The American Dream

The long-standing very nice of A Raisin in the Sun lies in the truth that the family's dreams and also aspirations for a much better life are not confined to their race, but can be figured out with by world of all backgrounds. Even though what the "better life" might look prefer is different for each character, the underlying an ideas is universal. The central conflict that the beat lies in Walter's concept of this American dream. Walter buys right into the middle-class belief of materialism. The id of the self-made man who starts through nothing and achieves great wealth through hard work appears innocuous enough, however the idea can come to be pernicious if the evolves into an idolization the wealth and power. In the beginning, Hansberry shows just how Walter envies Charlie Atkins' dry-cleaning business due to the fact that it grosses $100,000 a year. He ignores Ruth's objection come his potential business partner's questionable character and also dismisses his mother's ethical objection to achieving his objectives by to run a liquor store. The liquor keep is a way to an end, and Walter is desperate because that his desires to involved fruition. That exact same Machiavellian ethic is demonstrated when Walter to plan to expropriate Mr. Lindner's offer. Walter is not concerned with the degrading ramifications of the organization deal. It is simply a method to recover some that the lost money. However, Hansberry obstacles Walter's crude translate of the American dream by forcing him to actually lug out the transaction in prior of his son. Walter's inability to address Mr. Lindner clues a far-ranging revision the his interpretation of the American dream, a dream that naturally prioritizes justice and also equality over money.

You are watching: A raisin in the sun themes

Female gender Identity

Three generations of women are represented in A Raisin in the Sun. Lena, who is in her at an early stage thirties, becomes the default head the the family upon the passing of she husband, Walter Sr. Increased in the South during an era wherein blacks' really lives were in danger since of the pervasiveness of lynching, Lena moved to the North with the wishes of leading a much better life. The relocate up north was far-reaching in the she had hopes of a far better life for herself. Return Lena is ahead of she times in some respects, she dreams and aspirations are largely linked to she family's well-being, fairly than to her own. Scholar Claudia Tate features Lena's short expectations for her individual me to gender conditioning - a term used to define the expectation that a woman's goals and also dreams be linked to her family alone. Lena tolerates she husband's womanizing and remains faithful to him also though they endure under the exact same impoverished problems throughout your marriage.

Walter's wife, Ruth, is in her at an early stage thirties. She is different from Lena in that she vocalizes her frustrations through her spouse, Walter. Ultimately, however, she seeks to you re welcome him, talking positively about the organization to Lena top top his behalf, encouraging Beneatha no to antagonize her brother so much, and being ready to work-related several tasks so that the family members can afford to move into the new house.

Beneatha, a young feminist university student, is the least tolerant of society's uneven treatment and also expectations that women. Beneatha constantly difficulties Walter's chauvinism, and also has no time for shallow men like George Murchison, who execute not respect she ideas. Through these 3 women, Hansberry skillful illustrates just how women's ideas around their identity have changed over time.


"What defines a man?" is a an important question the Hansberry battles with transparent the entire play. In numerous ways, the many debilitating affronts Walter faces are those i m sorry relate come his identity as a man, whether it be in his role as father, husband, or son. Gift a father to Travis shows up to it is in the duty that Walter worths the most. That sincerely desires to be viewed as honorable in his son's eyes. Understanding the household has small money come spare, Walter offers Travis a dollar as soon as he asks for fifty cents. Walter choose the liquor save investment not just to make much more money because that himself, but additionally to be much better able to provide for his wife and also family. He wants to have the ability to give Ruth pearls and a Cadillac convertible; he wants to have the ability to send his child to the university of his choice. As a son, he desires to walk in his father's footsteps and provide for his mom in her old age. Walter is framed by the examples of his father and also son. In ~ first, Walter is willing to degrade himself in order to attain these goals, yet he encounters a critical turning allude when the reconsiders Mr. Lindner's offer. Ultimately, he choose the honorable path so that he have the right to stand before his son Travis with pride.


There is a solid motif the afrocentrism throughout the play. Unlike many of her black contemporaries, Lorraine Hansberry flourished up in a family that to be well conscious of its afri heritage, and embraced its roots. Lorraine's uncle, Leo Hansberry, was a professor of African background at Howard University, a well-known, historically black college in Washington, D.C. Hansberry's uncle in reality taught Kwame Nkrumah, a revolutionary who battled for the independence of the Gold shore from british rule. Hansberry's afrocentrism is expressed mainly through Beneatha's love because that Asagai. Asagai, a Nigerian native, is who Beneatha looks for out during her find for her very own identity. She is passionate to learn about African culture, language, music, and dress. The playwright is well ahead of her times in her creation of this characters. Hansberry is able to dispel numerous of the myths around Africa, and also concretely depict the parallel struggles both Africans and also African-Americans should face.

See more: Can You Give Rabbits A Bath E A Rabbit? How To Give A Rabbit A Bath

Class Tensions within the black Community

A Raisin in the Sun is not just about race; course tensions space a prominent issue throughout the play. George Murchison is Beneatha's well-to-do boyfriend. Although he is educated and also wealthy, Beneatha is quiet trying to type out her feelings about him. She sister-in-law, Ruth, go not recognize Beneatha's ambivalence: that is good-looking, and also able to carry out well for Beneatha. However, Beneatha is to plan to it is in a doctor, and is no dependent on "marrying well" for her financial security. Hansberry also hints that marriage into the Murchison family members is not really probable. Beneatha says, "Oh, Mama- The Murchisons room honest-to-God-real-live-rich fancy people, and also the only civilization in the human being who are an ext snobbish than affluent white world are well-off colored people. I thought everybody knew that I've met Mrs. Murchison. She's a scene!" Beneatha is perceptible to the reality that even though the two families are black, they space deeply divided. Beneatha argues that course distinctions are much more pronounced among African-Americans than between African-Americans and also whites. Regardless of their degree of wide range or education, blacks in America were discriminated against. Rich African-Americans had limitations top top schools, housing, and also occupations similar to their negative counterparts. Mrs. Murchison's 'snobbishness' is emblematic that a desperate yet effective attempt come be watched as various from bad blacks and also thus gain acceptance by whites. However, radical legislative and also social readjust proves to it is in the just substantive systems to America's problem.

Next SectionAct ns scene i summary and AnalysisPrevious SectionGlossaryBuy study GuideHow To mention in MLA FormatSherrod, Cheryl. Berkow, Jordan ed. "A Raisin in the sun Themes"., 15 June 2006 Web. Mention this page