A Raisin in the Sun Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Summary: Introduction
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry shows the dark side of the American Dream, which we seldom see in history. As a matter of fact, this piece of art is all about dreams. American Dream was not accessible by every American. Unfortunately, the way of achieving that dream was considerably harder for minorities such as African Americans. Lorraine Hansberry demonstrates the difficulty of being African American amazingly, and in this paper, I will examine the consequences of being a minority during the American Golden Age.
The work itself revolves around an African-American family. According to it, this family is about to receive an amount of insurance money, and every member has his/her own plan of spending it. For instance, although Beneathe stated, “but the insurance money belongs to Mama,” Walter Lee wants to open a liquor shop as he no longer wants to serve under other people, mainly because all bosses are white, and the system ignores the black community (Hansberry n.p.). Even being rich cannot prevent one from struggling as a black man. About my last statement, a character I would like to examine closely is George Murchison. He is similar to an oreo cookie, black on the outside, yet belongs to white society on the inside. He is willing to submit to white culture and forget his African heritage in the process. Yet the problem arises when he realizes that even though he has money and he forgot his heritage, he is still black, and his skin color changes everything. Past experiences make us who we are, and we cannot erase our past in any way possible. Material wealth, in any way cannot give a personal identity or self-respect. These statements can help answer the first question of the writing prompt. American Dream was portrayed as something accessible by everyone; the only requirement was to have confidence, courage, and work hard. Yet the hidden truth is the main reason why not everyone has a car, a house, two kids and a dog.
The American Dream was never accessible to the black community. Even working to survive or earn a living was a challenge. A dream of safety, freedom, and opportunity was never the priority. As I have mentioned before in the paper, skin-color affects every perspective around a person and can definitely alter their lifestyle without their own effort. To explain more thoroughly, even if a person did very well in his/her career, took every risk and got out lucky and chased his/her dreams non-stop, he/she can fail regardless of his/her efforts just because of his/her skin color. At the time of a Raisin in the Sun, racism was still very present in every aspect of life, and, unfortunately, it still is, just more covertly. Therefore, minority communities tried to survive rather than to live luxuriously. The play ends with Walter Lee’s empowerment as he realizes that money cannot change their situation in society, and he became more aware of his black identity. No matter how hard one tries to destroy prejudices, they will always stay. This brings us to the third question.
The play definitely helps us understand our history better, especially the American Dream, as the author stated, “it is as if history is conspiring to make a play classic;… one of a handful of great American dramas…A Raisin in the Sun belongs in the inner circle” (Introduction by Robert Nemiroff). Those who were born in the US and had the privilege of being white have reaped the benefits of the American Dream and became the main heroes of the tales about working hard and always chasing your dreams. Yet, unless we specifically look for it, it is impossible for us to find about those who were tossed aside. The American Dream was not the savior idea it was said to be. Instead, it was a privilege, and it still is. For some people, the idea of this dream was just to calm the minority groups by assuring that they, too, can one day integrate into society and overcome the racism they endure daily. It is important that we learn from history so that it may never repeat itself again. Even in 2020, racism is present in workplaces, and we can see it with our own eyes if we look at the job application rates and see who has gotten the job while others failed. When employers are left to decide between two candidates with the same experience, while one is black and the other is white, they are, statistically, more likely to choose the white applicant. Yet one good window to look at this subject from is the window of generation. The new generation of people is much more tolerant and fuller of love against other communities.
A Raisin in the Sun Summary: Conclusion
After all, A Raisin in the Sun is a great play that shows us the tragic side of the American Dream. It shows that there are characteristics that we are born with, and we can be judged of them even though we did not have any chance of changing it, and worse, no amount of money can change the respect one gets. American dream only looked in the eyes of specific communities, while others were being stomped for things they did not choose.
Hansberry, L. (2002). A raisin in the sun: a drama in three acts. New York: Random House.