A Raisin in the Sun Essay

Posted on May 28, 2009

A Raisin in the Sun was an awesome book about many things. It was about a black family struggling with economic hardship and racial prejudice. This play showed the importance of family, the value of dreams, and about racial discrimination. The further the play went the more there was to learn from the Youngers. All of the members of the Younger family had dreams and visions which could either break or make there family depending on what they chose.

Even though every member of the Younger family had a dream there dreams were very different from each other. Mama’s dream was for her to have a nice house with a garden in the back yard just like her and her husband wanted. She felt that her dream would help out the whole family, because they could take care of Travis better and he could grow up in a better neighborhood and become a great man. Lena was the only one looking out for the family instead of thinking about herself except for Ruth. She wasn’t part of the blood family, but she wanted the best for everybody. She agreed with Lena. The only thing she wanted was the abortion of the future child that she had recently found out she was having. Beneatha wanted to know about herself. She wanted to know where she came from. She wanted to know more about the “homeland”. She wants to be a doctor and represent the country from which she came. The one whose dream affected the whole family was Walter’s dream. He wanted to make a lot of money, and he figured he had a full proof plan to do it. He wanted to invest into a liquor store with a couple of buddies of his, not knowing that this was probably the biggest mistake of his life.

Which phrase can express the meaning of “a real life journey” through a story “A Raisin in the Sun”? A real life journey is referred as “use of space”. It is divided into three elements: city, wild, and place. City is a symbolic city, which represents something else rather than the city. Wild is the place where people learn their life lessons. Rural is the final settlement for their life. What is the main message from these three elements?

City is a symbolic city. It is temporary and artificial. The Younger’s family lives in a poor condition, three generations in a small apartment. They do not want to stay in this poor living condition. It is too crowded for their family. They are tired of the small apartment because “They have clearly had to accommodate the living of too many people for too many years- and they are tired” (Madden 286). They share bathroom with another family on the same floor. Hansberry writes that “The child, a sturdy, handsome little boy […] goes out to the bathroom, which is in an outside hall and which is shared by another family or families on the same floor” (287). Can one big check change this poor condition? The check represents big Walter’s life and belongs to mother, Lena. Although they know that the check will come on Saturday, somehow, Younger’s family becomes very exciting. In the early Friday morning, Walter asks Ruth that “Check coming today?” (Madden 288). Ruth replies to him, “They said Saturday and this is just Friday and I hope to God you ain’t going to get up here first thing this morning” (Madden 288). Even little boy Travis asks his mother on Friday morning, “Mama, this is Friday. (Gleefully.) Check coming tomorrow, huh?” (Madden 289). The family expects the check. Everyone in the family has his or her own plan to use the check except mother, Lena. Walter wants to use the part of money to invest little liquor store. He said to Ruth, “Yeah. You see, little liquor store we got in mind cost seventy-five thousand and we figured the initial investment on the place […]. Course, there’s couple of hundred you got to pay so’s you don’t spent your life just waiting for them clowns to let your license get approved” (Madden 292). This liquor store seems his dream and future. Beneatha also counts on this check. She wants to use this money to pay her college tuition. She said to Walter, “What do you want from me, Brother- that I quit school or just drop dead, Which!” (Madden 295). Beneatha has already made up her mind but her mother has not yet. Lena plans to use some money for Beneatha education. She said to Ruth, “I ain’t rightly decided. […] Some of it got to be put away for Beneatha and her schoolin” (Madden 298). Like all other mothers, she will support and pay her children education. On Friday, Lena can not help thinking his husband all the time. She talks about their dream. She said to Ruth, “I remember just as well the day me and Big Walter moved in there. […]. We was going to set away, little by little […]. But lord, child, you should know all the dream I had ’bout buying that house and fixing it up and making me a little garden in the back- (she waits and stops smiling.) And didn’t none of it happen” (Madden 299). She feels sad because her husband dead. When the check comes on Saturday, Lena does not open it right away. She is staring at it while, “She finally makes a good strong tear and pulls out the thin blue slice of paper and inspects it closely” (Madden 313). This light check appears to be heavy to her, because this check represents her husband life. She is still missing him. She, of course, will not want to use this money to invest a liquor store. Lena firmly said to Walter, “I’m sorry ’bout your liquor store, son. It just was’t the thing for us to do. That’s what I want to tell you about” (Madden 315). However, her son does not understand it and do what he wants until he loses all his investing money. Though there are many opportunities through the people’s life, it is important to make good decisions and take good opportunity with less risk.

