Raisin in the Sun: A Play About a Black Family - Using Universal Themes Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Raisin in the Sun

Reading this play carefully, a person can see that while the characters and setting -- and dialogue -- are related to African-Americans, this play has a universal tone to it. The problems facing this family and the way children interact with their parents are not unique to black folks. Certainly the issued presented in the play relate to African-Americans and to their culture in the 1950s, but the interaction and the conflicts and tension are not unique to one culture. In the Journal of Black Studies scholar Richard A. Duprey points out that A Raisin in the Sun is "…full of human insights that transcend any racial 'concerns'" (Brown, 1974).

Examples that illustrate the truth about life found in the play's passages

Women's practicality: When Walter is discussing one of his dreams, owning a liquor store, he mentions the cost of the investment and then adds that there is "…a couple hundred you got to pay so's you don't spend your life waiting for them clowns to let your license get approved" (Hansberry, 33). Ruth, his wife says, "You mean graft?" And Walter roars back that women don't understand how the world really works: "Baby, don't nothing happen for you in this world 'less you pay somebody off!" (Hansberry, 33). The play goes on with Ruth insisting that Walter eat his eggs. "Man say to woman: I got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs" (Hansberry, 33). The truth is that in general women are more practical than men and women in a household are known to bring a sense of stability and rationality to a family. Mamma (Walter and Beneatha's mother) is absolutely correct to insist that the insurance money should be used to buy the house, not to invest in a questionable project like a liquor store; moreover, Walter is known to come home drunk so, buying a liquor store has even deeper and more troubling connotations.

Wife bringing husband down to earth: Continuing the thread of thought that women who pretty much run the household can be totally candid with the family, in particular with the man of the house. Walter is complaining that he is 35 years of age, married 11 years and has a son who sleeps on the couch; "and all I got to give him is stories about how rich white people live" (Hansberry, 34). Ruth tells him to eat his eggs and he rages that he's "trying to talk to you 'bout myself" and all she can say is eat your eggs.

"Honey, you never say nothing new. I listen to you every day, every night and every morning, and you never say nothing new…so you would rather be Mr. Arnold than be his chauffeur. So -- I would rather be living in Buckingham Palace" (Hansberry, 34). Walter blames his wife and insists that her lack of apparent empathy is "…what is wrong with the colored woman in this world" (Hansberry, 34). When a husband nags and says the same complaining thing day after day, a wife has a perfect right to point out, he hasn't done a thing to improve himself, but continues to complain and…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Brown, Lloyd W. "Lorraine Hansberry as Ironist: A Reappraisal of A Raisin in the Sun."

Journal of Black Studies, 4.3 (1974): 237-247.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York, New York: Vintage Books, 1958.

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