the head of this family. BENEATHA: Yes, ma'am. (MAMA walksout of the room.) RUTH (almost gently, with profound understanding): You think you a woman, Bennie —but you still a little girl. What you did was childish —so you got treated like a child. BENEATHA: I see. (quietly) I alsosee that everybody thinks it's all


A RAISIN THE SUN Act IIScene IN right for Mama to be a tyrant.But all thetyranny the in world will never put a God in the heavens! (She picks her books up and goes out. Pause.) RUTH (goes to MAMA'S door):Shesaid was sorry. she MAMA (coming out,goingto herplant): They frightens Ruth. me, My children. RUTH: You got good children, Lena. They offsomejust alittle times—but they're good. MAMA: No—there's something come down between and me them that don't let us understand each other and I don't know what it is. One done almost lost hismind thinking 'bout money all the time and the other done commence totalk about thingsI can't seem to understand in noformorfashion. Whatis it that's changing, Ruth? RUTH (soothingly, older than her years): Now . . . you taking it all too seriously. You got strong-willed childrenand it just takes a strong woman like you to keep 'em inhand. MAMA (looking at her plantand sprinkling little water it): a on They spirited all right, my children. Got to admit they got spirit—Bennie and Walter. Like this littleoldplant that ain't never had enough sunshine or nothing—andlook at it... She has her back to who has had tostop ironing lean RUTH, and against something and put thebackof herhandto herforehead. RUTH (trying to keep from noticing): You . . sure . . loves MAMA . . that little old thing, don'tyou? . . . MAMA: Well, I always wanted agarden like to see me I used sometimes at the back of the houses down home. This plant close is as I ever got to having one. (She looksout of the window as she replaces the plant.) Lord, ain't nothingas dreary the as view from this window on a dreary day,isthere? ain't Why you singing this morning, Ruth? Sing that "No Ways Tired." That song always me up so lifts —(She turns last seethat at RUTH to has slipped quietlyto the floor,in astate semiconsciousness.) of Ruth! Ruth honey—what's thematter with you . . Ruth! .


It is the following morning; a Saturday morning, house and cleaning is in progress at the YOUNGERS. Furniture been shoved has hither and yon MAMA isgivingthe kitchen-area awashand walls ing down. BENEATHA, in dungarees, with handkerchief tied a around herface, isspraying insecticide into cracks the the in walls. As they work, the radio is on and aSouthside disk-jockey program is inappropriatelyfilling the house witharather exoticsaxophone blues. TRAVIS, the sole idle one,isleaning his arms, on looking out of the window. TRAVIS: Grandmama, that Bennie stuff isusing smells awful. Can I go downstairs, please? MAMA: Did you get allthem chores done already? ain't you I seen doing much. TRAVIS: Yes'm —finished early. Where Mama this morning? did go MAMA (looking at BENEATHA,): She had to go on alittle errand. The phone rings. BENEATHA runstoanswer andreaches it before it WALTER, who has entered from bedroom. TRAVIS: Where? MAMA: To tend to her business. BENEATHA: Haylo . . . (disappointed) Yes, he is. (She tosses the phone to WALTER, who barely catches it.) It's Willie Harris again. WALTER (as privately possibleMAMA'Sgaze): Hello, Wilas under lie. Did you get the papers from thelawyer? . . . No, not yet. I told you the mailman doesn't gethere till ten-thirty . . . No, I'll come there . . . Yeah! Right away. (He hangs up and goes for his coat.) BENEATHA: Brother, wheredid Ruth go? WALTER (as he exits):How shouldknow! I TRAVIS: Aw come on, Grandma.Can I gooutside? MAMA: Oh, I guess so. Youstay rightinfrontof the house, though, and keep a good lookout for the postman. TRAVIS: Yes'm. (He darts into bedroom stickball for and bat, reenters, and sees BENEATHAon her knees spraying sofa under with behind upraised. He edges closer to thetarget,takes aim, and lets her have it. Shescreams.) Leave them poor little cock509

A RAISIN THE SUN ActIII IN Scene roaches alone, they ain't bothering none! runs she you (He as swings thespray gun at himviciously playfully.) Grandma! and Grandma! MAMA: Lookout there, girl, you be before spilling some of that stuff on that child! TRAVIS (safely behind bastion That's the MAMA): of right—look out, now! (He exits.) BENEATHA (drily): Ican't imagine that it wouldhim—it hurthas never hurt the roaches. MAMA: Well, little boys' hides ain'ttough as as Southside roaches. You better getover there behind the seenmarching I out of there like Napoleon yesterday. BENEATHA: There's really only one way to get rid of them, Mama— MAMA: How? BENEATHA: Set fire tothis building! Mama, where go? did Ruth MAMA (lookingat herwith meaning):To the doctor, think. I BENEATHA: The doctor? What's matter? exchange the (They glances.) You don't think— MAMA (withhersense of drama): Now ain't saying what I think. I But I ain't never been wrong 'bout woman neither. (The phone a rings.) BENEATHA (at thephone): Hay-lo (pause, a moment ..and . of recognition.) Well—when did you get back! . . . And how was it? ... Ofcourse I've missed you—in my way . . . morning? This No . . . house cleaning and all that and Mama hates it if I let people come over when the house is this . . . You like have? Well, that's different... What it—Oh,whatthe is hell, come on over .. . Right, see you then. Arrividerci. (She hangs up.) MAMA (whohas listened vigorously, is habit): is that as her Who

you inviting over here with this house looking like this? Yo ain't got the pride you was born with! BENEATHA: Asagai doesn't care how houses look Mama—he's an intellectual. MAMA: Who? BENEATHA: Asagai— Joseph Asagai. He's an African boy I met on campus. He's beenstudying in Canada all summer. MAMA: What's his name? BENEATHA: Asagai, Joseph. Ah-sah-guy . .He's from Nigeria. .

Lorraine Hansberry MAMA: Oh, that's the little country that was founded by slaves way back . . . BENEATHA: No, Mama—that's Liberia. MAMA: I don't think I nevermet no African before. BENEATHA: Well, do me a favor and don't ask him a wholelot of ignorant questions about Africans. I mean, do they wear clothes and all that— MAMA: Well, now, I guessif you thinkwe so ignorant 'round here maybe you shouldn't bring your friends here — BENEATHA: It'sjust that people ask such crazy things.All anyone seems to know about when it comesAfrica is Tarzan to — MAMA (indignantly): Why should know anything about I Africa? BENEATHA: Why do you give moneyat churchfor the missionary work? MAMA: Well, that's to help save people. BENEATHA: You mean save them from heathenism — MAMA (innocently): Yes. BENEATHA: I'm afraid they need more salvation the from British and the French. RUTH comes in forlornlyand pullscoat with dejection. off her They both turn to look at her. RUTH (dispiritedly): Well, guess all the happy I from faces—everybody knows. BENEATHA: You pregnant? MAMA: Lord have mercy, I sure hope it's a little old girl. Travis ought to have a sister. BENEATHA and RUTH give her a hopeless look for this grandmotherly enthusiasm. BENEATHA: How far alongare you? RUTH: Two months. BENEATHA: Did you mean to? I mean did you planit or was it an accident? MAMA: What do you know about planning or not planning? BENEATHA: Oh, Mama. RUTH (wearily): She's twenty years old, Lena. BENEATHA: Did you plan it, Ruth? RUTH: Mind your own business. BENEATHA: It is mybusiness—whereis he goingto live, the on

A RAISININ THE SUN Act I Scene II roof? (There is silence following the remark as the three women react to the sense of it.) Gee—I didn't mean that, Ruth, honest. Gee, I don'tfeel like that atI—I think it is wonderful. all. RUTH (dully): Wonderful. BENEATHA: Yes—really. MAMA (looking at RUTH, worried): Doctor say everything going to be all right? RUTH (far away): Yes—she says everything is going to be fine . . . MAMA (immediately suspicious): "She"—What doctor you went to? RUTH folds over, near hysteria. MAMA (worriedly hovering RUTH): Ruthhoney—what's over the matter withyou—you sick? RUTH has her fists clenched on her thighsand is fighting hardto suppress a scream that seems to be rising in her. BENEATHA: What's the matter with her, Mama? MAMA (working her RUTH'S shoulders relax her): fingersin to She be all right. Women gets right depressed sometimes when they get her way. (speakingsoftly, expertly, rapidly) Now you just relax. That's right. . just lean back, . don't think 'bout nothing at a l l . . . nothing all— at RUTH: I'm all right. . . The glassy-eyed look meltsand thenshe collapses intoof heavy a fit sobbing. The bell rings. BENEATHA: Oh, myGod—that mustbe Asagai. MAMA (to RUTH): Come on now, honey.You needto lie down and rest awhile . . . then have some nice hot food. They exit, RUTH'S weighton her mother-in-law.herself BENEATHA, profoundly disturbed, opens the door to admit a rather dramaticlooking young man with large package. a ASAGAI: Hello, Alaiyo — BENEATHA (holding the door open and regarding him with pleasure): Hello . . . (long pause)Well—come in. And please excuse everything. My mother was very upset about my letting anyone come here with the place like this. ASAGAI (coming into the room): You look disturbed too something wrong?

Lorraine Hansberry

BENEATHA:(still at the door, absently): Yes . . . we've all got acute ghetto-itus. (She smiles and comes toward him, finding a cigarette and sitting.) So—sit down! No! Wait! (She whips the spraygun offsofa where she left it and puts had the cushions back. At last perches on arm sofa. He sits.) So, how was of Canada? ASAGAI (a sophisticate): Canadian. BENEATHA (looking at him): Asagai, I'm very glad you are back. ASAGAI (looking back at her in turn):Are you really? BENEATHA: Yes—very. ASAGAI: Why?—you were quite glad when I went away. What happened? BENEATHA: You went away. ASAGAI: Ahhhhhhhh. BENEATHA: Before—you wanted to be so serious before there was time. ASAGAI: How much time must there be before one knows what one feels? BENEATHA (Stalling this particular conversation. Her hands pressed together, in a deliberately childish gesture.): What did you bring me? ASAGAI (handing her the package): Openit and see. BENEATHA (eagerly opening the package and drawing out some records and thecolorful robes of a Nigerian woman): Oh, Asagai! . . . You got them for me! . . . How beautiful. . . and the records too! (She out the robes and runs to the mirror lifts with them and holds thedrapery up in frontof herself.) ASAGAI (coming to her at the mirror): I shall have to teach you how to drape it properly. (He flings the material about her for the moment and stands back to look at her.) Ah —Oh-pay-gay day, oh-gbah-mu-shay. (a Yoruba exclamationfor admiration) You wear it well. . . very well. . . mutilated hair and all. BENEATHA (turning suddenly): Myhair—what's wrong with my hair? ASAGAI (shrugging): Wereyou born withit like that? BENEATHA (reaching up to touch it): No . . . of course n looks back to the mirror, disturbed.) ASAGAI (smiling): How then?

A RAISIN THE SUN Act IScene IN II BENEATHA: You know perfectly well h o w . . . as crinkly as yours . . . that's how. ASAGAI: And it isugly youthat to way? BENEATHA (quickly): Oh, no—notugly . . .(more slowly, apologetically) But it's sohard tomanage when it's, well—raw. ASAGAI: And so to accommodate that—youmutilate it every week? BENEATHA: It's not mutilation! ASAGAI (laughing aloud at herseriousness): Oh . .please! I am . only teasing you because you are sovery serious about these things. (He stands back fromher and his folds arms across his chest as he watches herpulling at her and hair frowningin the mirror.) Do you remember the firsttime you met me at school? . . . (He laughs.) Youcame up to me and you said— and I thought you were themost serious little thingI had ever seen—you said: (He imitates her.) "Mr. Asagai—I want very much to talk with you. About Africa. You Mr. see, Asagai, am I looking for my identity!" (Helaughs.) BENEATHA (turning to him, — not laughing):(Her .Yesis face quizzical, profoundly disturbed.) ASAGAI (still teasingand reaching andtaking his out face her in hands and turning her profile tohim): W e l l . . .it is true that this is not so much a profileof aHollywood queen perhaps as a queen of the Nile— (a mockdismissal theimportance of of the question) But what doesitmatter? Assimilationism so is popular in your country. BENEATHA (wheeling, passionately, sharply):I am not an assimilationist! ASAGAI (the protest hangs the room ASAGAI and in for a moment studies her, his laughter fading): Sucha serious one. (There is a pause.) So—you likethe robes? must take excellent care You of them—they are mysister's personal wardrobe. from BENEATHA (with incredulity): You—you all the— home sent way for me? ASAGAI (with charm): For would do you—I much more . .Well, . that is what I came for.Imust go. BENEATHA: Willyou call Monday? me ASAGAI: Yes . . . Wehave agreat deal to talk about. mean about I identity and time and all that.

Lorraine Hansberry BENEATHA: Time? ASAGAI: Yes. About how much time one needs to know what one feels. BENEATHA: You see!You never understood that there more than is one kind of feeling which can exist between a man and a woman—or, at least, there should be. ASAGAI (shaking his head negatively but gently): No. Betweena man and a woman there need be only one kindfeeling.I have of that for you . . . Now even . . . right this moment. .. BENEATHA: I know—anditself—it won't by do. I can find that anywhere. ASAGAI: For a woman it should be enough. BENEATHA: I know—because that's what it says in all the novels that men write. But it isn't. Go ahead and laugh I'm not —but interested in being someone's little episode in America or—(with feminine vengeance) —one of (ASAGAI has burst into them! laughter again.) That's funny as hell, huh! ASAGAI: It's just that every American girl have known said I has that to me. White —black—in this you are all the same. And the same speech, too! BENEATHA (angrily): Yuk, yuk, yuk! ASAGAI: It's how you can be sure that the world's most liberated women are not liberated at all. You all talk about it too much! MAMA enters and is immediatelyall social charm because the of presence of a guest. BENEATHA: Oh—Mama is Mr. Asagai. —this
MAMA: How do you do?

ASAGAI (total politeness to an elder): How do you do, Mrs. Younger. Pleaseforgive me for coming at such an outrageous hour on a Saturday. MAMA: Well, you are quite welcome. I hopeyou understand just that our house don't always look likethis, (chatterish) You must come again. I would love to hear all about— (not sureof the name)—your country. I think it's so sad the way our American Negroes don't know nothing about Africa 'cept Tarzan and all that. And all that money they pour into these churches when they ought to be helping you people over there drive out them French and Englishmen done taken away your land.

A RAISININ THE SUN Act I Scene II The motherflashes a slightly superior look at her daughter upon completion of the recitation. ASAGAI (taken aback by this suddenand acutely unrelated expression of sympathy): Yes . . . yes . . . MAMA (smiling at him suddenly and relaxing and looking him over): How many miles is it from here to whereyou come from? ASAGAI: Many thousands. MAMA (looking at him as sheWALTERJ:I bet you would don't half look after yourself, being away from your mama either.I spec you better come 'round here from time to time to get yourself some decent home-cooked meals . .. ASAGAI (moved): Thank you. Thankyou very much. (They are all quiet, then—) Well... I must go. I will call you Monday, Alaiyo. MAMA: What's that he call you? ASAGAI: Oh—"Alaiyo." I hope you don't mind. It is what you would call a nickname, I think. It is a Yoruba word. I am a Yoruba. MAMA (lookingat BENEATHAJ: thought was I—I he from—(uncertain) ASAGAI (understanding): Nigeriais my country. Yoruba my is tribal origin— BENEATHA: You didn't tell us what Alaiyo means know, you might be calling me Little Idiot or something . .. ASAGAI: W e l l . . . let me see ... I do not know how to explain just i t . . . The sense of a thing can be different when it changes so languages. BENEATHA: You're evading. ASAGAI: No—really it difficult. . . (thinking) It means is means One for Whom Bread—IsNot Enough. (He looks —Food at her.) Is that allright? BENEATHA (understanding, softly): Thank you. MAMA (looking from one to the other and not understanding any of it): Well. . . that's nice . . . You must come see us again— Mr. ASAGAI: Ah-sah-guy . . . MAMA: Yes . . . Do come again. ASAGAI: Good-bye. (Re exits.)



