Dissecting A Dream Deferred in “A Raisin in the Sun”

What occurs to a dream delayed? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over– Like a syrupy sweet? Perhaps it simply sags Like a heavy load. Or does it explode? (qtd. in Hansberry 1771)

Lorraine Hansberry chooses to open her play, Raisin in the Sun, with an intriguing poem by Langston Hughes. The poem foreshadows the dispute in the drama and the internal battles of all of the primary characters. The whole Younger household had to continuously contend with the obstacles that exist by life on the Southside of Chicago. As Ralph A. Austen composes, “The term ‘bildungsroman’ (book of ‘development/’ ‘growing/’ or ‘advancement’) has, given that the 1980s, entered large use amongst critics of African … literature.” Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun can be thought about a significant version of a bildungsroman due to the fact that, although the primary characters are physical adults, each of them experiences an obstacle that ironically ushers him or her into true adulthood.

Raisin in the Sun is written around a household of African Americans having a hard time to achieve a variation of the American dream in a society where the chances are stacked against them. According to Michelle Gordon, “Raisin‘s sincere engagement with Chicago partition at the grass roots exposes and denaturalizes the functions of mid-century urban partition and enormous white resistance to black self-determination. Like other prominent black metropolitan authors– including Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, and Langston Hughes– Hansberry deploys her looks of segregation to discover ‘not just the results of [segregation], however also the true and inevitable cause of it– which obviously is the present organization of American society'” (122 ). To resolve the ‘results of segregation’ that each character deals with, one need to concentrate on the very first line of Hughes’ poem. What actually happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Before attending to the guy characters of this drama it is necessary to point out a character who never makes an appearance in the drama but has an important role in the dreams of the Younger family– Mr. Younger. The drama begins with the Younger family expecting the ten thousand dollar payment on Mr. Younger’s life insurance policy. Every character has his or her own concept of how the insurance money ought to be spent. In truth, the enjoyment about their newfound monetary stability is so dominant that it is tough to think that it comes at the rate of losing the patriarch of their family.

One is led to think that Mr. Younger had a dream to move his family from the small three-bedroom house that they shared and into a house that they could call their own. After the household finds out that Walter was scammed and lost all the insurance cash, Lena (Mom) Younger regrets: “I seen … him … night after night … been available in … and look at that carpet … and then take a look at me … the red proving in his eyes … the veins relocating his head … I seen him grow thin and old before he was forty … working and working like someone’s workhorse … killing himself … and you– you offer everything away in a day” (1819 ). Mr. Younger dream was deferred, even in death. He worked his entire life to give his household the security and life they all longed for. His efforts might have even caused him to catch an early death. Hopes of his dream being realized are resurrected with his death just to be crushed once again when Walter loses all the money in his efforts to fund an alcohol shop. Mr. Younger’s dream triggered him to physically wither away. In addition, after the insurance coverage cash is lost, Mom Younger understands that all his effort and, undoubtedly, his life total up to is money that none of the member of the family could gain from.

Does it fester like a sore-and then run? Walter Lee Younger is a male with huge dreams and even bigger dissatisfactions. He is continually taking his aggravations out on individuals who are closest to him. Throughout the majority of the unique, Walter Younger so worried with making money that he continually blames his family due to the fact that he has been unable to acquire the riches he desires. Walter blasts his other half, Ruth, since he feels she never ever supports his dreams. Walter quips, “That’s what’s wrong with the colored lady in this world … Do not understand about constructing their men up and making them feel like somebody. Like they can do something” (1777 ). Walter is jealous of his sibling, Beneatha, because his mom wants to economically support her imagine ending up being a doctor but will not back any of his “concepts”. Naturally, Walter Lee is vulnerable to having tantrum when he does not get what he desires but he does not have the responsibility to perform tasks like going to work and making great financial choices.

Although Walter’s stunted maturity is partially due to his domestic training, it is also be added to the social setting that he is required to reside in. He is a man with an other half and child who, due to the fact that of poverty, is required to live with his mother and sibling in a small two-bedroom house. Who would not be desperate for more? In a 1961 unfilmed movie script of Raisin in the Sun that was likewise written by Hansberry, Walter Lee, dealing with the understanding that his mom has actually just utilized the insurance coverage money to buy a home in Clybourne Park, skips work and drives to a slaughterhouse on the borders of Chicago where he stands to observe cows waiting for massacre: “These outdoor scenes are effectively juxtaposed with the claustrophobic apartment or condo that is often the website of the drama in the play. Walter resides in two cramped spaces with his sibling, mom, partner, and son, and feels cooped up also in his job which needs him to invest much of the day in a cars and truck, at the beck and call of his boss” (Tritt 52). Walter’s anger stems not from hatred or jealousy towards the members of his family but from a frustration with his place in a society where all the chances are stacked versus the black family unit. The outcome is a bitter male who unconsciously sets out on a path of self-sabotage that threatens to damage him and his family.

