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Summary of Lorraine Hansberry - A Raisin in the Sun Poetry

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Lorraine Hansberry was born in Chicago on May 19, 1930, the youngest of four children. Her parents were well-educated, successful black citizens who publicly fought discrimination against black people

When Hansberry was a child, she and her family lived in a black neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. During this era, segregation—the enforced separation of whites and blacks—was still legal and widespread throughout the South. Northern states, including Hansberry’s own Illinois, had no official policy of segregation, but they were generally self-segregated along racial and economic lines.

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Lena’s husband, the family’s father died and his life insurance brings the family $10,000. Everyone, especially the children, are waiting for the payment of life insurance in the amount. Now the question is whether the money should be invested in a medical school for the daughter, in a deal for the son or other dreams. There are conflicts – especially between the siblings – in which it is a matter of who has more right to his dreams, who deserves his dream sooner. Mama Lena is facing difficult decisions. Making the right decision is hard for mother Lena because she wants to make it right for everyone and no one wants to be hurt by a wrong decision. Incidentally, the play tells the story of a family which members diligently pursue work to which in a black-time enemy is neither fulfilling nor bring in a lot of money. As the story of the daughter of Lena, who is still looking after herself, and is, therefore, more volatile while the son of Walter Lee, who soon abandons himself because he wants more from his life because he wants to be respected because he wants to be the white man. Lena’s son Walter Lee Jr. is working as a chauffeur, but wants more out of his life, although he has a respected profession. “Walter believes wealth to be the answer to his feelings of desperation and hopelessness as a slum resident and employee in a dead-end job”. His wife Ruth is working from day to night, until she breaks down because she is pregnant again

She thinks of abortion, which is banned in the 50’s. Finally, there is Lena’s daughter, Beneatha (desperately wants to be a doctor and her family is very far ahead. Younger than the family believes she would have made the exit from the ghetto, but it must start again from scratch.

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It was the Hansberrys’ stance that paved the way for the ruling of Shelley v. Kramer, which declared residential segregation unconstitutional (Gordon). Reflecting this difficult reality, all of the main characters in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun are flawed. However, each character also has very honorable qualities that make him or her sympathetic to audiences. Walter is irresponsible, yet his aspirations are fueled by his desire to see his family prosper. Beneatha can be an opinionated know-it–all, yet she is intelligent, self-assured, and wants to heal people. Ruth could be viewed as a pushover, yet she is always willing to help the family reconcile and she selflessly puts the needs of her family before her own desires

Mama is the meddling matriarch of the family, yet she loves and protects her family with unparalleled fierceness. Throughout A Raisin in the Sun, each family member goes through a period of turmoil which inevitably ushers him or her into a new level of maturity. Each of the characters has choices and eventually makes the choices that keep the family united. Even though A Raisin in the Sun is a play about urbanization and the effects of segregation, it can also be viewed as an African-American bildungsroman because each of the main character experiences a transition to another level of maturity. Again, one can ask, “What happens to a dream deferred?” A Raisin in the Sun teaches audiences that people don’t have to yield to the negative effects of their environment. Lorraine Hansberry shows that deferred dreams can give birth to resilience, unity, and new dreams (Austen, Ralph A, 2016).

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Summing up, so that plant is the closest thing she ever had to a garden. Although some may be able to argue that Mama’s plant does not symbolizes anything because she only wants a garden with her house

She wants a garden and that plant is the only thing she can have but it does mean the plant symbolizes hope because she treats the plant like one of her children she nurtures it and wants to take it to a new house to live. Mama’s plant is hope for the future because it thrived or lived through not having a lot of light through that small window in the apartment just like the family went through racism.

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Hansberry, Lorraine. “A Raisin in the Sun.” The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Ed. Henry Louis Gates and Nellie Y. McKay. New York: Norton & Company, 2004. 1771-1830. Print.

Austen, Ralph A. “Struggling With The African Bildungsroman.” Research In African Literatures 46.3 (2015): 214-231. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.

Gordon, Michelle. “‘Somewhat Like War’: The Aesthetics Of Segregation, Black Liberation, And A Raisin In The Sun. “African American Review 42.1 (2008): 121-133. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.

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