Lorraine Hansberry MAMA (after him): Lord, that's a pretty thing wentout here! just (insinuatingly, to her daughter) Yes, I guess I see why we done commence to get so interested in Africa 'round here. Missionaries my aunt Jenny! (She exits.) BENEATHA: Oh, Mama! . .. She picks up the Nigerian dress and holds it up to her in front of the mirror again. She sets the headdress on haphazardly and then notices her hair again and clutches at it and then replaces the headdress and frowns at herself. Then she starts to wrigglein front of the mirror as she thinks a Nigerian woman TRAVISmight. enters and stands regarding her. TRAVIS: What's the matter girl,you crackingup?

She pulls the headdressand looksherself in the mirror off at and clutches at her hair again and squinchesher eyes if trying as to imagine something. Then, suddenly, she gets her raincoat and kerchief and hurriedly prepares for going out. MAMA (coming back into the room): She's resting now. Travis, baby, run next door and ask Miss Johnson to please let me have a little kitchen cleanser. This here can is empty as Jacob's kettle. TRAVIS: I just camein. MAMA: Do as you told. (He exits and she looks at her daughter.) Where you going? BENEATHA (halting at the door): To becomea queenof the Nile! She exits in a breathless blazeof glory. in the RUTH appears bedroom doorway. MAMA: Who told you to get up? RUTH: Ain't nothing wrong with me to be lying in no bed for. Where did Benniego? MAMA (drumming her fingers): Far as I could make out—to Egypt. (RUTH just looks at her.) What time is it getting to? RUTH: Ten twenty. And the mailman going to ring that bell this morning just like he done every morning for the last umpteen years. TRAVIS comes in with the cleanser can. TRAVIS: She say to tell you that she don't have much. MAMA (angrily): Lord, some peopleI could name sure tightis

A RAISININ THE SUN Act IScene II fisted! (directing her grandson) Mark two cansof cleanser down on the list there. If she that hardup forkitchen cleanser, I sure don't want to forget to get her none! RUTH: Lena—maybethe woman short just cleanser— is on MAMA (not listening):—Much baking powderas shedone borrowed from me all these years,she couldofdone gone intothe baking business! The bell sounds suddenly and sharply and all three are stunned—serious and silent—mid-speech. spite all theother In of conversations and distractionsof the morning, this what they is have been waitingfor,TRAVIS,who looks even helplessly from his mother to his grandmother. the first to come RUTHis life to again. RUTH (to TRAVIS,): Get down them steps, boy! to (TRAVIS snaps life andflies out to get the mail.) MAMA (hereyes wide,her hand her to breast): meandone You it really come? RUTH (excited): Oh, Miss Lena! MAMA (collecting herself): Well...I don'tknow what all so we excited about 'round here for. We known it was coming for months. RUTH: That's a wholelot different having come being from it and able to hold it in your hands . . . apiece ofpaper worth thousand dollars (TRAVIS bursts back into the ... room. He holds the envelope high abovehis head, like little dancer, a his face is radiantand he is breathless. moves his grandmother He to with sudden slow ceremony and puts the envelope into her hands. She accepts it, and then merely holdsit andlooks it.) at Come on! Open i t . . . Lord have mercy, Iwish Walter Lee was here! TRAVIS: Open it, Grandmama! MAMA (staring at it):Now you all be quiet. It'scheck. just a RUTH: Open i t . . . MAMA (still staring it): Now don't act . . . Weain't never at silly been no people to act silly 'bout money— no RUTH (swiftly): We ain't neverhad none before—OPEN IT! MAMAfinally makesa good strong tear pulls thethin blue and out 518

Lorraine Hansberry slice of paper and inspectsit closely. The boy and hismother study it raptly over MAMA'S shoulders. MAMA: Travis! (She countingwith doubt.) that right is off Is the number of zeros? TRAVIS: Yes'm . . . tenthousand dollars. Gaalee, Grandmama, you rich. MAMA (She holds the check away from her, still looking it. at Slowly herface sobers intoa maskofunhappiness.):Tenthousand dollars. (She handsit to Put it away somewhere, RUTH.) Ruth. (She does not lookat her eyes seem beseeing RUTH; to something somewhere off.) far thousand dollars they veryTen give you. Ten thousand dollars. TRAVIS (to his mother, sincerely): What's matter with Grandthe mama—don't she want to be rich? RUTH (distractedly): You go on out and play now, baby. (TRAVIS exits.MAMA starts wiping dishes absently, hummingintently to herself. RUTH turns to her, with kind exasperation.) You've gone and got yourself upset. MAMA (not looking at her):I spec it wasn't you if for a l lI . . . would just put that money away or give it to the church or something. RUTH: Now what kindof talkisthat.Mr. Younger would just be plain mad if he could hearyou talking foolish like that. MAMA (stopping and staring off): Yes . .hesure would, . (sighing) We got enough to do with that money, allright. (She halts then, and turns and looks at her daughter-in-law avoids RUTH hard; her eyes and MAMA wipesher hands with and starts finality to speak firmly RUTH.,) Wheredid you go today, to girl? RUTH: To the doctor. MAMA (impatiently): Now, Ruth . . . youknow better than that. Old Doctor Jones is strange enough in his way butthere ain't nothing 'bout him make somebody slipand callhim — "she" like you done this morning. RUTH: Well, that's what happened—my tongue slipped. MAMA: You went to see that woman, didn't you? RUTH (defensively, giving away): What woman talking herself you about?

A RAISIN THE SUN Act II IN Scene I MAMA (angrily): That woman —(WALTERenters exwho in great citement.) WALTER: Did it come? MAMA (quietly): Can'tyougive people a Christian greeting before you start asking about money? WALTER (to RUTH):Did it come? (RUTH thecheck unfolds and lays it quietly before him,watchinghimintently with thoughts of her own. WALTERsits down grasps andcounts and itclose off the zeros.) Ten thousand dollars—(Heturns suddenly, frantically to his mother and draws some papers of his out breast pocket.) Mama—look. OldWilly Harrisput everything paon per— MAMA: Son think youought totalk towife . . I'll go on —I your . out and leaveyou alone you if want— WALTER: I can talk her to later—Mama, look— MAMA: Son— WALTER: WILL SOMEBODY PLEASE LISTEN ME TO TODAY! MAMA (quietly): I don't 'low yellin'thishouse, no in Walter Lee, and you know it—(WALTER stares them frustration at in and starts to speak several times.) Andthere ain't goingto be no investing in no liquor stores. WALTER: But, Mama,youain't even looked it. at MAMA: I don'taim tohave speak that to on again,long pause) (a WALTER: You ain't lookedat it and you don't to to aim have speak on that again? You ain't even lookedat it and you dehave cided— (crumpling his papers) Well,youtell that my boy to tonight when you put him tosleep on the living-room couch . . . (turning to MAMAand speaking directlyher) to Yeah—and tell it to mywife, Mama, tomorrow when has to go out of she here to look after somebody else's kids.Andtellit to me, Mama, every time we need a newpair ofcurtainsand have watch I to you go and work insomebody's kitchen. Yeah, tell then! you me (WALTER starts out.) RUTH: Whereyou going? WALTER: I'm going out! RUTH: Where? WALTER: Justout of this house somewhere — RUTH (gettingher coat): I'll come too. WALTER: I don't wantyou tocome!

Lorraine Hansberry RUTH: I got something to talk to you about, Walter. WALTER: That's too bad. MAMA (still quietly): Walter Lee—(She waits and be finally turns and looks at her.) Sit down. WALTER: I'm a grown man, Mama. MAMA: Ain't nobody said you wasn't grown. But you still in my house and my presence. And as long as you are—you'll talk to your wife civil. Now sit down. RUTH (suddenly): Oh, let him go on out and drink himself to death! He makes me sick to my stomach! (She flings her coat against him and exits to bedroom.) WALTER (violently flinging the coat after her): And you turn mine too, baby! (The door slams behind her.) That was my biggest mistake— MAMA (still quietly): Walter, what is the matter with you? WALTER: Matter with me? Ain't nothing the matter with me! MAMA: Yes there is. Something eating you up like a crazy man. Something more than me not giving you this money. The past few years I been watching it happen to you. You get all nervous acting and kind of wild in the eyes —(WALTER jumps up impatiently at her words.) I said sit there now, I'm talking to you! WALTER: Mama—I don't need no nagging at me today. MAMA: Seem like you getting to a place where you always tied up in some kind of knot about something. But if anybody ask you 'bout it you just yell at 'em and bust out the house and go out and drink somewheres. Walter Lee, people can't live with that. Ruth's a good, patient girl in her way —but you getting to be too much. Boy, don't make the mistake of driving that girl away from you. WALTER: Why—what she do for me? MAMA: She loves you. WALTER: Mama —I'm going out. I want to go off somewhere and be by myself for a while. MAMA: I'm sorry 'bout your liquor store, son. It just wasn't the thing for us to do. That's what I want to tell you about— WALTER: I got to go out, Mama— (He rises.) MAMA: It's dangerous, son. WALTER: What's dangerous? MAMA: When a man goes outside his home to look for peace.

A RAISIN THE SUN Act IScene IN II WALTER (beseechingly): Then why can't there never no be peace in this house then? MAMA: You done foundit insome other house? WALTER: No—thereain'tnowoman!Why do women always think there's a woman somewhere when a mangetsrestless, (picks up the check) Do you know what this money means me? Do to you know what this moneycan do for (putsit back) us? Mama—Mama—I want somany things ... MAMA: Yes,— son WALTER: I want so many things that they driving kind are me of crazy . . . Mama—look at me. MAMA: I'm looking at you. You agood-looking boy. You got a job, a nice wife,a fine boy and— WALTER: A job. (looksat her) Mama,Iopen close job? and a car doors all day long. I drivea man aroundin his limousine and I say, "Yes, sir; no, sir; very good,sir; shall take the I Drive, sir?" Mama, that ain't nokind of job . . . that ain't nothing at all. (very quietly) Mama, I don'tknowif I canmake unyou derstand. MAMA: Understand what, baby? WALTER(quietly): Sometimes it's likecan see the I future stretched out in front of me—just plainasday. future,Mama. HangThe ing over there at the edgeof mydays. Just waiting me —a for big, looming blank space—full of nothing. Just waitingfor me. But it don't have to be.(Pause. Kneeling besideherchair.) Mama—sometimes when I'm downtown and I pass them cool, quiet-looking restaurants where them white boys are sitting back and talking 'bout things . . . sitting there turning deals worth millions of dollars . . . sometimes I see guys don'tlook much older thanme — MAMA: Son—how come talk much 'bout you so money? WALTER (with immense passion): Because is life,Mama! it MAMA (quietly): Oh —(very quietly) nowit's is So life.Money life. Once upon a time freedom used tolife—nowit's money.I be guess the world really dochange . . . WALTER: No was always money, Mama. didn't know —it We just about it. MAMA: No . . . something haschanged. (She looks at him.) You 52,2.

Lorraine Hansberry something new, boy. In my time we was worried about not being lynched and getting to the North if we could and how to stay alive and still have a pinch of dignity too . . . Now here come you and Beneatha—talking 'bout things we never even thought about hardly, me and your daddy. You ain't satisfied or proud of nothing we done. I mean that you had a home; that we kept you out of trouble till you was grown; that you don't have to ride to work on the back of nobody's streetcar—You my children—but how different we done become. WALTER (A long beat. He pats her hand and gets up): You just don't understand, Mama, you just don't understand. MAMA: Son—do you know your wife is expecting another baby? ("WALTER stands, stunned, and absorbs what his mother has said.) That's what she wanted to talk to you about. (WALTER sinks down into a chair.) This ain't for me to be telling—but you ought to know. (She waits.) I think Ruth is thinking 'bout getting rid of that child. WALTER (slowly understanding): —No—no —Ruth wouldn't do that. MAMA: When the world gets ugly enough —a woman will do anything for her family. The part thafs already living. WALTER: You don't know Ruth, Mama, if you think she would do that. RUTH opens the bedroom door and stands there a little limp. RUTH (beaten): Yes I would too, Walter. (Pause.) I gave her a five-dollar down payment. There is total silence as the man stares at his wife and the mother stares at her son. MAMA (presently): Well—(tightly) Well —son, I'm waiting to hear you say something . . . (She waits.) I'm waiting to hear how you be your father's son. Be the man he was . . . (Pause. The silence shouts.) Your wife say she going to destroy your child. And I'm waiting to hear you talk like him and say we a people who give children life, not who destroys them — (She rises.) I'm waiting to see you stand up and look like your daddy and say we done give up one baby to poverty and that we ain't going to give up nary another one . . . I'm waiting. 52-3

A RAISININ THE SUN Act II Scene I WALTER: Ruth—(He can say nothing.) MAMA: If you a son of mine, tell her! picksup his keys (WALTER and his coat and walks out. She continues, bitterly.) You you are a disgrace to your father's memory. Somebody get me

my hat!

SCENE I Time Later the same day. At rise RUTH is ironing again. She has the radio going. Presently BENEATHA'S bedroom door opensand RUTH'S mouth she fallsand puts down the iron in fascination. RUTH: What have we got on tonight! BENEATHA (emerging grandly from the doorway so thatwe can see her thoroughly robed in the costume Asagai brought): You are looking at what a well-dressed Nigerian woman wears (She — parades for RUTH, her hair completely hiddenby the headdress; she is coquettishly fanning herself with an ornate oriental fan, mistakenly more like Butterfly than any Nigerian that ever was.) Isn't it beautiful? (She promenades to the radio and, with an arrogant flourish, turnsthe good loud blues thatis playing.) off Enough of this assimilationist junk! followsher (RUTH with her eyes as she goes to the phonograph and puts on a record and turns and waits ceremoniously for the music to come up. Then, with a shout-) OCOMOGOSIAY! RUTH jumps. The music comes up, a lovely Nigerian melody. BENEATHA listens, enraptured, her far away—if to the eyes back past." She begins to dance. is dumfounded. RUTH RUTH: What kind of dance is that? BENEATHA: Afolk dance. RUTH (Pearl Bailey): What kindof do that, honey? folks BENEATHA: It's from Nigeria. It's a dance of welcome. RUTH: Who you welcoming? BENEATHA: The men back to the village.

Lorraine Hansberry RUTH: Where theybeen? BENEATHA: How should Iknow—out hunting or way, they are coming back now . . . RUTH: Well, that's good. BENEATHA (withthe record): Alundi, alundi Alundi alunya Jop pu a jeepua Ang gu soooooooooo
Ai yai yae . . . Ayehaye—alundi. . .

something. Any-

WALTER comes in during this performance; he has obviously been drinking. He leans against the door heavily and watches his sister, at first with distaste. Then his eyes look off—"back to the past"— as helifts both his fists to the roof, screaming. WALTER: YEAH . . . AND ETHIOPIA STRETCH FORTH HANDS AGAIN! .. . RUTH (drily, lookingat him):Yes Africa sure claiming —and is her own tonight. (She gives them both up and starts ironing again.) WALTER (all in a drunken, dramatic shout): Shut up! . . . I'm digging them drums . . . them drums move me! . . . (He makes weaving way to his face and leansin closeto her.) In my wife's heart of hearts—(He thumps his chest.)—I am much warrior! RUTH (without even looking up): In your heart of hearts you are much drunkard. WALTER (coming away from her and starting to wander around the room, shouting): Me and Jomo . . . (Intently, in hissister's face. She has stopped dancing to watch him in this unknown mood.) That's my man, Kenyatta. (shouting and thumping his chest) FLAMING SPEAR!HOT DAMN! (He is suddenlyin possession of an imaginaryspear and actively spearing enemies all over the room.) OCOMOGOSIAY. .. BENEATHA (to encourage WALTER, thoroughly caught up with this side of him): OCOMOGOSIAY, FLAMING SPEAR! WALTER: THE LION IS WAKING . . . OWIMOWEH! (He pull his shirt open andleaps up on the table and gestures with his spear.)