Luckily, Walter doesn’t end the play in this exact same apprehended state, and it is through another rushed hope that Walter Lee reaches maturity. After he is tricked out of the staying insurance coverage cash, it seems as if all hope is lost for Walter. He makes plans to sell their recently purchased house back to the Clybourne Park Improvement Association for a revenue. When Mr. Linder arrives to complete the purchase, Walter begins to think about his family, the hard work, sacrifice and the resilience it took to get them to a place where they could be house owners. Walter states, “… We have actually all thought of your deal and we have decided to move into our home because my dad– my dad– he earned it … We don’t want your cash” (1829 ). Because minute, Walter concerns the awareness that the structure of his household is more crucial than any quantity of financial wealth he might amass. Through this awareness, he has the ability to make the imagine his entire family, including himself and Mr. Younger, become a reality.

Does it stink like rotten meat? By all accounts, Beneatha is the excellent hope of her mother and her family. This smart, active women is the epitome of early black feminism and self-awareness. Beneatha understands exactly what she desires and won’t be forced to go for less by her sibling or her potential suitor, George Murchison. However, someplace along the lines Beneatha seems to have actually purchased into her own hype, and instead of utilizing her education to raise her loved ones she uses it to demean them. There is no mistaking the fact that Beneatha likes her member of the family but, since of her education, she sees herself as superior to them and often belittles their beliefs, world views, and goals. When Lena states, “God prepared” about Beneatha’s tuition payment, Beneatha’s begins an anti-religious rant in attempt to “inform” her mother on the allusion of theology. Beneatha proclaims: Mama, you do not comprehend. It’s all a matter of ideas, and God is just one idea I do not accept. It’s trivial … I just get tired of Him getting all the credit for all the important things the human race achieves through its own persistent effort. There merely is no blasted God– there is just male and it is he who makes who makes wonders!” (1785) Although Beneatha raises some valid concerns, the shipment of her viewpoint is rude, demeaning, and off-putting. Beneatha has a strong character; this in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. However, Beneatha’s lack of tact and continuous need to assert herself as the household intellect frequently lead to arguments that affect the mood of the whole household.

Beneatha’s true enlightenment comes by method of her Nigerian suitor, Asagai. In the 2008 movie variation of Raisin in the Sun, Asagai explains, “There is something really wrong when all the dreams of a home depend upon one man dying.” Beneatha eventually realizes that one obstacle needs to not be a reason to give up on one’s dream. It is through this realization that Beneatha gets a renewed sense of purpose. Beneatha also starts to see her imperfection and the limitations of her education, an awareness which in turn assists her gain compassion for her family members and an understanding of the choices that they have made for the family.

Does it crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet? One of the most frequently glossed-over characters is Ruth Younger. Ruth does serves as a mirror of the matriarch of the family, however she also faces her own individual trials in the play. In a household that seems to be at continuous chances, Ruth is the voice of factor: she is the peacemaker and the housewife. Ruth is the only character besides Mom Younger who is constantly considering what is finest for the entire household as opposed to what will benefit her. It is her altruism that causes her to contemplate getting an illegal abortion when she discovers she is pregnant. After withstanding the constant verbal jabs of her partner and unfavorable input from Beneatha about her adding another individual to their already cramped quarters, Ruth decides that the best thing for the family would be for her to terminate her pregnancy. In the 2008 movie A Raisin in the Sun, a scene reveals Ruth anticipating her “street” abortion. As she waits in the rear of the beauty parlor, the camera does an extreme close-up on the pot of boiling water that is disinfecting the abortion instruments. With tears in her eyes, Ruth turns the stove off and rushes out of the beauty parlor and into the putting rain. Although the scene has no dialogue, the scene highlights how the monetary tension of a family threatens to corrupt even most incorruptible of characters. When Ruth decides to keep her child, she solidifies her position as the moral compass of her family. Ironically, keeping her kid was the best thing for her household due to the fact that it is what assists recover the rift between her and Walter Lee.

Does it droop like a heavy load? Lena (Mom) Younger is a hard-working lady who brings the hopes and imagine her entire family. Her life has actually not been attractive. Up until just recently, she has actually had to compete with a mean and unfaithful other half but, like her mirror Ruth, she will do what she should to keep her household joined. It is this frustrating sense of responsibility to her household that triggers her to also be among the biggest limitations to her household’s maturity. Mom Younger’s love for her kids causes her to enable their bad habits.

