Thesis Statement: A Raisin in the Sun is about the family Younger who was given an insurance check that signified conflicting dreams among themselves. The poor African-American family struggles to arise to a middle-class income family as they also struggle to resolve issues about their hope, dreams, pride, racism and feminism. For the most part, A Raisin in the Sun addresses the remaining effects of dreams being deferred. (James)
One of the major themes of the play A Raisin in the Sun tackles on the value and purpose of dreams. Main characters struggle to achieve their dreams despite the pending and oppressive circumstances that pose in their lives being a poor African- American family in Chicago. Even the title reflects this as the writer of the play connects forgotten dreams to dreams that shrivel up like raisins under the sun. Each of the character in the play has separate and individual dreams. Throughout the play, the Youngers struggled to achieve these dreams and in every dismay or achievement, it correlates directly to their failure or attainments of those dreams. (Corley)
Another one recurring theme throughout the play is the Youngers fight against racial discrimination. The Youngers, being a poor African-American family cannot avoid this issue especially when they decided to move into a neighborhood that is composed of all white families. An apparent character that signifies this is Mr. Karl Lindner who offered to bribe the Youngers to not move in the neighborhood because of their color threatened the Youngers strength as a family and their values. In the end, the Youngers proved that discrimination must be eliminated through their defiance and strength and to reassert their dignity rather to allow other people to push them down. (Cocola)
One of the most important themes of the play is about family. Social and economic issues have been the predominant problems of the Youngers. But essentially they unite in the end to realize their dream of buying their own house to strengthen their own ties. Mama or Mrs. Youngers plays gives high value to her family, she is very religious, moral and maternal. The values that she so strongly held have held their family together and triumph over their problems. When she received her husband’s insurance check, her own dream was to purchase a house with a backyard so that her family may be able to move into a middle-class status and be introduced into a new kind of life. Earlier in the play, Walter and Beneatha did not realize this at first. (Cocola)
Walter as a character can be described as both protagonist and antagonist. His character is involved in the plot and the actions that he takes and the process to which he evolves throughout the play. Even if most of his actions are consequently hurtful towards his family, at the end, his growth towards manhood had made him a sort of hero in the end. He has a typical perspective of a family man striving to sustain his family needs. He becomes easily frustrated with failed attempts to elevate their economic status and to find security for his family. Although he believes that money can solve everything, Walter is not really successful with handling his own money. Walter constantly argues with his family because of his desire to have more money. Aside from not listening very well towards his other family members, he does not seem to understand the concerns of the other family members. In the end, when Walter began to listen to Mama’s and Ruth’s desire to own a house, he too realizes the importance of the family being first in their priority than getting money quickly. Walter also had insisted his manhood when he stood up for himself and refused the money being offered by Mr. Lindner. (Cocola) provides the feminist
Beneatha is a young and independent college student who has an ideal perspective of an ambitious female. Her ambition to become a doctor drives her to search for identity and own success in life. Although she admits on being independent, she is far from independent because she has to rely on the insurance money their family received in order to realize her great dream to become a doctor. The realization on her need of the family’s insurance money had created her new idea on her dreams and how to achieve it. But in the end, this event led her and Walter closer to each other. Beneatha also had her personal journey throughout the play. She has a straight hair in the beginning but when her boyfriend Asagai questioned her hairstyle, she cut it off into an afro that made her embraced her heritage more. This event reflected the contradiction of Beneatha to the style of what society dictates and transfigured into a belief that took her back to her roots in Africa. (Cocola)
Ruth on the other hand is Walter Younger’s wife and Travis’ mother. She takes care of the small apartment the Youngers live at. Although their own family experiences their own set of problems, she has no doubts and has a strong faith that their love would not be lost forever. She even tries to rekindle their love for one another. She is young at the age of about thirty years old but the weariness caused by domestic problems has made her seem older. An emotionally strong woman, she does not succumb to the poverty Walter and their family experiences and the circumstances around them. She is somehow both a pessimists and a pragmatic individual that helped her become strong and survive during these hard times. (Cocola)
Cocola, Jim & Douthat, Ross “Sparknote on a Raisin in the Sun.” 2007.
Corley, Cheryl. “A Raisin in the Sun.” 2002.
James, Rosetta. “Cliffsnote on a Raisin in the Sun.” 2007.