A RAISIN THE SUN Act II IN IScene BENEATHA: OWIMOWEH! WALTER (On the table, far gone, pure glass sheets. very his eyes He sees whatwe cannot,that is a of people, he leader his great a chief, a descendant of Chaka, that hourmarch and the to has come.): Listen, black brothers my — BENEATHA: OCOMOGOSIAY! WALTER: —Doyou hear waters rushing against of the the shores the coastlands — BENEATHA: OCOMOGOSIAY! WALTER: —Doyou hear screeching the in the of cocks yonder hills beyond wherethe chiefs meet council the in for coming the of mightywar— BENEATHA: OCOMOGOSIAY! And now the lighting subtly suggest world shifts to WALTER'S the of imagination, and themood from pure comedy. is the shifts It inner WALTER speaking: the Southside chauffeur has assumed an unexpected majesty. WALTER: —Do hear beating the of the flying you the of wings birds low over the mountains and the low places our of land— BENEATHA: OCOMOGOSIAY! WALTER: Do you hear singing thewomen, singing war the of the songs of ourfathersto the babies thegreat houses? Singing in the sweet war songs! (The doorbell rings.) OH, DO YOU HEAR, MY BLACK BROTHERS! BENEATHA (completely gone): hear you, Flaming We Spear— RUTH shuts off the phonograph opens door. and GEORGE the MURCHISON enters. WALTER: Telling us to prepare theGREATNESS THE for OF TIME! (Lights backto normal. turns sees He GEORGE.) and Black Brother! (He extends hand the his for fraternal clasp.) GEORGE: Black Brother, hell! RUTH (having had enough, embarrassed family): and for the Beneatha, you gotcompany—what'sthematter with you? Walter Lee Younger,get downoffthat table stop acting and like a fool. . . WALTER comes down the table suddenly makes off and a quick exit to the bathroom.

Lorraine Hansberry RUTH: He's had a little to drink . . . I don't know what her excuse is. GEORGE (to BENEATHA): Look honey, we're going to the theatre— we're not going to be in i t . . . so go change, huh? BENEATHA looks at him and slowly, ceremoniously, lifts her hands and pulls off the headdress. Her hair is close-cropped and unstraightened. GEORGE freezes mid-sentence and RUTH'S eyes all but fall out of her head. GEORGE: What in the name of— RUTH (touching BENEATHA'S hair): Girl, you done lost your natural mind!? Look at your head! GEORGE: What have you done to your head—I mean your hair? BENEATHA: Nothing—except cut it off. RUTH: Now that's the truth—it's what ain't been done to it! You expect this boy to go out with you with your head all nappy like that? BENEATHA (looking at GEORGE): That's up to George. If he's ashamed of his heritage — GEORGE: Oh, don't be so proud of yourself, Bennie—just because you look eccentric. BENEATHA: How can something that's natural be eccentric? GEORGE: That's what being eccentric means —being natural. Get dressed. BENEATHA: I don't like that, George. RUTH: Why must you and your brother make an argument out of everything people say? BENEATHA: Because I hate assimilationist Negroes! RUTH: Will somebody please tell me what assimila-whoever means! GEORGE: Oh, it's just a college girl's way of calling people Uncle Toms —but that isn't what it means at all. RUTH: Well, what does it mean? BENEATHA (cutting GEORGE off and staring at him as she replies to RUTH): It means someone who is willing to give up his own culture and submerge himself completely in the dominant, and in this case oppressive culture! GEORGE: Oh, dear, dear, dear! Here we go! A lecture on the African past! On our Great West African Heritage! In one second


A RAISININ THE SUN Act IIScene I we will hear all about the great Ashanti empires;thegreat Songhay civilizations; and the great sculpture Benin—and then of some poetry in the Bantu—and the whole monologue willend with the word heritage* (nastily) Let's it, baby,your herface itage is nothing but a bunchofraggedy-assed spirituals some and grass huts! BENEATHA: GRASS HUTS! crosses her and forcibly (RUTH to pushes her toward the bedroom.) See there . . . you are standing there in your splendid ignorance talking about peoplewhowere the first to smelt ironon the of the earth!pushing face (RUTH is her through the door.) The Ashanti were performing surgical operations when the English pulls the door —(RUTH to, with BENEATHA on the other side, smiles and graciously BENEATHA opens the doorand shouts end of the sentence the defiantly at GEORGE.,)—were still tatooing themselves with blue dragons! (She goes back inside.) RUTH: Have a seat, George.(They RUTH her hands bothsit. folds rather primly on her determined to demonstrate thecivililap, zation of the family.) Warm, ain't I mean September. it? for (pause) Just like they always about Chicago weather:it's say If too hot or cold for you, waitaminuteandit'll change. (She just smiles happily at this clicheof cliches.) Everybody it's say got to do with them bombs and things they keep setting off. (pause) Would you like a nice cold beer? GEORGE: No, thank you.I don't care beer.(Helooks his for at watch.) I hope she hurries up. RUTH: What timeis the show? GEORGE: It's an eight-thirty curtain. That'sjust Chicago, though. In New York standard curtain time eight forty. israther is (He proud of this knowledge.) RUTH (properly appreciating it): You get to New York alot? GEORGE (offhand): Few times a year. RUTH: Oh—that's nice. I've never been (WALTER to New York. enters. We he has relieved feel himself,but edge unreality theof is still with him.) WALTER: New York ain't got nothing Chicago ain't.Justbunch a of hustling people all squeezedup together—being "Eastern." (He turns his face into screw displeasure.) a of GEORGE: Oh—you've been? 528

Lorraine Hansberry WALTER: Plenty of times. RUTH (shocked at the lie): Walter Lee Younger! WALTER (staring her down): Plenty! (pause) What we got to drink in this house? Why don't you offer this man some refreshment. (to GEORGEJ They don't know how to entertain people in this house, man. GEORGE: Thank you—I don't really care for anything. WALTER (feeling his head; sobriety coming): Where's Mama? RUTH: She ain't come back yet. WALTER (looking MURCHISON over from head to toe, scrutinizing his carefully casual tweed sports jacket over cashmere V-neck sweater over soft eyelet shirt and tie, and soft slacks, finished off with white buckskin shoes): Why all you college boys wear them faggoty-looking white shoes? RUTH: Walter Lee! GEORGE MURCHISON ignores the remark. WALTER (to RUTH): Well, they look crazy as hell—white shoes, cold as it is. RUTH (crushed): You have to excuse him— WALTER: No he don't! Excuse me for what? What you always excusing me for! I'll excuse myself when I needs to be excused! (a pause) They look as funny as them black knee socks Beneatha wears out of here all the time. RUTH: It's the college style, Walter. WALTER: Style, hell. She looks like she got burnt legs or something! RUTH: Oh, Walter— WALTER (an irritable mimic): Oh, Walter! Oh, Walter! (to MURCHISON,) How's your old man making out? I understand you all going to buy that big hotel on the Drive? (He finds a beer in the refrigerator, wanders over to MURCHISON, sipping and wiping his lips with the back of his hand, and straddling a chair backwards to talk to the other man.) Shrewd move. Your old man is all right, man. (tapping his head and half winking for emphasis) I mean he knows how to operate. I mean he thinks big, you know what I mean, I mean for a home, you know? But I think he's kind of running out of ideas now. I'd like to talk to him. Listen, man, I got some plans that could turn this city upside down. I mean think like he does. Big. Invest big, gamble

A RAISININ THE SUN Act IIScene I big, hell, lose big if you have to, you know whatImean. It's hard to find a man on this whole Southside who understands my kind of thinking—you (He scrutinizes dig? MURCHISON again, drinks his beer, squints his and leans close, coneyes in fidential, man to man.) Me and youought to sitdown andtalk sometimes, man. Man, I got mesome ideas . . . MURCHISON (with boredom): Yeah—sometimeswe'll have do to that, Walter. WALTER (understanding the indifference, offended): and Yeah— well, when you get the time, man.Iknowyou abusy little boy. RUTH: Walter, please— WALTER (bitterly, hurt):I know ain'tnothing this worldbusy in as as you colored college boys with your fraternity pinsandwhite shoes . . . RUTH (covering face with humiliation): — Lee her Oh, Walter WALTER: I see you all all the time—with books tucked under the your arms—going to your(British A—a mimic) "clahsses." And for what! What the hellyou learning over Filling there? up your heads—(counting on his fingers)—with the sociology off and the psychology—but they teaching you how to be aman? How to take over and run the world? They teaching you how to run a rubber plantation or a steel mill? Naw—just to talk proper and read books and wear them faggoty-looking white shoes . . . GEORGE (lookingat him with distaste, little aboveall): You're a it all wacked up with bitterness, man. WALTER (intently, almost quietly, betweenthe teeth, glaring the at boy): And you —ain'tyou bitter, man? Ain't justabout you had it yet? Don't you see no stars gleaming thatyou can'treachout and grab? Youhappy?—You contented son-of-a-bitch—you happy? You got it made? Bitter? Man, I'm a volcano. Bitter? Here I am a giant—surrounded by ants! Ants who can'teven understand what it is the giantis talking about. RUTH (passionately andsuddenly): Oh, Walter—ain't with you nobody! WALTER (violently): No! 'Cause ain't nobody with Noteven me! my own mother! RUTH: Walter, that'sa terrible thing say! to 530

Lorraine Hansberry BENEATHA enters, dressed the evening a cocktaildress for in and earrings, hair natural. GEORGE: Well—hey—(crosses BENEATHA; thoughful, with to emphasis, since this is a reversal) You look great! WALTER(seeing his sister's hair the first time): What's matfor the ter with your head? BENEATHA(tiredof the jokes now): cut it off, Brother. I WALTER (coming closeto inspect and walking around her): Well, it I'll be damned. So that's what they mean byAfricanbush . . . the BENEATHA: Ha ha. Let's go, George. GEORGE (lookingat her):You know something? it.It's sharp. Ilike I mean it reallyis.(helps her into wrap) her RUTH: Yes—I think so, too. (She goesto themirrorandstarts to clutch at her hair.) WALTER: Oh no! You leave yours alone, baby. might turn You out to have a pin-shaped head or something! BENEATHA: See you all later. RUTH: Have a nice time. GEORGE: Thanks. Good night. out the door, reopens (Half he it. To WALTER.) Good night, Prometheus!

WALTER (to RUTH):Who is Prometheus? RUTH: I don't know. Don't worry aboutit. WALTER (infury, pointing GEORGE):there—they to a after See get point where they can't insult you man man—they got to go to talk about something ain't nobody never heard of! RUTH: How do you know it was an insult? (to humor him) Maybe Prometheus is a nice fellow. WALTER: Prometheus! I bet there ain't even such thing! bet no I that simple-minded clown — RUTH: Walter—(She stops whatshe isdoing looks him.) and at WALTER(yelling): Don't start! RUTH: Start what? WALTER: Your nagging! Where was I? Who was Iwith? much How money did I spend? RUTH (plaintively): Walter Lee—why don'tjust to talk we try about i t . . .

A RAISIN THE SUN Act II Scene IN I WALTER (not listening): I been out talking with people who understand me. People who care about the things I got on my mind. RUTH (wearily): I guess that means people like Willy Harris. WALTER: Yes, people like Willy Harris. RUTH (with a sudden of impatience): flash Why don't all just you hurry up and go into the banking business and stop talking about it! WALTER: Why? You want to know why? 'Causewe all tiedup in a race of people that don't know how to do nothing but moan, pray and have babies! (The line is too bitter even for him and he looks at her and sits down.) RUTH: Oh, Walter .(softly) Honey, why can't you stop fighting .. me? WALTER (without thinking): Who's fighting you!Who even cares about you? (This line begins the retardation of his mood.) RUTH: Well— waits a long time,and then (She with resignation starts to put away her things.) I guess I might as well go on to bed . . . (more or herself) less to I don't know where we lost it . . . but we have . . . (then, to him) I—I'm sorry about this new baby, Walter. I guess maybe I better go on and do what I started . . . I guess just didn't realize how bad things was with I us ... I guess Ijust didn't really realize—(She starts out to the bedroom and stops.) You want some hot milk? WALTER: Hot milk? RUTH: Yes—hot milk. WALTER: Why hot milk? RUTH: 'Causeafter all that liquor you come home withyou ought to have something hot in your stomach. WALTER: I don't want no milk. RUTH: You want some coffee then? WALTER: No, I don't want no coffee. I don't want nothing hot to drink, (almost plaintively) Why you always trying to giveme something to eat? RUTH (standing and looking at him helplessly): Whatcan I else give you, Walter Lee Younger? She stands and looks at him and presently turns to go out again. He lifts his head and watches her going away from him in a new


Lorraine Hansberry mood which began to emerge when he askedher "Who cares about you?"

WALTER: It's been rough, ain't it, baby? (She hearsand stopsbut does not turn around and he continues to her back.) I guess between two people there ain't never as much understood as folks generally thinks thereis. I mean like between— and you me (She turns toface him.) How we gets to the place where we scared to talk softness to each other. (He waits, thinking hard himself.) Why you think it got to be like that? (He is thoughtful, almost as a child would be.) Ruth, what is it gets into people ought to be close? RUTH: I don't know, honey. I think about it a lot. WALTER: On account of you and me, you mean? The way things are with us. The way something done come down between us. RUTH: There ain't so much between us, Walter . . . Not when you come to me and try to talk to me. Try to be with me ... a little even. WALTER (total honesty): Sometimes . . . sometimes . know how to try. RUTH: Walter — WALTER: Yes? RUTH (coming to him, gently and with misgiving, but coming to him): Honey . .life don't have to be like this. I mean sometimes . people can do things so that things are better . . . You remember how we used to talk when Travis was born . . . about the way we were going tolive . . . the kind of house . . . (She is stroki his head.) Well, it's all starting to slip away from us ... He turns her to him and they look at each other and and hungrily. The door opensand MAMA enters—WALTER breaks away and jumps up. A beat.) kiss, tenderly

WALTER: Mama, where haveyou been? MAMA: My—them steps is longer than they used to be. Whew! (She sits down and ignores him.) How you feeling this evening, Ruth? RUTH shrugs, disturbed at having been interrupted and watching her husband knowingly. WALTER: Mama, where haveyou beenall day?

