Custom «A Raisin in the Sun» Essay Paper Sample

A Raisin in the Sun


This play written by Lorraine Hansberry was inspired by "A Dream Deferred" a poem by Langston Hughes. The play revolves around the life of a black family in a Chicago. The family in the play is known as the Youngers.This family receives a $10,000 check as an insurance check after the patriarch passes on. All members of the family then come up with ideas on how to spend the cash (Hansberry1959).

The wife of the deceased aspires to buy a house so as to meet a goal which she and her husband shared. She would also like to spend some of the money in her daughter's medical education and does not fancy her family being affixed to the whites.  Her son wants to spend the cash in acquiring a stake in a partnership liquor store as a way of achieving financial stability. The wife of the son sides with her mother -in law but at the same time would like to have a good life for her nuclear family. The daughter would like her mum to utilize the cash as she deems appropriate. Meanwhile the daughter attempts to discover her identity by examining the family's origin(Hansberry,1959).

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The family is torn in conflict due to their different ambitions. The son's wife gets pregnant but fears keeping the child due to the financial obligations it will demand. The matriarch embarks on the process of acquiring a house in a white neighbourhood. Their would be neighbours entice the Younger's with money so as not to settle in that neighbourhood, an offer that is rejected (Hansberry,1959).

The son loses part of the $10,000 in the liquor store deal adding more turmoil to the situation. The daughter rejects her white suitor on the grounds that he does not understand the challenges of race. She receives a marriage proposal from an African who would like her to move with him to Africa after she acquires her medical degree. However who marries her is not told in the play. At the end the family moves from the white neighbourhood determined to get a better life by living together and forgetting about their individual ambitions (Hansberry, 1959).

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Tragic Flaws in the Characters and Contemporary Society

The most apparent flaw depicted in the play was racial discrimination. The matriarch alludes to this as she does not fancy her family joining the whites. The fact that the white residents of Chicago were willing to pay them so that they do not come and live further illustrates discrimination due to race. The action of the daughter rejecting her white suitor in the pretext that he does not understand the challenges of race illustrates that she also has ascended to racial discrimination (Kamp,1987).

The play also illustrates the conflict of individuals as they seek to better themselves. The matriarch saw housing as the key thing while the son was interested in business. That the matriarch went ahead and paid down payment for the house and the son spent some of the insurance on his liquor deal shows that they were all eager to ensure that all their plans though divergent, sailed through. The wife of the son is in a dilemma. She seems to support the plans of her mother in-law but at the same time would like her nuclear family to prosper and to this end she supports her husband's plans. This is shown again when she gets pregnant but she cannot keep the baby as she fears that she will not meet its demands due to their precarious financial state(Kamp,1987).

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The son losing part of the insurance as a result of being conned by his partners adds more misery to the finances of the family. It reveals a character of gullibility in him and it is ironical that what was a plan to bring prosperity ended up causing more misery. This act also shows the greed and opportunistic nature of his friends.


In summary, the play brings out the predicaments of the  African Americans in the eearly times( Ihejirika,2010). It highlights the individual and societal challenges that are faced in the course of  the daily lives of individuals.

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