This play starts with the younger family waiting for the arrival of the check. The check is on life insurance and is to be given to Lena due to the death of her husband. The family lives in an extremely tiny room where this play takes place. Children of Lena are Walter Lee and Beneatha.
Walter is married to Ruth while Beneatha thinks of studying and become a doctor in the future. On the other hand, Walter Lee works as a chauffeur. Every member of the family does not want to work with the money. Walter is working together with men from a low social level. However, he is seriously obsessed with money and feels that life is tremendously unfair especially for his wife and children.
Therefore, he decides to start a business with two men. This is a clear indication that he wants to get money very fast. In college, Beneatha is courted by two men, George and Joseph. George is a person who is rich and is concerned with the materialist things. On the other hand, Joseph is an African who admires Beneatha’s intelligence and spirituality. This younger family likes George just because he is rich.
Afterward, when the check reaches, Lena realizes that the amount of insurance is to take part of her husband. The family advises her to do what she wishes with the money. Walter tells his mother to give him the money arguing that his wife, Ruth is pregnant. Mama makes her mind to pay part of the money for a good house in Clybourne to act as life security for Wilter’s son in future. He pleads with his mother to give him the rest of the money.
The whole family is deeply hurt by the fact he misused the money instead of paying his sister’s school fees. Afterwards, Joseph Asagai comes in and helps the family in packing. He finds Beneatha terribly disheartened and asks her get married to him. Afterwards, Walter is transformed to a very mature man. The whole family is truly happy; they live the, old, tiny, house and go to live in Clybourne Park (Sussman, Linda, Hansberry, Friedland, and Rikki Kessler).
Dreams of Walter, Beneatha, Ruth, and Mama
Walter loves money and, therefore, his dream is to continue satisfying his family’s needs. His love for money and his hard work with the street men and his plan to do business with two men are a clear indication of his dream. Wilter asks for the insurance money in order for him to work with it and raise his family’s standards of living.
In the play, Beneatha has a dream to study and become a doctor in the future. Mama has a dream of raising her family from poverty to a higher standard of living. Ruth’s dream is to see that her husband owns his own business and offers her the best basic needs. Mama is the most admirable character since she provides her children with unconditional love in a low social economic environment.
This play indicates that there is the celebration of materialism as the younger family favors George who is rich. On consumerism, the family of Lena Younger celebrates the insurance money through paying medical school fees for Beneatha and giving a down payment for a good house where they finally move to live.
This play does not promote the idea that blacks should want to be like whites. This is because Joseph, who is one of the boys that Beneatha was courting in college, did not lose his identity as an African man to marry her. He did not have to seize his African characters or culture for Beneatha to marry him.
There are some conflicts in the play, whether internal or external. Wilter has internal conflict since he is not getting money to provide for his family. This goes on until the time he is seeking for two men to start his own business. This is a conflict that is not solved at any time. This is because he did not save the money his mother has given him for his family.
On the hand, there is a conflict that is solved when Wilter is converted to manhood. Also, the conflict between Ruth and her husband does not end since she wants to abort. Wilter is trying to borrow money from his mother to solve this conflict problem but he ends up with no money.
Gender issues in the play
This is first presented by lack of peace in the family of Wilter Lee and Ruth. Her pregnancy is the one that is bringing this issue of lack of peace in the family. When Wilter uses his sister’s school fees to start his own business, he brings out a gender issue in the play.
“A raisin in the sun” is a quote that has a great meaning in the play. It means that all characters in the play have dreams. First, one of the characters wants to move the family to larger home in, the future, the other one’s dreams to become a doctor, while the one wants to improve his family’s living conditions.
Sussman, Linda, Lorraine Hansberry, Joyce Friedland, and Rikki Kessler. Raisin in the sun [by] Lorraine Hansberry: a study guide. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: Learning Links, 1996. Print.