A RAISIN THE SUN Act III IN Scene MAMA (still ignoringhim and leaning thetable changing on and to more comfortable shoes): Where's Travis? RUTH: I let him go out earlierand heain't come back yet. is Boy, he going to get it! WALTER: Mama! MAMA (asifshe has heard for the firsttime): Yes, son? him WALTER: Wheredid you gothis afternoon? MAMA: I went downtown to tendtosome business that had to I tend to. WALTER: What kind business? of MAMA: You know better than toquestion me a like child, Brother. WALTER (rising and bending over table): Where were you, the Mama? (bringing his fists down and shouting) Mama, you didn't go do something with that insurance money, something crazy? The front door opens slowly, interrupting him, TRAVISpeeks and his head in,less than hopefully. TRAVIS (to his mother): Mama, I— RUTH: "Mama I" nothing! You're going to get it, boy! Get on in that bedroom and getyourself ready! TRAVIS:But I— MAMA: Why don'tyou allnever thechild explain hisself. let RUTH: Keepout of it now, Lena. MAMA clampsher together, advances toward lips RUTH and her son menacingly. RUTH: A thousand times have told not to go off I you that— like MAMA (holding out her armsto hergrandson): Well—at let least me tell him something. I want him to be the first one to hear . . . Come here, Travis. (The boyobeys, gladly.) Travis (She — takes him by the shoulder andlooks into his face.)—you know that money we got in the mail this morning? TRAVIS: Yes'm — MAMA: Well—whatyou think your grandmama gone done and with that money? TRAVIS: I don't know, Grandmama. MAMA (puttingher finger on hisnose emphasis): went for She out and she boughtyou ahouse! (The explosion WALTERfrom comes at the end of the revelationand hejumpsup andturns away

Lorraine Hansberry from all of them in a fury. MAMA continues, to TRAVIS.) You glad about the house? It's going to be yours when you get to be a man. TRAVIS: Yeah—I always wanted to live in a house. MAMA: All right, gimme some sugar then —(TRAVIS puts his arms around her neck as she watches her son over the boy's shoulder. Then, to TRAVIS, after the embrace.) Now when you say your prayers tonight, you thank God and your grandfather—'cause it was him who give you the house—in his way. RUTH (taking the boy from MAMA and pushing him toward the bedroom): Now you get out of here and get ready for your beating. TRAVIS: Aw, Mama — RUTH: Get on in there—(closing the door behind him and turning radiantly to her mother-in-law) So you went and did it! MAMA (quietly, looking at her son with pain): Yes, I did. RUTH (raising both arms classically): PRAISE GOD! (Looks at WALTER a moment, who says nothing. She crosses rapidly to her husband.) Please, honey—let me be glad . . . you be glad too. (She has laid her hands on his shoulders, but he shakes himself free of her roughly, without turning to face her.) Oh, Walter . . . a home . . . a home. (She comes back to MAMA.) Well—where is it? How big is it? How much it going to cost? MAMA: Well— RUTH: When we moving? MAMA (smiling at her): First of the month. RUTH (throwing back her head with jubilance): Praise God! MAMA (tentatively, still looking at her son's back turned against her and RUTH): It's —it's a nice house too . . . (She cannot help speaking directly to him. An imploring quality in her voice, her manner, makes her almost like a girl now.) Three bedrooms — nice big one for you and Ruth . . . Me and Beneatha still have to share our room, but Travis have one of his own—and (with difficulty) I figure if the—new baby—is a boy, we could get one of them double-decker outfits. . . And there's a yard with a little patch of dirt where I could maybe get to grow me a few flowers ... And a nice big basement. . . RUTH: Walter honey, be glad— MAMA (still to his back, fingering things on the table): 'Course I

A RAISININ THE SUN Act II Scene I don't want to make it sound fancier than it is ... It's just a plain little old house—but it's made good and solid—and it will be ours. WalterLee—it makes difference in a man when he can a walk on floors that belong to him . . . RUTH: Whereis it? MAMA (frightened at thistelling): Well—well—it's out there in ClybournePark— RUTH'S radiance fades abruptly, finally turns slowly WALTER and to face his mother with incredulity and hostility. RUTH: Where? MAMA (matter-of-factly): Fouro six Clybourne Street, Clybourne Park. RUTH: Clybourne Park? Mama, there ain't no colored people living in Clybourne Park. MAMA (almost idiotically): Well, I guess there's goingto be some now. WALTER (bitterly): So that's the peace and comfortyou went out and bought for us today! MAMA (raising hereyes to meethis Son—I tried finally): just to find the nicest place for the least amountof money my for family. RUTH (trying to recover from the shock): Well—well—'course I ain't one never been 'fraid of no crackers, mind you—but—well, wasn't there no other houses nowhere? MAMA: Them houses they put up for colored in them areas way out all seem to cost twice as much as other houses. I did the best I could. RUTH (Struck senseless withthe news, its various degrees in of goodness and trouble, she sits a moment, her fists propping her chin in thought, and then she starts to rise, bringing her fists down with vigor, the radiance spreading from cheek to cheek again.):Well—well!—All can say is my time I —if this life in — MY TIME—to say good-bye—(and shebuilds with momentum as she starts to circle the room with an exuberant, almost tearfully happy release)—to these Goddamned (She cracking— walls! pounds the walls.)—and these (She wipes roaches! marching — at an imaginary army marching roaches.) of —and this cramped little closet which ain't now or never was no kitchen! . . . then I say it loud and good, HALLELUJAH! AND GOOD-BYE MIS-


Lorraine Hans berry E R Y . . . I DON'T NEVER WANT TO SEE YOUR UGLY FACE AGAIN! (She laughs joyously, having practically destroyed the apartment, and flings her arms up and lets them come down happily, slowly, reflectively, over her abdomen, aware for the first time perhaps that the life therein pulses with happiness and not despair.) Lena? MAMA (moved, watching her happiness): Yes, honey? RUTH (looking off): Is there —is there a whole lot of sunlight? MAMA (understanding): Yes, child, there's a whole lot of sunlight. (long pause) RUTH (collecting herself and going to the door of the room TRAVIS is in): Well—I guess I better see 'bout Travis, (to MAMA) Lord, I sure don't feel like whipping nobody today! (She exits.) MAMA (The mother and son are left alone now and the mother waits a long time, considering deeply, before she speaks.): Son— you—you—understand what I done, don't you? (WALTER is silent and sullen.) I—I just seen my family falling apart today . . . just falling to pieces in front of my eyes . . . We couldn't of gone on like we was today. We was going backwards 'stead of forwards—talking 'bout killing babies and wishing each other was dead . . . When it gets like that in life—you just got to do something different, push on out and do something bigger . . . (She waits.) I wish you say something, son . . . I wish you'd say how deep inside you think I done the right thing— WALTER (crossing slowly to his bedroom door and finally turning there and speaking measuredly): What you need me to say you done right for? You the head of this family. You run our lives like you want to. It was your money and you did what you wanted with it. So what you need for me to say it was all right for? (bitterly, to hurt her as deeply as he knows is possible) So you butchered up a dream of mine—you—who always talking 'bout your children's dreams . . . MAMA: Walter Lee — He just closes the door behind him. MAMA sits alone, thinking heavily.


S C E N E II Time Friday night. A few weeks later. At rise Packing crates marktheintentionfamilyto move. of the BENEATHA and GEORGE come in,presumably fromevening an out again. GEORGE: O.K. . . . O.K., whatever you say (Theyboth sit on ... the couch. He tries to kiss her.Shemoves away.) Look, we've had a nice evening; let's notspoil huh? . . . it, He again turns her headand tries nuzzle and she to in turns away from him, not with distastebut withmomentary ofinterest; lack in a mood to pursue what they were talking about. BENEATHA: I'm tryingto talk you. to GEORGE: We always talk. BENEATHA: Yes I love talk. —and to GEORGE (exasperated, rising):Iknow and I don't it it mind sometimes . . . I want you to cut itout, see—The stuff,I moody mean. I don't like it. You're a nice-looking g i r l . . .all over. That's all you need, honey, forget the atmosphere. Guys aren't going to go for the atmosphere—they'regoing go forwhat they see. to Be glad for that. DroptheGarbo routine. doesn't with you. It go As for myself, I wanta nice—(groping)—simple (thoughtfully)—sophisticated girl. . . notpoet—O.K.? (He a starts to kiss her, she rebuffs him again hejumps up.) and BENEATHA: Why are you angry, George? GEORGE: Because thisisstupid! don't outwith to I go you discuss the nature of "quiet desperation" or to hearallabout your thoughts —becausethe world will onthinking what go it thinks regardless — BENEATHA: Thenwhy read books? Why go toschool? GEORGE (with artificial patience,counting his It's simon fingers): ple. You readbooks—to learn facts—to grades get—topass the course—to get a degree. That'sall —it nothing dowith has to thoughts, (a long pause) BENEATHA: I see. (He starts sit.) Good night, George. to GEORGE looks at her alittle oddly, starts exit. meets and to He MAMA comingin.

Lorraine Hansberry GEORGE: Oh—hello, Mrs. Younger. MAMA: Hello, George, how you feeling? GEORGE: Fine—fine, how are you? MAMA: Oh, a little tired. You know them steps can get you after a day's work. You all have a nice time tonight? GEORGE: Yes—afine time. fine time. A MAMA: Well, good night. GEORGE: Good night. (He MAMA closes exits. the door behind her.) Hello, honey. What you sitting like that for? BENEATHA: I'm just sitting. MAMA: Didn't you have a nice time?

MAMA: No? What's the matter? BENEATHA: Mama, Georgeis a fool—honest. (She rises.) MAMA (Hustling around unloading the packages she has entered with. She stops.): Is he, baby?

BENEATHA makesTRAVIS' up bed as she talks. MAMA: You sure?

MAMA: Well—I guessyou betternot waste your time with fools. no BENEATHA looks up at her mother, watching her put groceriesin the refrigerator. Finally she gathers up her things and starts into the bedroom. At the door she stops and looks back at her mother. BENEATHA: Mama— MAMA: Yes, baby — BENEATHA: Thank you. MAMA: For what? BENEATHA: For understanding me this time. She exits quickly and the mother stands, smiling a at the place where BENEATHA just RUTH enters. stood. little, looking

RUTH: Now don't you fool withany of this— Lena stuff, MAMA: Oh, I just thought I'd sort a few things out. Is Brother here? RUTH: Yes. MAMA (with concern):Is he— RUTH (readinghereyes): Yes.

A RAISININ THE SUN Act II Scene II MAMA is silent and someone knocksonRUTH and MAMA the door. exchange weary and knowing glances and RUTH opens it to admit the neighbor, JOHNSON^who is a rather squeaky wide-eyed MRS. lady of no particular age, with a newspaper under her arm. MAMA (changing her expression to acute delightand a ringing cheerful greeting): Oh—hello there, Johnson. JOHNSON (This is a woman who decided longago to be enthusiastic about EVERYTHING and she is inclinedto wave life in her wrist vigorously at the height of her exclamatory comments.): Hello there, yourself! H'you this evening, Ruth? RUTH (not much of a deceptive type): Fine, Mis' Johnson, h'you? JOHNSON: Fine, (reaching out quickly, playfully, and patting RUTH'S stomach) Ain't you starting to poke out none yet! (She mugs with delight at the over-familiar remark and her eyes dart around looking at the crates and packing preparation; MAMA'S face is a cold sheet of endurance.) Oh, ain't we getting ready round here, though! Yessir! Lookathere! I'm telling you the Youngers is really getting ready to "move on up a little higher!"-Bless God! MAMA (a little drily, doubtingthe total sincerity the of Blesser): Bless God. JOHNSON: He's good, ain't He? MAMA: Oh yes, He's good. JOHNSON: I mean sometimes He works in mysterious ways . . . but He works, don't He! MAMA (the same): Yes, does. He JOHNSON: I'mjust soooooo happy y'all. for And thischild— here (aboutRUTH) looks likeshe could pop open with happiness, just don't she. Where's all the rest of family? the MAMA: Bennie's gone — to bed JOHNSON: Ain't no ... (The implication is pregnancy.) sickness done hityou—I hope . . . ? MAMA: No —shejust tired.She was out this evening. JOHNSON (Allis a coo,an emphatic coo): Aw—ain't that lovely. She still going out with the little Murchison boy? MAMA (drily): Ummmm huh.
^This characterand thescene her were the of visit fromoriginal production cut and early editionsof theplay. 540

Lorraine Hansberry JOHNSON: That's lovely. You sure got lovely children, Younger. Me and Isaiah talks all the time 'bout what fine children you was blessed with. We sure do. MAMA: Ruth, give Mis' Johnson a piece of sweet potato pie and some milk. JOHNSON: Oh honey, I can't stay hardly a—I just dropped minute in to see if there was anything I could do. (accepting the food easily) I guess y'all seen the news what's all over the colored paper this week . . . MAMA: No —didn't get mine yet this week. JOHNSON (lifting her head and blinking withthe spiritof catastrophe): You mean you ain't read 'bout them colored people that was bombed out their place out there? RUTH straightens with concern and takes the paper and reads it. JOHNSON notices her and feeds commentary.

JOHNSON: Ain't it something how bad these here white folks is getting here in Chicago! Lord, getting so you think you right down in Mississippi! (with a tremendous and rather insincere sense of melodrama) 'Course I thinks it's wonderful how our folks keeps on pushing out. You hear some of these Negroes round here talking 'bout how they don't go where they ain't wanted and all that—but not me, honey! (This is a lie.) Wilhemenia Othella Johnson goes anywhere, any time she feels like it! (with head movement for emphasis) Yes I do! Why if we left it up to these here crackers, the poor niggers wouldn't have nothing— (She clasps her hand over her mouth.) Oh, I always forgets you don't 'low that word in your house. MAMA (quietly, looking at her): No don't —I 'low it. JOHNSON (vigorously again): Me neither!I was just telling Isaiah yesterday when he come using it in front of said, —I me "Isaiah, it's just like Mis' Younger says — the time all " MAMA: Don't you want some more pie? JOHNSON: No—no thank you; this was lovely. I got to get on over home and have my midnight coffee. I hear some people say it don't let them sleep but I finds I can't close my eyes right lessen I done had that laaaast cup of coffee . . . (She waits. A b Undaunted.) My Goodnight coffee, I calls it!

A RAISIN THE SUN Act II IN II Scene MAMA (with much eye-rolling communication between and herself andRUTH): Ruth,why don't give Mis' Johnsoncoffee? you some RUTH gives an unpleasant look her kindness. MAMA for JOHNSON (accepting coffee): Where's Brother tonight? the MAMA: He's lying down. JOHNSON: MMmmmmm, sure gets beauty rest, don't he his he? Good-looking man. Sureis agood-looking man! (reachingout to patRUTH'S stomach again) Iguess that's come keep how we on having babies around here. (She winks thing MAMA.)at One 'bout Brother, he always know how tohavea good time. And soooooo ambitious! I bet it was hisideay'allmoving to out Clybourne Park. Lord—I betthis time next month y'all's names will have beenin the papersplenty—(holding her to up hands mark off each word the headline can see infront of she ofher) "NEGROES INVADE CLYBOURNE PARK-BOMBED!" MAMA (Sheand look the woman amazement.): RUTH at in We ain't exactly movingout thereto getbombed. JOHNSON: Oh, honey—you know praying Godevery I'm to day that don't nothing like that happen! But youhavetothinkof life like itis—and these here Chicago peckerwoods issome baaaad peckerwoods. MAMA (wearily): We done thought about that Mis' Johnson. all BENEATHA comesout of the bedroom her robe passes in and through to the bathroom. JOHNSON turns. MRS. JOHNSON: Hello there, Bennie! BENEATHA (crisply): Hello, Mrs. Johnson. JOHNSON: How isschool? BENEATHA (crisply): Fine, thank you. (She goes out.) JOHNSON (insulted): Gettingso she don'thave much say to to nobody. MAMA: The child was on her way to the bathroom. JOHNSON: Iknow—but sometimes actlike ain't time she got to pass the time of day with nobody ain'tbeentocollege. Oh—I ain't criticizingher none. just—youknow some our It's how of young people gets when they alittle education. get (MAMA and RUTH say nothing, just look her.) at Yes—well.Well, I I guess better get on home, (unmoving) 'Course can I understand how she must be proud and everything—being only in the the one

Lorraine Hansberry family to make something of herself.I know beinga just chauffeur ain't neversatisfied Brother none. He shouldn't like feel that, though. Ain't nothing wrong with beingchauffeur. a MAMA: There's plenty wrong with it. JOHNSON: What? MAMA: Plenty. My husband always said being any kind of a servant wasn't a fit thing for a man to have to be. He always said a man's hands was made to make things, or to turn earth with—not to drive nobody's car 'em—or— (She looks for at her own hands.) carry they slop jars. And my boy is just like him—he wasn't meant to wait on nobody. JOHNSON (rising, somewhat offended): Mmmmmmmmm. The Youngers is too much for me! (She looks around.) You sure one proud-acting bunch of colored folks. Well—I always thinks like Booker T. Washington said that time—"Education has spoiled many a good plow hand" — MAMA: Is that what old Booker T. said? JOHNSON: He sure did. MAMA: Well, it soundsjust like him. The fool. JOHNSON (indignantly):Well—hewas one of our great men. MAMA: Who said so? JOHNSON (nonplussed): You know, me and you ain't never agreed about some things, Lena Younger. I guess I better going— be RUTH (quickly): Good night. JOHNSON: Good night. Oh —(thrusting it at her) You can keep the paper! (with a trill) 'Night. MAMA: Good night, Mis' Johnson. JOHNSON exits.) (MRS. RUTH: If ignorance was gold . . . MAMA: Shush. Don't talk about folks behind their backs. RUTH: You do. MAMA: I'm old and corrupted. (BENEATHA enters.) You was rude to Mis' Johnson, Beneatha, and I don't like it at all. BENEATHA (at herdoor): Mama, if thereare two things as a we, people, have got to overcome, one is theKlu Klux Klan—and the other is Mrs. Johnson. (She exits.) MAMA: Smart aleck. (The phone rings.) RUTH: I'll get it. MAMA: Lord, ain't this a popular place tonight. RUTH (at the phone): Hello—Justa minute, to (goesdoor) Wal-



A RAISININ THE SUN Act IIScene II ter, it's Mrs. Arnold. (Waits. Goes back to the phone.Tense.) Hello. Yes, this is his speaking . . .He's lying down now. wife Yes . . . well, he'll be in tomorrow. He's been very sick. Yes—I know we should have called, but weweresosure he'd beable to come in today. Yes—yes, I'm sorry. Yes . . . Thank you very very much. (She hangs is standing the doorway WALTER up. in of the bedroom behind her.) That was Mrs. Arnold. WALTER(indifferently): Was it? RUTH: She saidif you don't come tomorrow that they getting in are a new man . . . WALTER: Ain't thatsad—ain't that crying sad. RUTH: Shesaid Mr. Arnold has had totake a cab for three days . . . Walter, you ain't beento workfor three days! is areve(This lation to her.) Whereyou been, Walter (WALTER LeeYounger! looks at her and starts to laugh.) You're goingtolose your job. WALTER: That's right. . . (Heturns on theradio.) RUTH: Oh, Walter, and with your mother working like dog a every day— A steamy,deep blues pours into the room.