Wild is the place where people learn their life lessons. Younger’s family learns one of their life lessons during moving day. Mrs. Johnson is a black lady and a neighbor of Younger’s family. She comes to their apartment and brings a newspaper with “NEGROES INVADE CLYBOURNE PARK – BOMBED” (Madden 332). She wants their family to stay at their community and not to move to the white society. She is a jealous woman, but she represents a voice of the Africa-America community. Contrast to Mrs. Johnson, Mr. Lindner is a white man and represents the white community of Clybourne Park. He introduces “I am a representative of the Clybourne Park improvement association” (Madden 339). He tries to persuade them not to move into their white community. They worry that the Younger’s family will bring trouble to the white community and reduce the quality of the community. Mr. Lindner said, “We feel that most of the trouble in this world, when you come right down to it” (Madden 341). He thinks that black people should live in their community and would be happy in their community. Mr. Lindner suggests that “[…] our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities” (Madden 341). The Younger’s family has to deal with the real pressure. This pressure comes from the real world and is reflected through the real people. Walter learns his life lessons when Bobo tells him that his investing money is gone. This is disaster news for him. For him, this money means his dream and his future. Now, suddenly, all money has gone. He, of course, will get very angry and panic. He cries hard like kids. Hansberry describes that “He is wandering around, crying out for Willy” (347). Though it is a terribly painful moment, it helps him to think why it happens, how it happens, and what he is going to do. He thinks deeply at the moment. He totally changes his behaviors. He becomes calm and quiet, no drunk and no smoking. He lies on the bed in the apartment. Hansberry describes that “At left we can see Walter wither his room, alone with himself. He is stretched out on the bed, his shirt out and open, his arms under his head. He does not smoke, he does not cry out, he merely lies there, looking up at the ceiling, much as if he were alone in the world” (349). A deep thinking helps Walter building up the strength inside him. He learns the lesson from his failure. Walter tells his mother that “ He’s taught me something. He’s taught me to keep my eye on what counts in this world […] Thanks, Willy!” (Madden 345). Now he looks on the world in a totally different way. He begins to stand up like a man and behavior like a man and think like a man. He said to his mother and his sister that “ Someone tell me –tell me, who decides which women is supposed to wear pearls in this world. I will tell you I am a man- and I think my wife should wear some pearls in this world!” (Madden 355). This is important change. Walter gets supports from his mother. She teaches him that they live here for freedom and not for money. They have to stand up on their feet in this world, nerve shame themselves and never dead inside their mind. She said, “Son- I come from five generations of people who was slaves and sharcroppers- but ain’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay’em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn’t fit to walk the earth. We ain’t never been that poor. […]We ain’t never been that- dead inside” (Madden 355). The life is not always easy, but it is important to deal with and to learn from it.

Rural means that all conflicts are resolved. Walter becomes a real man. When Mr. Lindner comes to their house again, Walter tells Mr. Lindner is that their family is a hard working family as same as other families in his community. In the story, Hansberriy writes that “ I have worked as a chauffeur most of my life- and my wife here, she domestic work in people’s kitchens. So does my mother” (madden 357). Walter also wants Mr. Lindner to know that they are good people and they are proud themselves. He said, “[…] we come from people who had a lot of pride. I mean- we are very proud people” (Madden 358). He wants Mr. Lindner to understand that they have worked hard to achieve their life goal since his father. His father had worked hard for most of his life. They decide to move into this house because of his father. Walter tells Mr. Lindner their final decision, “we have decided to move into our house because my father- my father- he earned it for us brick by brick” (Madden 358). Finally, Walter mentions to Mr. Lindner that the white community does not need to worry about their family. They will not bring troubles to the community whereas they will be good neighbors for the community. They do not want the community money. The community money can not represent his father’s life. In the story, Walter said, “ We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and will try to be good neighbors. And that’s all we get to say about that. […] We don’t want your money” (Madden 358). After going through the conflict, Walter builds up his confidence and finds his identity. As a mother, Lena is proud to see her children learning their life and becoming the man and the woman. She said, “they something all right, my children” (Madden 359). Beneahta decides to go to Africa and practices there as a doctor. She wants finding her African root in there. She tells her mother and her brother that “To go to Africa, Mama- be a doctor in Africa” (Madden 359) and “To practice there” (Madden 359). Lena is very happy to see her son finally growing up as a man. She said that “He finally come into his manhood today, didn’t he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain” (Madden 360). She is also proud of herself and her husband because their dream becomes true. They own the house and have a good happy family.

The “use of space” presents the real life of the Younger’s family. In the story “A Raisin in the Sun”, the Younger’s family improves the living condition from poor to good through their hard working. The family experiences the stresses and the conflicts inside the family and outside the society. They are satisfied with their choice and enjoy the new life. Their life experience is just like “A Raisin in the Sun”.

This new home was the only thing that could truly bring his family back together. This home brought a problem in their family that only them together could get them out of. Mr. Linder came to offer them money not to move into their new house. At this point they were at a compromising position. It sounded really good for them to go on and sell the house, but Lena knew that they couldn’t give in to the racial discrimination that they held up to in the previous scene. Walter wanted to get the money back so he could try to redeem himself, but Lena wanted him to become like his father and do the right thing and that’s what he did. He brought the family back together when he said, “We have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick. We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that’s all we got to say about that. We don’t want your money.” (Act 3) This is when everybody believe that Walter has become a man like his father and the family came together against racism and moved into their new home.

From ten thousand dollars to zero dollars the Youngers have learned how important each member of the family is no matter what the circumstance and that standing together they could fight and problem even racial discrimination. Another thing that the Youngers have tought the readers are that dreams and visions are very important. Some are better than other and the ones that are better may be the ones that take the most away. Even thought Walter lost all of the money he still became a man like his father and took the responsibility of making up for it. He did just like his momma raised him to do, and that was to fight what he believed in.

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