The play "A Raisin in the Sun" by Author Lorraine Hansberry shows that despite the common goal for African-American families being to be successful; each character had different ways of what they considered meant success and also had different ways of measuring success. This play tries to show how a low-class African American family living on the South Side of Chicago struggles to get to the middle- class acceptance. The only chance they have to do so is the $10,000 life insurance cheque that Lena Younger received upon the death of his husband. In Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun, Walter Younger and Lena Younger (Mama) is perfect examples of characters whose goal is to achieve the same goal i.e. success but have different ways on how they measure it.
What Is the Theme of a Raisin in the Sun?
The thirst for success will forever be part of every family be it working towards changing the economic class i.e. escape poverty, achieving career goals, and maybe having a good house in a safe neighborhood. All these dreams are exhibited in the play by different characters such as Walter Younger whose desire is to make money by starting a liquor store business which he believed will enable him to give his family a better life. On the other hand, Lena Younger (Mama) thought that the best thing she could give her family was a house, hence going ahead to purchase a house in an all-white estate just as they wished with his late husband. I believe that throughout the play, Lorraine Hansberry was trying to show the difference that occurs when it comes to opinions on how to eradicate poverty and what it means to be successful.
A Raisin in the Sun: Walter Lee Younger
In the play, Walter Younger is so determined to give his family a stable life, to get the financial stability and his idea is to start up a liquor store with his friend with the money that the insurance paid after the death of his father. Though Lena Younger, Walters mother thought that opening a liquor store was not a good thing to do according to her Christian beliefs, She went ahead and gave Walter the remaining money to manage, asking him to keep aside enough money for her sister's medical school fee. Walter out of his get rich quick attitude goes ahead and gives the whole amount to his friend Willy as a down payment to start the liquor store. To his surprise, Willy absconds with the entire amount depriving Walter and Beneatha of their dreams. I think that with this store Walter believes that he will be able to earn quick money hence changing his poverty state. It is very clear to me that according to the author through the character of Walter Younger tries to portray that some people measure success by how much money they have and how quickly one can generate a lot of it. It clearly shows in the conversation between Lena Younger (Mama) and Walter in Act 1 scene two when Lena Younger asks Walter why he always talks about money. He told her that "money is life" Walter Younger clearly explains to her mother that success is measured through the amount of money owed. He believes that money will solve all the problems they have. He firmly thinks that money allows people to live more fulfilling lives.
A Raisin in the Sun: Lena Younger
In the play, A Raisin in the Sun Lena Younger has played a crucial role in showing that success is not only measured by how much money you have or make. Rather Lena Was able to touch on other areas that she believed if achieved will mean one has attained success. The author seems to try to show that people from different generations have different ways of measuring success. This is evident when she used Lena Younger from an older generation to portray that success is not all about how rich you are or how much money one has. I have come to understand that how much one can measure success by keeping a family together. It is evident when Lena younger plays the role of the mediator whenever Walter and Ruth will have arguments in the house. She disapproves of the idea of Ruth Walter's wife, who was thinking of aborting her second pregnancy due to the financial challenges not to give her unborn child to poverty.
A Raisin in the Sun Family Theme
Family values are very significant to her as she tries to hold the family together despite the challenges they are going through. Mama also insists that each member of the family should respect themselves, and they should value their dreams. Mama believes that one should strive to succeed but ensure that one maintains moral boundaries. Mama tells Walter that she is not participating in the liquor store business as she believes that it is an un-Christian business. She also believes that money is just a means to an end.
Mama almost made me believe that dreams are more important than material wealth. In this case, her dream was to own her house with enough space and a garden for his grandchild Travis to play. Mama goes on to use part of the $10,000 from the insurance paycheque to achieve her dream of purchasing a house. She makes a down payment for a house in the middle-class all-white neighborhood which is known as Clybourne Park.
I believe that Mama was determined to give her family a better house despite being demotivated by the new neighborhood representative by the name Karl Linder, who offered them money in exchange for the house, she refused to passionately despite the challenges she was aware of such as racism and all that came with it. All through the play, Lena Younger Measured success regarding family values, moral values and stability regarding housing and all the basic needs. She insisted that money was not life contrary to her son Walter Younger.
In the play "A Raisin in the Sun" the author has brought forth the fact that everyone is struggling to get to a level of economic stability despite it being in the same family. Success has been portrayed to be all that everyone wants but each character has a different view of how to measure this success. Walter Younger was so eager to start making quick money from the liquor store as for him money defined everything including success. Lena Younger (Mama) on the other side believed that success can only be measured by the level of family values a family possessed.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Print.
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