WALTER: That'ssadtoo—Everything sad. is MAMA: What you been doingfor these three days, son? WALTER: Mama—you don't knowall the things manwhat a got leisure can find to do inthis city . . . What's this—Fridaynight? Well—Wednesday I borrowed Willy Harris' and Iwent car for a drive . . . just me and myself and Idrove anddrove . . . Way out. . . way past South Chicago, and Iparked the car and I sat and looked at the steel mills all day long. Ijust sat in the car and looked at them big black chimneys hours. Thendrove for I back and I went to the Green Hat. (pause) And Thursday— Thursday I borrowed the car againand I got in it and Ipointed it the other way and I drove the other hours—way, way—for way up to Wisconsin, and I looked at the just drove farms.I and looked at the farms. Then I drove back and Iwent to the Green Hat. (pause) And today—todayIdidn'tget thecar. Today I just walked. All over the Southside.And Ilookedat the Negroes and they looked at me and finally I downon justsat the curb at Thirty-ninth and South Parkwayand I satthere just and watched the Negroes go by. And then Iwentto theGreen 544

Lorraine Hansberry Hat. You allsad? You all depressed?And you know where I am going right now— RUTH goes out quietly. MAMA: Oh, Big Walter,is this harvest our the of days? WALTER: You know what I like about the Green Hat?Ilike this little cat they got there who blows a sax . . . He blows. to me. He ain't but 'bout five tall and he's got a conked feet head and his eyesis always closedand he'sall music— MAMA (rising and getting some papers of her out handbag): Walter— WALTER: And there's this other guy whoplays thepiano . . . and they got a sound. I mean they canwork onsome music . . They . got the best little combo in theworld in theGreen Hat. . . You can just sit there and drink and listen to them threemenplay and you realize that don't nothing matter worth adamn, but just beingthere— MAMA: I've helped do it to you, haven'tI, son? Walterbeen I wrong. WALTER: Naw—you ain't never been wrong about nothing, Mama. MAMA: Listen to me, now. I say I been wrong, son. That Ibeen doing to you what the rest of the world been doingtoyou. (She turnsoff the radio.) Walter—(She stops helooks slowly and up at her and she meets his pleadingly.) Whatyouain't never eyes understood is that I ain't got nothing, don't ownnothing, ain't never really wanted nothing that wasn't for you. There ain't nothing as precious to me . . .There ain't nothing worth holding on to, money, dreams, nothing —ifitmeans it's else—ifitmeans going to destroy my boy. (She takesan envelopeout of her handbag and puts it in front of him and hewatchesher without speaking or moving.) I paid the man thirty-fivehundred dollars down on the house. That leaves sixty-fivehundred dollars. Monday morning I want you to take this money andtake three thousand dollars and put it in a savings accountforBeneatha's medical schooling. The rest you put in a checking account—with your name on it. And from now on anypenny that comeout of it or that go in it is for you to look For you to decide. after. (She drops her hands a little helplessly.) It ain't much, it's but 545

A RAISIN THE SUN Act II IN II Scene all I got in the world and I'mputting in it your hands. telling I'm you to be the headofthis fromnow onlike supposed family you to be. WALTER (stares at the money):Youtrust like that, Mama? me MAMA: I ain't never stop trusting you. I Like ain't never stop loving you. She goes out, WALTER sits lookingat themoney thetable. and on Finally, in a decisive gesture, gets and, mingled and he up, in joy desperation, picks up the money.At thesame moment, TRAVIS enters for bed. TRAVIS: What'sthe matter, Daddy? drunk? You WALTER (sweetly, more sweetly than haveever known we him): No, Daddy ain't drunk. Daddy ain't going toneverbe drunk again . . . TRAVIS: Well, good night, Daddy. The FATHER has come from behind couch leans over, the and embracing his son. WALTER: Son,feel like talking you tonight. I to TRAVIS: About what? WALTER: Oh, about a lot ofthings. About andwhat kind you of man you going to bewhen yougrow up ... Son—son, what do you want to be when you growup? TRAVIS: A bus driver. WALTER (laughinga little): A what? Man, that ain'tnothing to want to be! TRAVIS: Why not? WALTER: 'Cause, man—it ain'tbig enough—youknow what I mean. TRAVIS: I don't know then.can't make my I up mind. Sometimes Mama asks me that too. Andsometimes when I her just tell I want to be like you—she saysshedon't want to be that me like and sometimes shesays she does . . . WALTER (gatheringhim up in hisarms): know what, Travis? You In seven yearsyou goingto beseventeen years old. things And is going to be different with us inseven years, Travis . . . very One day when you are seventeen I'll come home—home from my office downtown somewhere — TRAVIS: You don't work office, Daddy. in no

Lorraine Hansberry

WALTER: No —butafter tonight. After what your daddy gonna do tonight, there's going to officeswhole lot of . . . be —a offices TRAVIS: What you gonna do tonight, Daddy? WALTER: You wouldn't understand yet, son, but your daddy's gonna make a transaction . . . a business transaction th to change our lives . . . That's how come one day when you seventeen years old I'll come home and I'll be pretty tired, you know what I mean,after a day of conferences and secretaries getting things wrong the way they do ... 'cause an executive's life is hell, man—(The more he talks the farther away he gets.) And I'll pull the car up on the driveway . just a plain black .. Chrysler, I think, with whitewalls—no —black tires. More elegant. Rich people don't have to be flashy . . . though I'll have to get something a little sportier for Ruth—maybe a Cadillac convertible to do her shopping in ... And I'll come up the steps to the house and the gardener will be clipping away at the hedges and he'll say, "Good evening, Mr. Younger." And I'll say, "Hello, Jefferson, how are you this evening?" And I'll go inside and Ruth will come downstairs and meet me at the door and we'll kiss each other and she'll take my arm and we'll go up to your room to see you sitting on the floor with the catalogues of all the great schools in America around you . . . All the great schools in the world! And —and I'll say, all right son—it's your seventeenth birthday, what is it you've decided? . . . Just tell m where you want to go to school and you'll go. Just tell me, what it is you want to be—and you'll be it. . . Whatever you want be—Yessir! (He holdshis arms TRAVIS.)You open for just name it, son ("TRAVIS . . . leaps into them.) and I hand you the world! WALTER'S voice has risen in pitch and hysterical promise and on the last linehe lifts TRAVIS high. Blackout S C E N E III Time Saturday, moving day, one week later. Before the curtain rises, RUTH'S voice,a strident, dramatic church alto, cuts through the silence.

A RAISIN THE SUN Act IIHI IN Scene It is, in the darkness,a triumphantsurge,penetratingstatea ment of expectation: "Oh,Lord, feel ways tired! ChilI don't no dren, oh, glory hallelujah!" As the curtain we seethat in theliving room, rises RUTH alone is finishing up the family's packing. ismoving day. is It She nailing crates and tying cartons. BENEATHAenters, aguitar case, carrying and watches her exuberant sister-in-law. RUTH: Hey! BENEATHA (putting away Hi. the case): RUTH (pointingat a package): Honey—look package there inthat and see what I foundon sale this morning theSouth Center. at (RUTH gets up and movesto thepackage draws some and out curtains.) Lookahere—hand-turnedhems! BENEATHA: How do you know window size there? the out RUTH (who hadn't thought Oh—Well,they boundfit of that): to something in the whole house. Anyhow, they was too good a bargain to passup. slapsherhead, suddenly remember(RUTH ing something.): Oh, Bennie—Imeant to put a special note on that carton over there. That'syour mama's good chinaand she wants 'em to be very careful with it.
BENEATHA: I'll do it.

BENEATHA finds a piece paper startsdraw letters of and to large on it. RUTH: You know what I'm goingto dosoonas I get in thatnew house? BENEATHA: What? RUTH: Honey—I'm going to run me a tub of water up to here . . . (with herfingers practically to hernostrils) up And I'mgoing to get init—and I am goingto s i t . . .and s i t . . . and sit in that hot water and the firstperson whoknocks totell me to hurry up and come out— BENEATHA: Gets shot sunrise. at RUTH (laughing happily): You said sister! (noticing it, large how BENEATHA is absent-mindedly making note) Honey, they the ain't going to read that from no airplane. BENEATHA (laughing herself): I guess I always think things have more emphasis if theyare big, somehow. RUTH (lookingup at her andsmiling): andyour brother seem You

Lorraine Hansberry to have that as a philosophy of Lord, that man life. —done changed so 'round here. You know—you know what we did last night? Me and Walter Lee? BENEATHA: What? RUTH (smiling to herself): We went to the movies, (lookingat BENEATHA to see if she understands) We wentto the movies. You know the last time me and Walter went to the movies together?

RUTH: Me neither. That's how long it been, (smiling again) But we went last night. The picture wasn't much good, but that didn't seem to matter. We went—and we held hands. BENEATHA: Oh, Lord! RUTH: We held hands —andyou know what? BENEATHA: What? RUTH: When we come out of the show it was late and dark and all the stores and things was closed up ... and it was kind of chilly and there wasn't many people on the streets . . . and we was still holding hands, me and Walter. BENEATHA: You're killing me. WALTER enters witha large package.His happiness in him; deep is he cannot keep still with his new-found exuberance. He is singing and wiggling and snapping his fingers. He puts his package in a corner and puts a phonograph record, which he has brought in with him, on the record player. As the music, soulful and sensuous, comes up he dances over to and tries to get her to dance RUTH with him. She gives in at last to his raunchiness and in a fit of giggling allowsherself to be drawn into his mood. They dip and she melts into his arms in a classic, body-melding t(slow 39 drag. BENEATHA (regarding them a long time as they dance, then drawing in her breath for a deeply exaggerated comment which she does not particularly mean): Talk about—olddddddddddfashioneddddddd—Negroes! WALTER (stopping momentarily): What kind Negroes? says of (He this in fun. He is not angry with her today, nor with anyone. He starts to dance with his again.) wife BENEATHA: Old-fashioned. WALTER (as he dances RUTHJ: You know, when theseNew with


A RAISININ THE SUN Act IIScene HI Negroes have their convention—(pointingat his sister)—that is going to be the chairman of the Committee onUnending Agitation. (He goes on dancing, thenstops.) Race, race, race! . Girl, I do believe you are the firstperson in thehistoryof the entire human racetosuccessfully brainwash(BENEAyourself. THA breaks up and hegoes dancing. stopsagain, on He enjoying his tease.) Damn, even the N double A C Ptakes aholiday sometimes! (BENEATHA laugh. dances with RUTH and He RUTH some more and starts to laugh andstops and pantomimes someone over an operating table.) I can see just that chick someday looking down at some poor cat on anoperating table and before she starts to slice him, shesays . (pulling his .. sleeves back maliciously) "By the way, what areyour viewscivilrights on down there? ..." (Helaughs at heragain and starts to dance happily. The bell sounds.) BENEATHA: Sticks and stones maybreak my bones but. . words . will never hurt me! BENEATHA goesto the door WALTER and opens and RUTHas it go on with the clowning. BENEATHAis somewhatsurprised see a to quiet-looking middle-aged white man in a business suit holdinghis hat and abriefcase in his handand consulting small piece a of paper. MAN: Uh—how do you do, miss. I amlookingfor a Mrs. —(He looks at the of paper.) Mrs. Lena Younger? stops short, slip (He struck dumb at the sight the oblivious of WALTER RUTH.) and BENEATHA (smoothingher hair withslight embarrassment): — Oh yes, that's my mother. Excuseme. (She closes door turns the and to quiet the other two.) Ruth! Brother! (Enunciating precisely but soundlessly: "There's awhite man at the 93They stop door! dancing, RUTH cuts the phonograph, opens off BENEATHA the door. The mancastsacurious quickglance ofthem.) at allUh— come in please. MAN (coming Thank you. in): BENEATHA: My mother isn't here now. business? just Is it MAN: Yes . . . well, of a sort. WALTER(freely, the Man of theHouse): Have I'm Mrs. aseat. Younger's son. I look mostof herbusiness matters. after 550

Lorraine Hansberry RUTH and BENEATHA exchange amused glances. MAN (regarding WALTER, sitting) \y nameKarl and is Lindner. .. WALTER (stretching out his hand): Walter Younger. This my is wife—(RUTH nods politely.)—andmy sister. LINDNER: How do you do. WALTER (amiably,as he sits himself on achair,leaning foreasily ward on his knees with interest andlooking expectantly into the newcomer's face): What can we do for you, Mr. Lindner! LINDNER (some minor shuffling of the hat and on his briefcase knees): Well—I am a representativeof the ClybournePark Improvement Association— WALTER (pointing): Why don'tyou sityour things the floor? on LINDNER: Oh—yes. Thank you. (He slides briefcase the and hat under the chair.) And as I was saying—Ifromthe bourne am Cly Park Improvement Association and we have had itbrought to our attention at the last meeting that you people—or atleast your mother—has bought a pieceof residential property at— (He digs for theslip of paperagain.)—fouro six Clybourne Street.. . WALTER: That's right. Care for somethingtodrink? Ruth,get Mr. Lindner a beer. LINDNER (upset for some reason):Oh—no, really. Imean thank you very much, but no thank you. RUTH (innocently): Some coffee? LINDNER: Thank you, nothingat all. BENEATHA is watchingthe man carefully. LINDNER: Well, I don't know how much you know about folks our organization. (He is a gentle man;thoughtful and somewhat labored in his manner.) It is one ofthese communityorganizations set up to look after—oh, youknow, things like block upkeep and special projects and we also have what wecall our New Neighbors Orientation Committee . .. BENEATHA (drily): Yes—and what they do do? LINDNER (turning a little to her and then returningthemain force to WALTER): Well—it's whatyou might call sort welcoming a of committee, I guess. I mean they, we—I'mthe chairmanof the

A RAISIN THE SUN Act IIHI IN Scene committee—go around and see the new people move into who the neighborhood and sort of themthe give lowdown on the way we do things out inClybourne Park. BENEATHA (with appreciation the two meanings, escape of which RUTHand WALTER): Un-huh. LINDNER: And we also havethecategoryof the what association calls — (He looks elsewhere.) community uh—special — problems . . . BENEATHA:Yes—andwhat some are of those? WALTER: Girl,let the mantalk. LINDNER (with understated relief): Thank would sort you. I of like to explain this thingin my own mean to way. wantexplain I I to you in a certain way. WALTER: Go ahead. LINDNER: Yes. Well. I'mgoingto try to get to the I'm right point. sure we'll all appreciate thatin the long run.