Mama Younger smothers her 2 adult children, a fact that appears due to the fact that they still deal with her. Mom Younger is constantly supporting her child Beneatha and treats her like she is a teenager rather than a twenty year-old lady: “MAMA: … Bennie honey, it’s too breezy for you to be sitting ’round half dressed. Where’s your bathrobe? BENEATHA: In the cleaners. MAMA: Well, go get mine and put it on. BENEATHA: I’m not cold, Mom, honest. MAMA: I know-but you so thin … BEANEATHA: [Irritably.] Mother, I’m not cold” (1780 ). Mom Younger is constantly meddling in the tiniest affairs of her family. In truth, she takes her making it possible for habits to an all-time high when she decides to provide Walter Lee the bulk of Mr. Younger’s insurance coverage money after he throws a supersized tantrum because Mama would not financially support his get-rich-quick scheme.

Through the course of the play, Mom Younger needs to discover to take a step back and enable her kids the chance to make their own decisions. Lena has to discover how to direct her kids without straight-out telling them what they should do. For instance, near completion of act three, Mother cautions Lena, “When you begins determining someone, determine him right, child, determine him right. Make certain you take into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to anywhere he is” (1827 ). Right after, Lena provides Walter the chance to decide about the sale of their brand-new house and, fortunately, he does not disappoint. Mom’s capability to enable her kids to make adult choices is the catalyst for their maturity. In addition, Lena’s efforts likewise help lighten her burden of having to be the ever-watchful mom; when Beneatha and Walter make good choices by themselves, she can rest assured that they have come into manhood and womanhood.

Unbeknownst to many, A Raisin in the Sun was influenced by real events in Lorraine Hansberry’s youth. In the 1940s, the Hansberrys faced the problem of housing segregation head-on when they moved into a segregated residential area. In her essay, Michelle Gordon records how Hansberry remembers,” [my] desperate and brave mom, patrolling [the] house all night with a loaded German luger, doggedly guarding her 4 kids, while [her] father battled the respectable part of the fight in the Washington court”(qtd. in Gordon 121). It was the Hansberrys’ stance that led the way for the ruling of Shelley v. Kramer, which declared property partition unconstitutional (Gordon). Reflecting this hard truth, all of the primary characters in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun are flawed. Nevertheless, each character likewise has very honorable qualities that make him or her considerate to audiences. Walter is reckless, yet his goals are sustained by his desire to see his household succeed. Beneatha can be an opinionated know-it– all, yet she is intelligent, fearless, and wants to heal individuals. Ruth could be deemed a piece of cake, yet she is constantly happy to help the family fix up and she selflessly puts the requirements of her household before her own desires. Mother is the meddling matriarch of the household, yet she loves and secures her household with unrivaled fierceness.

Throughout A Raisin in the Sun, each family member goes through a duration of turmoil which inevitably ushers him or her into a brand-new level of maturity. Each of the characters has options and eventually makes the options that keep the household united. Despite the fact that A Raisin in the Sun is a play about urbanization and the impacts of segregation, it can likewise be considered as an African-American bildungsroman because each of the primary character experiences a transition to another level of maturity. Again, one can ask, “What occurs to a dream delayed?” A Raisin in the Sun teaches audiences that individuals do not need to accept the unfavorable effects of their environment. Lorraine Hansberry shows that deferred dreams can bring to life strength, unity, and new dreams.

Works Cited Main Source Hansberry, Lorraine. “A Raisin in the Sun.” The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Ed. Henry Louis Gates and Nellie Y. McKay. New York City: Norton & & Company, 2004. 1771-1830. Print. Secondary Sources A Raisin in the Sun. Dir. Kenny Leon. Perf. Sean Combs, Sanaa Lathan, and Phylicia Rashad. Paris Qualles,2008. Movie. Austen, Ralph A. “Fighting With The African Bildungsroman.” Research In African Literatures 46.3 (2015 ): 214-231. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 18 Mar. 2016. Gordon, Michelle. “‘Somewhat Like War’: The Aesthetics Of Segregation, Black Liberation, And A Raisin In The Sun. “African American Evaluation 42.1 (2008 ): 121-133. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 18 Mar. 2016. Tritt, Michael. “A View From The Stockyards: Lorraine Hansberry’s Allusion To The Jungle In The Unfilmed Movie Script Of A Raisin In The Sun.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal Of Short Articles, Notes, And Evaluates 21.1 (2008 ): 51-57. MLA International Bibliography. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.