The Summary Of A Raisin in the Sun in American Drama
“A Raisin in the Sun” is a classic American play written by Lorraine Hansberry. It is divided into three acts. Here’s a brief overview of each act:
- The play begins in the Younger family’s cramped apartment on the south side of Chicago. The family, consisting of Lena (Mama), her daughter Beneatha, her son Walter Lee, Walter’s wife Ruth, and their young son Travis, is living in tight quarters and struggling with financial difficulties.
- The main conflict of the first act revolves around the $10,000 insurance check that the family is set to receive following the death of Lena’s husband. Walter Lee wants to use the money to invest in a liquor store and improve the family’s financial situation, while Lena is considering using the money to buy a house in a predominantly white neighborhood.
- The act also introduces Beneatha’s aspirations to become a doctor, which creates tension within the family due to differing values and aspirations.
- Act 2 takes place the next morning and primarily revolves around the family’s decision regarding the use of the insurance money.
- Walter Lee, who has lost most of the money through a bad investment, is at the lowest point in the play. His actions and decisions are a focal point of this act, and his relationships with other characters, especially his family, are tested.
- Lena eventually puts a down payment on a house in a white neighborhood, which leads to further conflicts within the family and sets the stage for the climax of the play.
- Act 3 takes place later on the same day as Act 2, with the Younger family preparing to move to their new house in the white neighborhood.
- The act explores the consequences of the family’s decisions and the impact of their move on their relationships and future.
- The play’s climax occurs when a white representative from the neighborhood, Mr. Lindner, offers the Younger family money not to move into the new house to prevent the neighborhood’s racial integration.
- Lena’s powerful speech and the family’s ultimate decision form the resolution of the play.
“A Raisin in the Sun” is a powerful drama that addresses issues of race, family, dreams, and the pursuit of a better life in America during the mid-20th century. It remains a significant work in American theater and literature.
A Raisin in the Sun is a seminal work in American drama that delves into the struggles and aspirations of an African American family in the 1950s. Lorraine Hansberry’s play explores themes of racial discrimination, identity, generational conflicts, and the pursuit of the American Dream. The title itself, taken from Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem,” reflects the idea of deferred dreams and the impact of systemic racism on individuals and families. The play’s characters, particularly the members of the Younger family, grapple with their desires for a better life and the challenges they face in achieving those dreams.
The play provides a moving depiction of the characters’ hopes, anxieties, and the tough choices they must make over the course of the three acts. “A Raisin in the Sun” is a timeless work that is being performed and studied today because audiences can relate to Walter Lee, Beneatha, Lena, and the other characters’ problems.
When was “A Raisin in the Sun” first performed?
The play premiered on Broadway on March 11, 1959, making it one of the earliest plays to portray the struggles of African American families on the American stage.
What is the significance of the title, “A Raisin in the Sun”?
The title is taken from Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem” and reflects the idea of deferred dreams. It suggests that dreams, like a raisin left out in the sun, can wither and lose their potential if not realized. This theme is central to the play.
Who is Lorraine Hansberry, the playwright of “A Raisin in the Sun”?
Lorraine Hansberry was an African American playwright and writer. She was a trailblazer in American theater, known for her activism and her efforts to address racial and social issues through her work. “A Raisin in the Sun” is her most famous and enduring play.
What is the central conflict in the play?
The central conflict revolves around the $10,000 insurance check that the Younger family is set to receive. It represents their hopes and aspirations, and different family members have varying ideas on how the money should be used, leading to tension and drama.
How does the play address racial discrimination and segregation?
The play highlights the systemic racism and discrimination faced by the Younger family, especially when they decide to move into a predominantly white neighborhood. The character Mr. Lindner’s offer not to move into the new house reflects the racism and prejudice of the time.
Is there a film adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun”?
Yes, there have been two notable film adaptations of the play. The first was released in 1961, starring Sidney Poitier, and the second was released in 2008, featuring an ensemble cast including Denzel Washington and Phylicia Rashad.