WALTER: Be still now! LINDNER:Well— RUTH (still innocently): Would like another you chair—you don't look comfortable. LINDNER (more frustrated than annoyed): thank very No, you much. Please. Well—toget to the I—(A right point great breath, and he is at last.)I amsure people must of off you be aware some of the incidents which have happenedin various parts of the city when colored people have moved into certain areas — (BENEATHA exhales heavily starts tossingfruit and piece a of up and down in the air.) Well—because have what is we think I going to be a unique typeoforganization American comin munitylife —not only wedeplore that kind do thing—but of we are trying to do something (BENEATHA about it. stops tossing and turns with a new andquizzical interestto the man.) We feel—(gainingconfidencein hismission becausethe of interest in the faces of thepeople is he talking to)—wethat of feel most the trouble inthis world, when come right down you it— (He to hits his knee for emphasis.)—mostof the trouble exists because people just don't sitdown andtalkto each other. RUTH (noddingas shemight church, in pleased with the remark): You can say that again, mister.

Lorraine Hansberry LINDNER (more encouraged by such affirmation): Thatwe don't try hard enough in this world to understand the other fellow's problem. The other guy's point of view. RUTH: Now that's right. BENEATHA and WALTER merely watch and listen interest. with genuine

LINDNER: Yes—that's the way we out in Clybourne Park. feel And that's why I was elected to come here this afternoon and talk to you people. Friendly like, you know, the way people should talk to each other and see if we couldn't find some way to work this thing out. As I say, the whole business is a matter of caring about the other fellow. Anybody can see that you are a nice family of folks, hard workingand honestI'm sure. (BENEATHA frowns slightly, quizzically, her head tilted regarding him.) Today everybody knows what it means to be on the outside of something. And of course, there is always somebody who is out to take advantage of people who don't always understand. WALTER: What do you mean? LINDNER: Well—you see our community is made up of people who've worked hard as the dickens for years to build up that little community. They're not rich and fancy people; hardjust working, honest people who don't really have much but those little homes and a dream of the kind of community they want to raise their children in. Now, I don't say we are perfect and there is a lot wrong in some of the things they want. But you've got to admit that a man, right or wrong, has the righ to want to have the neighborhood he lives in a certain kind of way. And at the moment the overwhelming majority of our people out there feel that people get along better, take more of a common interest in the of the community, when they life share a common background. I want you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn't enter into it. 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 in their own live communities. BENEATHA (with a grand and bitter gesture): This, friends, the is Welcoming Committee!


A RAISININ THE SUN Act IIScene HI WALTER (dumfounded, looking Isthis what came LINDNER,): at you marching all the way over here to tellus? LINDNER: Well, now we've been having a fineconversation. I hope you'll hear me all the way through. WALTER (tightly): Go ahead, man. LINDNER: You see—-inthe of all the things face I have said, we are prepared to make your family avery generous . . . offer BENEATHA: Thirty pieces and not a coin less! WALTER: Yeah? LINDNER (putting on his glasses drawingform of the and a out briefcase): Our association is prepared, throughthe collective effort of our people, to buy the house you at a financial from gain to your family. RUTH: Lord have mercy, ain't this living gall! the WALTER: All right,you through? LINDNER: Well, I want to giveyou the exact termsof the financial arrangement— WALTER: We don't want to hear no exact termsof no arrangements. I want to know if you got anymoretotellus 'boutgetting together? LINDNER (taking his off glasses): Well—I don'tsuppose that you feel. . . WALTER: Never mindhow I feel—yougot any more say 'bout to how people ought to sit down andtalk toeach other? . . . Get out of my house, man. (He turns his back and walks to the door.) LINDNER (looking aroundat the hostile and reaching faces and assembling his hat and briefcase): Well—I don'tunderstand why you people are reacting this way. What do youthink you are going to gain by moving into a neighborhood where youjust aren't wanted and where some elements—well—peoplecan get awful worked up when they that their wholeand of feel life way everything they've ever workedfor isthreatened. WALTER: Get out. LINDNER (at the door, holding small Well—I'm sorry a card): it went like this. WALTER: Get out. LINDNER (almostsadly regarding You just can't force WALTER,): people to change their hearts, son. 554

Lorraine Hansberry He turns and puts his card on a table and exits. pushes WALTER the door to with stinging hatred, and stands looking at it. RUTH just sits and BENEATHA just stands. Theysay MAMAand nothing. TRAVIS enter. MAMA: Well—this all the packing got done sinceI of here leftout this morning. Itestify before God that my children got all the energy of the dead! What time the moving men due? BENEATHA: Four o'clock. You had a caller, Mama. (Sheis smiling, teasingly.) MAMA: Sure enough—who? BENEATHA (her armsfoldedsaucily): The Welcoming Committee. WALTERand RUTH giggle. MAMA (innocently): Who? BENEATHA: The Welcoming Committee. They said they're sure going to be glad to see you when you get there. WALTER (devilishly): Yeah, they said they can't hardly wait to see your face. Laughter. MAMA (sensing their facetiousness): What'sthe matter withyou all? WALTER: Ain't nothing the matter with us. We just telling you 'bout the gentleman who came to see you this afternoon. From the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. MAMA: What he want? RUTH (in the same moodas WALTER): welcome BENEATHA and To you, honey. WALTER: He said they can't hardly wait. He said the one thing they don't have, that they just dying to have out there is a fine family of fine colored people! (to RUTH BENEATHA) Ain't and that right! RUTH (mockingly): Yeah! left card— He his BENEATHA (handlingcardto In case. MAMA): MAMA reads and throws it on the floor—understanding and looking off as she draws her chair up to the table on which she has put her plant and some sticks and some cord. MAMA: Father, give us strength, (knowingly—and without fun) Did he threaten us?

A RAISININ THE SUN Act II Scene III BENEATHA: Oh—Mama—they don't do it like that any more. talked Brotherhood. He said everybody ought to learn how to sit down and hate each other with good Christian fellowship. She and WALTER shake hands to ridicule the remark.

MAMA (sadly): Lord, protect us ... RUTH: You should hear the money those folks raised to buy the house from us. All we paid and then some. BENEATHA: What they think we goingto do—eat'em? RUTH: No, honey, marry 'em. MAMA (shaking her head): Lord, Lord, Lord . . . RUTH: Well—that's the way the crackers crumble, (a beat) Joke. BENEATHA (laughingly noticing whather mother doing): Mama, is what are you doing? MAMA: Fixing my plant so it won't get hurt none on the wa BENEATHA: Mama, you going to take that to the new house? MAMA: Un-huh — BENEATHA: That raggedy-looking thing? old MAMA (stopping and looking at her): It expressesME! RUTH (with delight, to BENEATHA): So there, Miss Thing! WALTER comes to MAMA suddenlyand bends down behind and her squeezes her in his arms with all his strength. She is overwhelmed by the suddenness of it and, though delighted, her manneris like that ofRUTHand TRAVIS. MAMA: Look out now, boy! You make me mess up my thing here! WALTER (his face lit, he slips downon his kneesbeside her, his arms still about her): Mama . . . you know what it means climb up in the chariot? MAMA (gruffly, very happy): Get on away from me now . . . RUTH (near the gift-wrapped package,trying catch WALTER'S to eye): Psst— WALTER: What the old song say, Mama ... RUTH: Walter—Now? (She pointing the package.) is at WALTER (speaking the lines, sweetly, playfully, in his mother's face): I got wings . . . you gotwings . . . All God's Children gotwings . . . MAMA: Boy—get out of my face and do some work


Lorraine Hansberry WALTER: When I get to heaven gonnaput on my wings, Gonna fly all over God's heaven . . .

BENEATHA (teasingly, from acrossthe room): Everybody talking 'bout heaven ain't going there! WALTER (to RUTH, who is carryingthe box across them):I don't to know, you think we ought to give her that. . . Seems to ain't been very appreciative around here. MAMA (eying the box, whichis obviously What that? gift: a is WALTER (taking it from and puttingit on the table front RUTH in of MAMA): Well—whatyou all think? Should giveher? we it to RUTH: Oh—she was pretty good today. MAMA: I'll good you— (She turns her to the box again.) eyes BENEATHA: Open it, Mama. (She stands up, looks at it, turns and looks at all of them, and then presses her hands together and does not open the package.) WALTER (sweetly): Open it, Mama. It'sfor you. looks (MAMA in his eyes. It is the first present in her life withoutits being Christmas. Slowly she opens her package and one by one, a lifts out, brand-new sparkling set of gardening tools. continues, WALTER prodding.) Ruth made up the note—read it... MAMA (picking up thecard and adjustingher glasses): "To our own Mrs. Miniver—Lovefrom Brother, Ruth and Beneatha." Ain't that lovely . . . TRAVIS (tuggingat his father's sleeve): Daddy, I give mine can her now? WALTER: All right,("TRAVIS to get his son. flies gift.) MAMA: Now I don't have to use my knives and forks no more . WALTER: Travis didn't want to go in with the rest of us, Mama. He got his own. (somewhat amused) We don't know what it is ... TRAVIS (racing back in the room with a large hatbox and putting it in front of his grandmother): Here! MAMA: Lord have mercy, baby. You done gone and bought your grandmother a hat? TRAVIS (very proud): Openit! (She does an elaborate, liftsout and but very elaborate, wide gardening hat, and all the adults break up at the sight of it.)

A RAISIN THE SUN Act IIScene IN HI RUTH: Travis, honey, what that? is TRAVIS (who thinksit is beautifuland appropriate): It's agardening hat! Like the ladies always have on in themagazines when they work in their gardens. BENEATHA (giggling fiercely): Travis—we were tryingmake to Mama Mrs. Miniver—not Scarlett O'Hara! MAMA (indignantly): What'sthe matter with all! This here you is a beautiful hat! (absurdly) I always wanted one like me just it! (She pops it on her head to prove it to her grandson, and the hat is ludicrous and considerably oversized.) RUTH: Hot dog! Go, Mama! WALTER (doubled over with laughter):I'm sorry, —but Mama you look like you ready to go out and chop you some cotton sure enough! They all laugh except out deference feelings. MAMA, of TRAVIS' to MAMA (gatheringthe boy up to her): your Bless heart—thisthe is prettiesthat I ever owned—(WALTER, chime BENEATHA RUTH and in—noisily, festively and insincerely congratulating TRAVIS on his gift.) What are we all standing around for? We here ain't finished packin' yet. Bennie,you ain't packedonebook. (The bell rings.) BENEATHA: That couldn't be the movers . . .it's nothardly good yet— BENEATHA goes intoher MAMA starts the door. room. for WALTER (turning, stiffening): Wait—wait—I'll it. (He stands get and looks at the door.) MAMA: You expecting company, son? WALTER(just looking at the Yeah—yeah . . . door): MAMA looks RUTH, and they exchange innocent at and unfrightened glances. MAMA (not understanding): Well, them son. let in, BENEATHA (from her room):We need some more string. MAMA: Travis—yourun to the hardware get mesome string and cord. MAMA goesout WALTER turns looks and and at RUTH. TRAVISgoes to a dish for money. RUTH: Why don't you answer the door,man? 558


Lorraine Hansberry WALTER (suddenly bounding across floor embrace her): the to 'Cause sometimes it hard to let the future begin! (Stooping down in herface.) I got wings!You got wings! All God's children got wings! He crossesto the doorand throwsit open. Standing there a very is slight little man in a not too prosperous business suit and with haunted frightened eyes and a hat pulled down tightly, brimup, around his forehead. passes betweenthe men and exits. TRAVIS WALTER leansdeep in the man's still his jubilance. face, in When I get to heaven gonna on my wings, put Gonna fly all overGod's heaven. . . (The little man just stares at him.) Heaven — (Suddenly he stops and looks past the little man into the empty hallway.) Where's Willy, man? BOBO: He ain't with me. WALTER (not disturbed): Oh —come in. You know on wife. my BOBO (dumbly, taking hat): offhis Yes—h'you,Miss Ruth. RUTH (quietly, a mood apart fromher husband already, seeing BOBO,): Hello, Bobo. WALTER: You right on time today . . .Right ontime. That's the way! (Heslaps BOBO on his back.) Sitdown . . lemmehear. . RUTH stands stiffly and quietlyin back of them, though as somehow she senses death, her fixed on her husband. eyes BOBO (his frightened eyes the floor, hat in hishands): Could on his I please get a drink of water, beforeItellyou aboutit,Walter Lee? WALTER doesnot takehisoffthe man. eyesRUTH goes blindly to the tap and getsa glass water BOBO. to of and brings it WALTER: There ain't nothing wrong, there? is BOBO: Lemme tell — you WALTER: Man—didn't nothing wrong? go BOBO: Lemme tellyou—WalterLee. (looking RUTH talking and at to her more than to WALTER) You know how itwas. I got to tell you how it was. I mean first I got to tell you how it was all the way . . . I mean about themoney I put in,Walter Lee . . . 559

A RAISININ THE SUN Act IIScene HI WALTER (with taut agitation now): What about the moneyyou put in? BOBO: Well—it wasn't much we told Willy—(He as you—me and stops.) I'm sorry, Walter. I got a bad feeling about it. I got a real badfeeling about it... WALTER: Man, what you tellingmeaboutfor? ... Tellme allthis what happened in Springfield . . . BOBO: Springfield. RUTH (like a dead woman): Whatwas supposed happen to in Springfield? BOBO (to her): This deal that me and Walter went into with Willy—Me and Willy was going to godownto Springfield and spread some money 'round so's we wouldn't have towait so long for the liquor license . . . That'swhat we were going to do. Everybody said that was the way you had to do, youunderstand, Miss Ruth? WALTER: Man—what happened down there? BOBO (apitiful man, near tears):I'm trying tell you, Walter. to WALTER (screamingat him suddenly): THEN TELL ME GODDAMNIT . . . WHAT'S THEMATTER WITH YOU? BOBO: Man . . . I didn't go to no Springfield,yesterday. WALTER (halted, hanging the moment): not? life in Why BOBO (the long way,the hard tell): 'Causedidn't have way to I no reasons to ... WALTER: Man, whatare you talking about! BOBO: I'm talking about the that whenI got to the train fact station yesterdaymorning—eight o'clock like weplanned . .. Man—Willy didn't never show up. WALTER: Why . . . where was he ... where is he? BOBO: That's what I'm trying to tell you ... waited six hours . . . I called hishouse . . . and I waited hours . . . I waited in that train station six hours . . . (breaking into tears) That was all the extra money I had in theworld . . . (looking up WALTER withthe tears running face)his at down Man, Willy is gone. WALTER: Gone, whatyou mean Willy gone? Gone where? is You mean he went by himself.You mean went Springfield he off to by himself—to take care getting —(turns looks of the license and anxiously RUTHJ You mean maybe didn't want many at he too 560

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people in on the business down there? RUTH again, as (looks to before) You know Willy got his own ways, (looks back to BOBO) Maybe you was late yesterdayand he wenton down just there without you. Maybe —maybe—he's been callin' you at home tryin' to tell you what happened or something. Maybe— maybe—he just got sick. He's somewhere—he's got to be somewhere. We just got to find him—me and you got to find him. (grabsBOBO senselessly by the collarand startsto shake him) We got to! BOBO (in sudden angry, frightened agony): What's matter with the you, Walter! When a cat take off with your money he don't leave you no road maps! WALTER (turning madly,as though isWILLY for he looking in the very room): Willy! . . . Willy ... don't do it.. i t . . . Man, not with that money . . . Man, please, not with that money . . . Oh, God . . . Don't let it be true ... (He ing around, crying out for and looking for him or perhaps WILLY for help from God.) Man . . . I trusted you . . . Man, life in your hands . . . (He starts to crumple down on floor the as RUTH just covers her in MAMA opens door face horror. the and comes into the room BENEATHA behind her.) with Man . . . (He starts to pound the floor with his fists, sobbing wildly.) THAT MONEY IS MADE OUT OF MY FATHER'S FLESHBOBO (standing over him helplessly): I'm sorry, Walter . . . (Only WALTER'S sobs reply. putson his hat.)I had my BOBO life staked on this deal, too . . . (He exits.) MAMA (to WALTERJ: Son— (She goesto him, bends down him, to talks to his bent head.) Son . . . Is it gone? Son, I gave you five hundred dollars. Is it gone?All of it? Beneatha's money too? WALTER (lifting his head slowly): Mama ... I nev the bank at a l l . . . MAMA (not wanting to believe him): You mean . . . your sister's school money . . . you used that too . . . Walter? . .. WALTER: Yessss! All of i t . . . It's all gone ... There is total silence. stands withher covered RUTH face withher hands;BENEATHA leans forlornly against wall, fingering piece a a of red ribbon from the mother's stopsand looks her MAMA gift. at son without recognition and then, quite without thinking




starts to beat him senselessly in the BENEATHA goesto them face. and stops it. BENEATHA: Mama! MAMA stopsand looksat both her childrenrisesslowly of and and wanders vaguely, aimlessly away from them. MAMA: I seen . . . him . . .night after night. .. co look at that rug ... andthen look at me ... the red showing his eyes . . . the veins moving in hishead ... I s thin and old before he was forty . . .working andworking and working like somebody's oldhorse .. .killing him you—you giveit all awayday—(She raises arms strike in a her to him again.) BENEATHA: Mama — MAMA: Oh, God . . . (She looks up toHim.) Look down here— and show me the strength. BENEATHA: Mama— MAMA (folding over): Strength . .. BENEATHA(plaintively): Mama ... MAMA: Strength!

