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The American Dream In A Raisin In The Sun

1243 words - 5 pages

A Raisin in the Sun is a play written by Lorraine Hansberry. The primary focus of the play is the American Dream. The American Dream is one’s conception of a better life. Each of the main characters in the play has their own idea of what they consider to be a better life. A Raisin in the Sun emphasizes the importance of dreams regardless of the various oppressive struggles of life.

Primarily, in A Raisin in the Sun Walter is an example of one struggling to achieve their dream or desire. Walter serves as the hero and villain of the play due to the actions he takes revolving his dream. “Walter, who firmly believes in the American Dream of economic independence, wants to own his own ...view middle of the document...

That ain’t nothing at all. (Very quietly) Mama, I don’t know if I can make you understand” ( Hansberry , Pg.73). “Walter minimizes the position of a car driver because to him it diminishes his manhood and his sense of individual worth. In his own view, his work as a chauffeur places him in a boring and humiliating relationship of servitude to white Americans” (M’Baye Pg.5). Throughout the play Walter grows as a character from being a boy that complains about the way he is living and cares mainly about himself, to a man who realizes the importance of the dreams of his fellow family members and dignity of where he comes from.

Subsequently, in the play Mama is another example of struggling to achieve her Dream. As Howes explains, “the matriarch of the family, Lena Younger, is a commanding presence who seems to radiate moral strength and dignity”(206). “Mama’s American dream for peace is compromised by the rampant segregation that her family faces in being compelled not to buy a house from the Clybourne park white neighborhood” (M’Baye, 5). Harold Bloom suggests that Mama’s dream is to own a house with a garden and yard so that her family can become more whole and peace can be instilled. Although Lena/Mama faces a slight dilemma with Mr. Linder and numerous of conflicts with her family members, in the end her American Dream is accomplished. Another thing that Lena Younger/Mama dreamed of was raising her children the right way. Lena claims that they (Big Walter & Her) tried to instill a sense of pride and ambition in their children, and she is dismayed by the materialism and cynicism they express (Howes, 206). Howes also suggests that Lena does not understand how Beneatha doesn’t believe in God and how Walter thinks money is the most important thing in the world (206). In the play Lena tries to fix these faults in her children by force and communication. She slaps Beneatha and forces her to say “In my mothers house there is God, and she tries to change Walter’s way of thinking by having a conversation with him.

Beneatha is a third example of how a person with dreams is portrayed in the play. “Beneatha Younger is an intelligent, energetic college student who intends to become a doctor, if she can get the money for tuition” (Howes, 207). “All of the characters have their dreams challenged: Beneatha is courted by a wealthy black man who she feels has lost himself in the white culture” (Marie, and Brantley, 530). ____ suggests that because of the time period Beneatha is in, it is...

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