Important themes in “A Raisin in the Sun”
A Raisin in the Sun examines an African-American’s family struggle to break out of the themes of poverty, dreams, racism, society, and various social themes that they are faced with. Lorraine Hansberry analyzes how race prejudice and economic insecurity affect a black mans role in his own family, his ability to provide, and his identity.
One of the major themes in this play is dreams and dreams deferred. When the Younger family receives the ten thousand dollar check in the mail, each member of the family has a different opinion on how it should be spent. This money comes from Mama’s husband who passed away a few years ago. Everybody wanted the money for themselves and nobody else. Their dreams become dried up like a raisin in the sun. Not just dreams are dried up though; Walter Lee and Ruth’s marriage become dried up also. The money would let Ruth and Mama fulfill the dream of owning their own house, and Walter would use the money to pursue the dream of becoming an entrepreneur. Beneatha has a dream to finish medical school to become a doctor, so she can cure people of what ails them. Emotionally, the stress from not having their dreams realized has left them despising each other.
As well as dreams and dreams deferred, Lorraine Hansberry also talks about racism. The Younger family gets a first hand experience with prejudice when Mr. Linder greets them saying he is the “welcoming committee” from Clybourne Park (p.894). Linder is there to offer the family almost double the amount of money they paid for their new house so they can maintain their all white neighborhood. When Walter Lee first hears this offer he wants to take it, but having too much pride in his heritage, Walter decides to continue moving into the house.
Another theme that evolves in this play is poverty. The poverty they experience is noticeable in their living arrangements. In the very beginning of the...