An hour later. At curtain, there is a sullen light of gloom in the living room, gray light not unlike that which began the firstscene Act One. of At left we can WALTER within his room,alone with himself. see He is stretched out on the bed, his shirt out and open, hisarms under his head. He does not smoke,hedoesnot cryout,hemerely lies there, looking up at the ceiling, muchashe were alone if in the world. In the living room BENEATHA sitsat the table, still surrounded by the now almost ominous packing crates. sits looking She off. We feel that this is a mood struck perhaps hour and it an before, lingers now,full of the empty sound profound disappointment. of We see on a line from her brother's bedroom sameness their the of attitudes. Presentlythe bell rings rises without BENEATHA and am561

Lorraine Hansberry bition or interest in answering.It issmilingbroadly,stridASAGAI, ing into the room with energy and happy expectation andconversation.

ASAGAI: I came over . . . I had sometime. Ithought Imight free help with the packing. Ah, I likethe lookofpacking crates! A household in preparation for a journey! Itdepresses some people . . . but for me . . . it isanother feeling.Somethingthe full of flow of life, do you understand? Movement, progress makes me think ofAfrica. BENEATHA: Africa! ASAGAI: What kindof a moodis Havetold howdeeply this? I you you move me? BENEATHA: He gave away the money, Asagai. . . ASAGAI: Who gave away what money? BENEATHA: The insurance money.My brother gave away. it ASAGAI: Gaveit away? BENEATHA: He made an investment! Witha man even Travis wouldn't have trusted with his most worn-out marbles. ASAGAI: And it's gone? BENEATHA: Gone! ASAGAI: I'm very sorry . . . Andyou, now? BENEATHA: Me? . . .Me? . . . Me, I'mnothing . . . Me. When I wa very small. . . we used to take our sleds out in thewintertime and the only hills we had were the ice-covered stone stepsof some houses down the street. And we used to fillthem inwith snow and make them smooth and slide down them all day . . . and it was very dangerous, youknow . . . far toosteep . . . and sure enough one day a kid named came down too Rufus fast and hit the sidewalk and we saw hisjust split open right face there in front of us ... And I remember standing there looking at his bloody openface thinking that was the endRufus. But of the ambulance came and they took him to thehospital andthey fixed the broken bones and they sewed it all up ... and the next time I sawRufus he had a little line downthemiddle his just of face ... I never gotover that. .. ASAGAI: What? BENEATHA: That that was what oneperson could do for another, fix him up —sew up the problem, makehim all rightagain. That 563

A RAISININ THE SUN Act III was the most marvelous thing in the world ... I that. I always thought it was the one concrete thing in the world that a human being could do. Fix up the sick, youknow—and make them whole again. This was truly being God . . . ASAGAI: You wanted to be God? BENEATHA: No—I wanted to cure. It used to be so important to me. I wanted to cure. It used to matter. I used to care. I mean about people and how their bodies hurt. .. ASAGAI: And you've stopped caring? BENEATHA:Yes—I think so. ASAGAI: Why? BENEATHA (bitterly): Because it doesn't seem deep enough, close enough to what ails mankind! It was a child's way of seeing things—or an idealist's. ASAGAI: Children see things very well sometimes idealists —and even better. BENEATHA: I know that's what you think. Because you are still where Ileft off. You with all your talk and dreams about Africa! You still think you can patch up the world. Cure the Great Sore of Colonialism—(loftily, mockingit) with the Penicillin Inof dependence—! ASAGAI: Yes! BENEATHA: Independence and then what? What about all the crooks and thieves and just plain idiots who will come into power and steal and plunder the samebefore—only now they as will be black and do it in the nameof the new Independence — WHAT ABOUT THEM?! ASAGAI: That will be the problemfor another time. First must we get there. BENEATHA: And where does it end? ASAGAI: End? Who even spokeof anlife? living? end?To To BENEATHA: An end to misery! To stupidity! Don't you see there isn't any real progress, Asagai, there is only one large circle that we march in, around and around, each of us with our own little picture in front of us —our own little mirage that think the we is future. ASAGAI: That is the mistake. BENEATHA: What? ASAGAI: What you justsaid—about the circle.It isn'ta circle —it

Lorraine Hansberry is simply a long line in geometry, you know, one that —as reaches into infinity. And because we cannot see the end—we also cannot see how it changes. And it isvery odd but those who see the changes—who dream, who will not give up —are called idealists . . . and those who see only the circle—we call them the "realists"! BENEATHA: Asagai, while I was sleeping in that bed in there, people went out and took the future right out of my hands! And nobody asked me, nobody consultedme—theyjust went out and changed my life! ASAGAI: Was it your money? BENEATHA: What? ASAGAI: Was it your money he gaveaway? BENEATHA: It belonged to all of us. ASAGAI: But did you earn it? Would you havehad it at all if your father had not died?

ASAGAI: Then isn't there something wrong in —in a a house world—where all dreams, good or bad, must depend on the death of a man? I never thought to see you like this, Alaiyo. You! Your brother made a mistake and you are grateful to him so that now you can give up the ailing human race on account of it! You talk about what good is struggle, what good is anything! Where are we all going and why are we bothering!

ASAGAI (shouting over her):I LIVETHE ANSWER! In (pause) my village at home it is the exceptional man who can even read a newspaper . . . or who ever sees a book at all. and much of what I will have to say will seem strange to the people of my village. But I will teach and work and things will happen, slowly and swiftly. At times it will seem that nothing changes at a l l . . . and then again the sudden dramatic events which make history leap into thefuture. And then quiet again. Retrogression even. Guns, murder, revolution. And I even will have moments when I wonder if the quiet was not better than all that death and hatred. But I will look about my village at the illiteracy and disease and ignorance and I will not wonder long. And perhaps . . . perhaps I will be a great man haps I will hold on to the substance of truth and find my way 5^5 I

A RAISIN THE SUN Act III IN always with the right course . . . and perhaps for it will be I butchered in my bedsome night by the servants of empire . . . BENEATHA: The martyr! ASAGAI (He smiles): . . . perhaps live be very or shall I to a old man, respected andesteemed in my new nation . . . And perhaps I shall hold office andthisis I'm what tryingtell you, Alaiyo: to Perhaps the thingsbelieve I now for my country will be wrong and outmoded, and Iwillnotunderstand and do terrible things to have things my way ormerely keep power. Don't to my you see that there willbeyoung men and women—not British soldiers then, but my ownblack countrymen—to out of the step shadows some eveningandslitmy then useless throat? Don't you see they have always been there . .that they always will . be. And that such athing as my own death willbe an advance? They who might kill meeven . . actually replenish all that I . was. BENEATHA: Oh, Asagai,know that. I all ASAGAI: Good!Then stop moaning groaning tell and andme what you plan to do.

ASAGAI: I have bit of asuggestion. a BENEATHA: What? ASAGAI (rather quietly him): That it isover—that for when all you come home with me— BENEATHA(staringat him andcrossing away with exasperation): Oh—Asagai this moment decide be —at you to romantic! ASAGAI (quickly understanding misunderstanding): dear, the My young creature of the New World—Ido not mean across the city—I mean across ocean: the home—to Africa. BENEATHA (slowly understandingand turning him with to murmured amazement): To Africa? ASAGAI: Yes! . . . (smiling and his lifting playfully) Three arms hundred years laterthe AfricanPrince rose out of the up seas and swept themaiden back across middle passage over which the her ancestorshad come — BENEATHA (unableplay):To—to to Nigeria? ASAGAI: Nigeria. Home, (coming her with to genuine romantic flippancy) I will showyou ourmountains our and and stars; give you cool drinks from gourds and teachyou the old songs

Lorraine Hansberry and the ways of our people—and, in time, we will pretend that— (very softly)—you have only been away for a day. Say that you'll come—(He swings her around and takes her in his armsin full a kiss which proceeds to passion.) BENEATHA (pulling away suddenly): You're getting all mixed me upASAGAI: Why? BENEATHA: Too many things—too many things have happened today. I must sit down and think. I don't know what about feel I anything right this minute. (She promptly sits down and props her chin on her fist.) ASAGAI (charmed): All right, I shall leave you. No—don't get up. (touching her, gently, sweetly) Just sit awhile and think Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. (He goes to door and looks at her.) How often I have looked at you and said, — "Ah so this is what the New World hath finally wrought..." He exits. BENEATHA sitson alone. WALTER enters from Presently his room and starts to rummage through things, feverishly looking for something. She looks up and turns in her seat. BENEATHA (hissingly):Yes—just look at what the New World hath wrought! . . . Just look! (She gestures with bitter disgust.) There he is! Monsieur petit bourgeois noir—himself! le There he is—Symbol of a Rising Class! Entrepreneur! Titan of the system!(WALTER ignores her completely and continues frantically and destructively looking for something and hurling things to floor and tearing things out of their place in his search.BENEATHA ignores the eccentricityof his actions and goes on with the monologue of insult.) Did you dream of yachts on Lake Michigan, Brother? Did you see yourself on that Great Day sitting down at the Conference Table, surrounded by all the mighty bald-headed men in America? All halted, waiting, breathless, waiting for your pronouncements on industry? Waiting for you—Chairman of the Board! (WALTER finds what he is looking for—a small pieceof whitepaper—and pushes it in his pocket and puts on his coat and rushes out without ever having looked at her. She shouts after him.) I look at you and I see the final triumph of stupidity in the world!


A RAISININ THE SUN Act III The door slams and she returns to quickly out MAMA'S room. of just sitting again. RUTH comes

RUTH: Who was that? BENEATHA: Your husband. RUTH: Where did hego? BENEATHA: Who knows—maybe he has an appointment at U.S. Steel. RUTH (anxiously, with frightened eyes): You didn't say nothing bad to him, didyou? BENEATHA: Bad? Say anythingbad to No—I toldhim he was him? a sweet boy and of dreams and everythingis strictly peachy full keen, as the ofay kids say! MAMA enters from her bedroom. She is lost, vague, tryingto catch hold, to make some sense of her former command of the world, but it still eludes her. A sense of waste overwhelms her gait; a measure of apology rides on her shoulders. She goes to her plant, which has remained on the table, looks at it, picks it up and takes it to the windowsill and sits it outside, and she stands and looks at it a long moment. Then she closes the window, straightens her body with effort and turns around to her children. MAMA: Well—ain'tit a mess here, though? cheerfulness, in false (a a beginning of something) I guess we all better stop moping around and get some work done. All this unpacking and everything we got to ("RUTH raises her head slowly in response to do. the sense of the line;and BENEATHA similar manner turns very in slowly to look at her mother.) One of you all better call the moving people and tell 'em not to come. RUTH: Tell 'em not to come? MAMA: Of course, baby. Ain't no need in 'em coming all the way here and having to go back. They charges for that too. (She sits down, fingers to her brow, thinking.) Lord, ever since I was a little girl, I always remembers people saying, "Lena —Lena Eggleston, you aims too high all the time. You needs to slow down and see a little more like it is. Just slow down life some." That's what they always used to say down home —"Lord, that Lena Eggleston is a high-minded thing. She'll get her due one day!" RUTH: No, Lena . . .

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MAMA: Me and Big Walterjust didn't never learn right. RUTH: Lena, no! We gotta go. Bennie—tell her . . . (She rises and crosses to BENEATHA with her arms outstretched. BENEATHA doesn't respond.) Tell her we can still move . . . the notes ain but a hundred and twenty-five a month. We got four grown people in this house—we can work ... MAMA (to herself): Just aimedtoo high time— all the RUTH (turning and going to fast—the words pouring out MAMA with urgency and desperation):Lena—I'll work . . . I'll work twenty hours a day in all the kitchens in Chicago . . . I'll strap my baby on my back if I have to and scrub all the floors in America and wash all the sheets in Americaif I have to—but we got to MOVE! We got to get OUT OF HERE!! MAMA reaches out absentlyandRUTH'S hand. pats

MAMA: No—I sees things differently now. Been thinking 'bout some of the things we could do to fix this place up some. I seen a second-hand bureau over on Maxwell Street just the other day that could fit right there. (She points to where the new furniture might go. RUTH wanders away from her.) Would need some new handles on it and then a little varnish and it look like something brand-new.And—we can put up them new curtains in the kitchen . . . Why this place be looking fine. Cheer us all up s that we forget trouble ever come RUTHJ (to you could . . . And get some nice screens to put up in your room round the baby's bassinet. . . (She looks at both of them, pleadingly.) Sometimes you just got to know when to give up some things . . . and ho on to what you got. .. WALTER enters from the outside, looking spent and leaning against the door, his coat hanging from him. MAMA: Where you been, son? WALTER (breathing hard): Madea call. MAMA: To who, son? WALTER: To The Man. (He heads for his room.) MAMA: What man, baby? WALTER (stops in thedoor): The Man, Mama. who The Man is? RUTH: Walter Lee?

