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Analysis on Raisin in the Sun

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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 person, wise, but lives in the past. She is happy to have her family with and be safe from society. She believes money is not something that makes a family happy. Besides dreams Walter also has a husband’s responsibilities that are universally thought of as being able to support his family and raise his children so they aren’t morally in line with what he believes in. Walter’s problem, however, seems to be that he is building his supposedly well thought out plan of investing money in a liquor store into something he is infatuated with. By creating this interest, he is not able to achieve his responsibilities. Walter also shows this pride, also known as the “manly” pride, throughout the story. He always insists on being the head of the family and he thrives on the acceptance of him as that role. When his manly-hood is questioned, he gets very angry. He expects and tries to demand the rest of the family to listen to him and follow his guide throughout life. He shows is anger towards the unacceptance of his pride in the point of the story in which his mother will not give money towards the business of his interest. Mama denies him money because she has a different type of pride in her, in which you can call a “ingrained pride”. She has the good old values of putting your family first, respecting your mother, and father, and respecting the lord. She always talked about how her generation won their freedom and was proud to be able to no longer be thought of slaves. She never seemed to fully understand the type of pride Walter was searching for although she tried. She went as far as going against her belief that the $10,000 should not go towards the liquor store. She ended up giving him this money to “boost his pride”, but not before she put a down payment on a new house. Although she was going against her values, she is proud in her family and keeps her faith in them. At the end of the play, Walter loses the money his mother gave him to invest and tries to get some money back for the house. Mama tells Walter to do what he thinks is best, but he has to do it in front of Travis and make sure Travis understands what his father is doing. Mama uses Walter’s own dreams for his son to show Walter what is best for the family. Mama tries to teach Walter that money cannot solve all of their problems. Walter thought that being successful in business would teach his son that he could be anything that he wanted. Yet the lesson Mama tries to teach Walter is that no matter how much money you have, you can still be the person you want, even if that is a servant. “A Raisin In The Sun” is not just about dreams of a better life but pride and family values. Mama teaches Walter a lesson about life, about family. Mama’s old-fashion pride, and family values bring this whole family together when she tought Walter that money does not buy happiness.

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