Don't you know



WALTER: The Man. Like the guys in the streets say—The Man. Captain Boss—Mistuh Charley . . . Old Cap'n Please Mr. Bossman . . . BENEATHA (suddenly): Lindner! WALTER: That's right! That's good. I told him to come right over. BENEATHAy understanding):For what? What you want (fiercely do to see him for! WALTER (looking at his sister): We going to do business with him. MAMA: What you talking 'bout, son? WALTER: Talking 'bout life, Mama. You all always telling me to see life like it is. Well—I laid in there on my back today . . . and I figured it out. just like it is. Who gets and who Life don't (He sits down with his coat on and laughs.) Mama, you know it's all divided up. Life is. Sure enough. Between the takers and the "tooken." (He laughs.) I've figured it out finally. (He looks around at them.) Yeah. Some of us always getting "tooken." (He laughs.) People like Willy Harris, they don't never get "tooken." And you know why the rest of us do? 'Cause we all mixed up. Mixed up bad. We get to looking 'round for the rig and the wrong; and we worry about it and cry about it and stay up nights trying to figure out 'bout the wrong and the right of things all the time . . . And all the time, man, them takers is there operating, just taking and taking. Willy Harris? Sh Willy Harris don't even count. He don't even count in the big scheme of things. But I'll say one thing for old Willy Harris he's taught me something. He's taught me to keep my eye on what counts in this world.Yeah—(shouting out a little.) Thanks, Willy! RUTH: What did you call that man for, Walter Lee? WALTER: Called him to tell him to come on over to the show. Gonna put on a show for the man. Just what he wants to You see, Mama, the man came here today and he told us that them people out there where you want us to move—well they so upset they willing to pay us not to move! (He laughs again.) And—and oh, Mama—you would of been proud of the way me and Ruth and Bennie acted. We told him to get out. have mercy! We told the man to get out! Oh, we was some proud folks this afternoon, yeah. (He lights a cigarette.) We were stillfull of that old-time stuff. . . 570

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RUTH (coming toward him slowly): You talking 'bout taking them people's money to keep us from moving in that house? WALTER: I ain't just talking 'bout it, baby—I'm tellingyou that's what's going to happen! BENEATHA: Oh, God! Where is the bottom! Where is the real honest-to-God bottom so he can't go any farther! WALTER: See—that's the old stuff. You and that boy thatwas here today. You all want everybody to carry a flag and a spear and sing some marching songs, huh? You wanna spend your life looking into things and trying to find the right and the wrong part, huh? Yeah. You know what's going to happen to that boy someday—he'll find himself sitting in a dungeon, lockedin forever—and the takers will have the key! Forget it, baby! There ain't no causes—there ain't nothing but taking in this world, and he who takes most is smartest—and it don't make a damn bit of difference how. MAMA: You making something insideme cry, son. Some awful pain inside me. WALTER: Don't cry, Mama. Understand. That white man is going to walk in that door able to write checks for more money than we ever had. It's important to him and I'm going to help him . . . I'm going to put on the show, Mama. MAMA: Son—I comefrom five generationsof people who was slaves and sharecroppers —but ain't nobodyin family never my let rjobody pay 'em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn't fit to walk the earth. We ain't never been that poor. (raising hereyes and looking at him) We ain't neverthat— been dead inside. BENEATHA: Well—we are dead now. All the talk about dreams and sunlight that goes on in this house. It's all dead now. WALTER: What's the matter with you all! I didn't make this world! It was give to me this way! Hell, yes, I want me some yachts someday! Yes, I want to hang some real pearls 'round my wife's neck. Ain't she supposed to wear no pearls? Somebody tell me — tell me, who decides which women is suppose to wear pearls in this world. I tell you I am a man—and I think my should wife wear some pearls in this world! This last line hangs a good while and begins to WALTER move about

A RAISIN THE SUN Act III IN the room. The word "Man" has penetrated his consciousness; he mumbles it to himself repeatedly between strange agitated pauses as he moves about.

MAMA: Baby, how you goingto on the feel inside? WALTER: Fine! . . . Going feel to fine ... a man . . . MAMA: You won't have nothing then, Walter Lee. left WALTER (coming to her): I'm goingtofine, Mama.I'm going feel to look that son-of-a-bitchin the eyes — falters.) say—(He and and say, "All right, Mr. Lindner— falters even more.) (He — that's your neighborhood out there! You got the right to keep it like you want! You got the right to have it like you want! Just write the checkand—the house is yours." And—andI am going to say—(His voice almost breaks.) "And you—you people just put the money in my hand and you won't have live next to to this bunch of stinking niggers! . . ." (He straightens moves away from his mother, walking around the room.) And maybe—maybe I'lljust get down on my black knees . . . (He does so; RUTH and MAMA watch BENNIE and him in frozen horror.) "Captain, Mistuh,— Bossman and grinning (groveling and wringing his hands in profoundly anguished imitation of the slow-witted movie stereotype.) A-hee-hee-hee! Oh, yassuh boss! Yasssssuh! Great — (Voice breaking, forces himselfto white! he go on.) Father,just gi' ussen de money, fo' God's sake, and — we's—we's ain't gwine come out deh and dirty up yo' white folks neighborhood ..." (He breaks down completely.) An I'll feel fine! Fine! FINE! (He gets up and goes intothe bedroom.) BENEATHA: That is not a man. That is nothing but a toothless rat. MAMA: Yes —death done come this here house. (She nodding, in is slowly, reflectively.) Done come walking in my house on the lips of my children. You what supposed to be my beginning again. You—what supposedto be myBENEATHAJ harvest,(to You—you mourning your brother? BENEATHA: He's no brother of mine. MAMA: Whatyou say? BENEATHA: I said that that individualin that room is no brother of mine. MAMA: That's what I thoughtyou said.You feeling like better you

Lorraine Hansberry

than he is today? (BENEATHA does not answer.) Whatyou Yes? tell him a minute ago? That he wasn't a man? You give Yes? him up for me? You done wrote his epitaph too—like the rest of the world? Well, who give you the privilege? BENEATHA: Be on my sidefor once!You saw whatjust did, he Mama! You saw him—down on his knees. Wasn't it you who taught me to despise any man who would do that? Do what he's going to do? MAMA: Yes—I taught you that.Me and your daddy.But I thought I taught you something else too . . . I thought I taught love him. BENEATHA: Lovehim? Thereis nothing love. leftto MAMA: There is always something to love. And if you left ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing. (Looking at her.) Have you cried for that boy today? I don't mean for yourself and for the family 'cause we lost the money. I mean for him: what he been through and what it done to him. Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well, then, you ain't through learning—because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so! When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is. TRAVIS bursts into the room at the end of the speech, leavingthe door open. TRAVIS: Grandmama —the moving men are downstairs! The truck just pulled up. MAMA (turning and looking at him): Are they, baby? They downstairs? She sighs and sits. LINDNER appears in the doorway.He peers in and knocks lightly, to gain attention, and comes in. All turn look at him. LINDNER (hat and briefcase in hand): Uh—hello . . . RUTH crosses mechanically to the bedroom door and opens it and lets it swing open freely and slowly as the lights come up on


A RAISIN THE SUN Act III IN WALTER within, stillin his coat, sitting the far corner the at of room. He looks up and out though the roomto LINDNER. RUTH: He's here. (A long minute passes slowly gets WALTER and up.) LINDNER (comingto the table efficiency, putting with briefcase his on the table and starting to unfold papersandunscrew fountain pens): Well, I certainlywas glad hear youpeople. to from (WALTER has begun the trekout of the room,slowly awkwardly, and rather like a small boy, passingthe back hissleeve across of his mouth from time to time.) can reallybe so much simpler Life than people let it be most of the time. Well—withwhomdo I negotiate? You, Mrs. Younger, or your(MAMA sits son here? with her hands foldedon her lap and her closed WALTER as eyes advances. TRAVIS goes closer and looks thepapers LINDNER to at curiously.) Just some official papers, sonny. RUTH: Travis,you go downstairs— MAMA (openingher and looking into No. Travis, eyes WALTER'S,): you stay right here. And you make him understand what you doing, Walter Lee. You teach him good. Like Willy Harris taught you. You show where our fivegenerations done come to. (WALTER looks from her to the boy, who grins at him innocently.) Go ahead,sonher hands closes (Shefolds — and her eyes.) Go ahead. WALTER (at last crosses LINDNER, to who isreviewing contract: the Well, Mr. Lindner. (BENEATHA turns away.)We called you— (There is a profound, simple groping quality his in speech.) — because, well, me and my family(He looks around shifts and from one foot to the other.) Well—we arevery plain people . . . LINDNER:Yes— WALTER: Imean—I have worked chauffeur life— my as a most of and mywife here, she does domestic workin people'skitchens. So does my mother. mean—we areplain people . . . I LINDNER: Yes,Mr.Younger— WALTER (really likea small boy, looking down hisshoes at and then up at the man): And—uh—well, father, well, was a my he laborer most of his . . . life LINDNER (absolutely confused):Uh, I understand. yes—yes, (He turns back to the contract.) WALTER (a beat, staring him): at And father—(with sudden my

Lorraine Hansberry

intensity) My father almost beat a man to death once because this man called him a bad name or something, you know what I mean? LINDNER (looking up,frozen): No, no, I'm afraiddon't— I WALTER (A beat. The tension hangs; then steps back from WALTER it.): Yeah. Well—what I mean is that we come from people who had a lot of pride. mean—we are very proud people. And I that's my sister over there and she's going to be a doctor—and we are veryproud— LINDNER: Well—Iam sure that very nice, is but— WALTER: What I am telling you is that we calledyou over hereto tell you that we are very proud and that this —(signaling to TRAVISJ Travis, come here. crosses draws ("TRAVIS WALTER and him before him facing the man.) This is my son, and he makes the sixth generation our family in this country. And we haveall thought about your offer— LINDNER: Well, good . . . — good WALTER: And we have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick. (MAMA has her eyes closedand is rocking back and forth as though she were in church, with her head nodding the Amen yes.) 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. (He looks the man absolutely in the eyes.) We don't want your money. (He turns and walks away.) LINDNER: (looking around at all of them): I take then—that it you have decided to occupy ... BENEATHA: That's what the man said. LINDNER (to MAMA in herreverie): ThenI would like appeal to to you, Mrs. Younger. You are older and wiser and understand things better I am sure . . . MAMA: I am afraid you don't understand. My son said we was going to move and there ain't nothing for me to say. left (briskly) You know how these young folks is nowadays, mister. Can't do a thing with 'em! (As he opens his mouth, she rises.) Goodbye. LINDNER (folding up his materials): you are that —ifWell final about i t . . . there is nothing for me to say. (Hefinishes, left almost ignored by the family, who are concentrating on WALTER

A RAISIN THE SUN Act HI IN LEE. At the door LINDNERhalts looks around.) hope and sure I you people know what you're getting into.(He his shakeshead and exits.) RUTH (looking around life): Well, God's andcoming for sake— to if the moving men are here-LET'SGET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! MAMA (into action): Ain'tit the truth! Look all here mess. at this Ruth, put Travis' good jacket on him . .Walter Lee, fix . your tie and tuck your shirt in, you look somebody's hoodlum! like Lord have mercy, where my is plant?flies get it (She amid to the general bustlingofthe family,who are deliberately trying to ignore the nobility ofthepast moment.)You all on start down . . . Travis child, don't go empty-handed . .Ruth, where . put that box with myskillets in it? wantto be in I chargeof it myself. . . I'm going tomake us the biggest dinner we ate ever tonight. . . Beneatha, what's the matter with them stockings? Pull them things up, girl. . . The family starts to file out as two movingmen and appear begin to carry out theheavier pieces offurniture, bumping intofamily the as they move about. BENEATHA: Mama, Asagai asked to me marry today go him and to Africa— MAMA (in the middle hergetting-ready activity):You of He did? ain't old enough tomarry nobody—(seeing moving the lift- men ing one of her chairs precariously) Darling, that ain't no bale of cotton, please handleit sowe can sit in it I had that again! chair twenty-five years ... The movers sigh withexasperation and go on with their work. BENEATHA (girlishly and unreasonably trying the to pursueconversation): To go to Africa,Mama a —be doctorAfrica . . . in MAMA (distracted): Yes, baby— WALTER: Africa! Whathewant to gofor? you Africa to BENEATHA: Topractice there . . . WALTER: Girl,if you don't all silly out get them ideas your head! You better marry yourself a man with some loot. . . BENEATHA (angrily, precisely in the first of play): as scenethe What have you got to dowith who marry! I WALTER: Plenty. Now Ithink George Murchison —

did I

Lorraine Hansberry BENEATHA: George Murchison! I wouldn't marryhim if he was Adam and I was Eve! WALTER and BENEATHA go out yellingat each other vigorously and the anger is loud and real till their voices diminish. RUTH stands at the door and turns to and smiles knowingly. MAMA MAMA (fixing her hat at Yeah—they something right, last): all my children . . . RUTH: Yeah—they're something. Let's go, Lena. MAMA (stalling, starting to look around at the house): Yes—I'm coming. Ruth— RUTH: Yes? MAMA (quietly, woman to woman): finally come into his manHe hood today, didn't he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain RUTH (bitingher lip lest own pride explode front her MAMA): of in Yes, Lena. WALTER'S voicecalls for them raucously. WALTER (off stage): Y'all comeon! These people charges the by hour, you know! MAMA (waving outvaguely): All right, RUTH honey—go down. on I be down directly. RUTH hesitates, then MAMA stands,at last alonein the living exits. room, her plant on the table before her as the lights start to come down. She looks around at all the walls and ceilings and suddenly, despite herself, while the children call below, a great heaving thing rises in her and she puts her fist to her mouth to takes a stifle it, final desperate look, pulls her coat about her, pats her hat and goes out. The lights dim down. The door opens and she comes back in, grabs her plant, and goes out for the last time.


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...An Analysis of A Raisin In The Sun “A Raisin In The Sun” is a play written by an African-American playwright, Lorraine Hansberry. It was first produced in 1959. Lorraine Hansberry’s work is about a black family in the Chicago’s South-Side after the Second World War. The family consisted of Mama (Lena Younger), Walter Lee (her son), Ruth (his wife), Travis (their son), and Beneatha (Walters younger sister). The Younger family lived in poor conditions and can’t afford to have better living standards. However, Lena is waiting to receive a $10,000 check from her ex husband’s insurance money. The two main characters in the play, Mama and Walter, want this money to be used for the benefits of the whole family. Even though both of them want to benefit the family, each one has different idea on what to do with money and how to manage it to benefit everyone. Walter Lee, like his father want’s his family to have a better life and wants to invest the money in a liquor store. Walter want’s the money so that he can prove that he is capable of making a future for his family. By doing well in business, Walter thinks that he can buy his family happiness. Walter has dreams, which he most likely got from his father. He dreams of a better life for his family and himself to be financially stable and have a comfortable living. Ruth, on the other hand is stable and down to earth. She doesn’t make rash to choices to accommodate a dream. She will just make do with what she has. Mama is a loving...

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Raisin In The Sun Allusions

...In A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry uses allusions to make audiences with varying levels of education interpret the play differently. For example, someone who is educated would interpret the play, along with the allusions, as a social commentary on racial inequality and the contrast between assimilation and nonconformity in society. However, an uneducated person who would not understand the context behind the allusions or the underlying meaning of the text would see a heartwarming story about a family who overcame multiple struggles, bought a house, and lived happily ever after. With this in mind, the play is seemingly directed towards an educated audience who would understand the references and their significance, and it just so happens that...

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A Raisin in the Sun Contrast

...Contrast Between Siblings, Walter Versus Beneatha In reading the play “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry, one can almost get the feeling they were there in Chicago in the 1950’s. The Younger’s are an African-American family whom live in a small, dilapidated two-bedroom apartment in Chicago’s south side. The play opens up with the struggling Younger family barely making it through life, but then surprisingly find out they are receiving a life insurance policy from their father; whom previously passed. The inheritance left behind by their father equals ten thousand dollars, but with this money comes sibling rivalry between Walter and his sister Beneatha. Walter, the only son of Lena Younger “Mama”, is the typical African American man from the 1950’s who is trying to support the family with his job as a chauffeur. He believes everything revolves around him and his opinions are more important than the women in his family. Walter is constantly arguing and fighting with his wife Ruth, Mama, and his sister Beneatha. He blatantly disregards his family’s concerns, more specifically, Beneatha’s concerns, and always feels like he must have the final word in any argument that unfolds. In Walter’s opinion, much like most men from his decade, he believes that the man of the house is the ultimate decision maker. Walter thinks he is realistic with his dreams, while “living in a white man’s world”; however, he is an idealist who believes that a future full of money will bring him and...

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