His actions motivate the entire family to draw upon each other, and rely on each other's common strength to challenge the established racial and social standards. Walter's brave decision to move regardless of the racial and financial problems that they will face exhibits his strong core reliance and attachment to his family. Ultimately, social and political groups show that despite surface level tension between the Younger families, these individuals are dedicated to the family unit at their core levels, especially when confronted by outsiders challenging the strength of their family.
The final aspect we need to examine the impact of gender roles within the Younger family. Gender roles are a fundamental point of tension and conflict within the play. This is because this family nucleus is dominated primarily by the women rather than men. There are always subtle underlying gender tensions being played throughout the plot development. Lena's control of…… [Read More]
Arthur Miller / Lorraine Hansberry
The idea of the "American Dream," of achieving material success through one's own efforts, is not merely a constant topic in American literature, it seems to be a fundamental archetype of American national mythology. The autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and the popular stories of Horatio Alger in the 19th century established this motif as central to the American concept of manhood: we can see the precise motif still at work, virtually unaltered, in the 2006 film "The Pursuit of Happyness" Based on the story of a real man, Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith), who is rendered homeless with his five-year-old son (played by Will Smith's real-life son Jaden), Gardner manages through charm and a few lucky breaks not only to drag himself out of the poverty caused by his unwise investment in bone-density scanners, and back up into success. As Gardner tells his son…… [Read More]
aisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry [...] elements of drama and literary qualities of the play. This play was anything but conventional when it debuted on Broadway in 1959. It explored issues of racism, prejudice, and the dreams of others that made playgoers stop and think about what they were seeing acted out on stage, including themes Broadway theatergoers did not expect and it made many firsts on the Broadway stage.
"A aisin in the Sun" became Lorraine Hansberry's first play, and it made a lot of history in the American theater. One literary critic notes, "The first play by a black woman to win the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the first play by a black woman to be performed on Broadway, the longest-running play by a black writer on Broadway for a quarter of a century and a production which launched the career of a number…… [Read More]
Lorraine Hansberry looks at a variety of themes in her play Raisin in the Sun. These themes include the challenge of upward mobility for blacks, the problem of inequality—particularly when the Youngers find a home they want to buy in a white neighborhood and are pressed by another home owner there to live somewhere else. The themes of dignity and family are also important in the play, as the head of the household Walter has to make a decision about whether he is going to finally give up his get rich quick schemes and put his family first or blow the rest of the money left by Mama for them to get a home. There is also the problem of the unexpected pregnancy for Ruth and what it means for the family. Ruth is scared because they are already so poor and she does not want to burden the family…… [Read More]
The end of the play is not entirely happy. Beneatha cannot going to go to medical school because of her brother's mistakes. The Youngers will likely face racist in their new neighborhood. They will have to struggle to meet their mortgage payments. (Corley, 1998) Yet alter has become a man, Travis, the new plant under Mama's care will have a better home than his older brother or sister, and even the old plant will have more light and space to grow. Mama's dream, like the life of her plant and children, has not been perfect -- nor are her children perfect. But Mama, like her plant and her entire family that she has cared for, at least as a new home by the end of the play. Thus, the play ends with Mama symbolically taking the plant to the new house in the suburbs, into a better but uncertain future.…… [Read More]
At the time these issues were groundbreaking topics. The play explored the decision that uth had to make because her economic conditions dictated that she could not afford another child. In addition, Beneatha's prospects of becoming a doctor and getting married were also explored in the play. This issue was extremely relevant at the time as some women were beginning to work outside the home. Although the play did not address whether or not Beneatha became a doctor or if she marred, it certainly presented the likelihood that these issues would present obstacles for Beneatha.
Overall a aisin in the Sun was a critically acclaimed play that still has certain parallels with today's society and the treatment of minorities. The play is studied throughout the various levels of academia and has become a classic American play. It has experienced long runs on Broadway and Phylicia ashad became the first African-American…… [Read More]
This is similar to the specifics of the legal case that Hansberry's father became engaged in over their house in an all white neighborhood. In the real-life version of events, however, things were far less polite. Hansberry's father was actually breaking a legal covenant between property owners of the area that they would not sell to African-Americans, and Carl Hansberry was actually sued for $100,000 -- a huge sum of money in 1937 (and not bad now) (SocialJusticeiki). Hansberry countersued, claiming that the covenant had denied him his right to be heard, and the Supreme Court agreed, allowing his family to stay in their home on a legal technicality, but not ending the discriminatory covenant (SocialJusticeiki). In the case of the Youngers, alter is given a temptation of money, and his ultimate refusal of it -- " e don't want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes,…… [Read More]
At the same time Bernice doesn't tell her daughter the history of the heirloom, in fear of waking the spirit. This means that even Bernice is not using her legacy positively, but is afraid of it. Both characters are able to embrace their history with pride by the end of the play, as Boy illie comes to understand the Piano's significance and Bernice begins to play it again (Sparknotes.com)
3. The Little Foxes
a. Significance of the Title
Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans and educated at New York and Columbia University. Her first success was the play 'The Children's Hour'; she was an active part of political activities and spoke openly about her ideals. 'The Little Foxes' brought her greater fame and reflects her opinion of and her remembrances of the South (kirjasto.sci.fi).
The play is a satire or a criticism of the machinations of capitalists who live…… [Read More]
hile Baraka's play Dutchman ends in fatal violence against a young black male endeavoring in vain to assert his individual identity and manhood, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, which takes place in the 1950's, on Chicago's South Side, ends with alter Younger Jr. being defeated in his quest for individual independence, autonomy, and a sense of authentic manhood apart from his race by a crooked partner and supposed coordinator of alter and his friends' liquor store plan, who instead runs off with the money from alter's mother's life insurance settlement that alter has invested.
ithin this play, alter's sense of manhood depends, like Clay's in Baraka's Dutchman, on his ability (or not) to realize his dreams and aspirations autonomously, apart from race. Like Clay's in Baraka's Dutchman, these are no different from any man's dreams, white or black: autonomy; respectability; the right to pursue and create his own…… [Read More]
Raisin in the Sun
Beneatha is ahead of her time in a Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, Beneatha is the daughter of Lena Younger and younger sister of alter Lee who is married to Ruth. alter Lee and Ruth have a ten-year-old son Travis, who gets his way often being the only grandson. Beneatha is a college student who desires to attend medical school. Though this is a poor African-American family that has just lost the breadwinner, Beneatha and alter Lee's father, alter Sr. who has died and left the family $10,000 in insurance money. Beneatha is in need of money to attend medical school while her brother wishes to invest the money in a liquor store. Their mother, Lena desires to buy the family a home in a middle class neighborhood where all the residents are Caucasian (hite). Beneatha…… [Read More]
It is the last thing Mama carries out of the apartment when the family moves, symbolizing the family's failure to thrive in their neighborhood. Both the plant and the Younger family are expected to blossom in their new surroundings.
alter Jr. wants to use the money to buy a liquor store with his friends. He believes that owning a business will give the family the financial freedom that will make a better life possible for all of them. alter's sister, Beneatha, attends college and dreams of being a doctor. She very much wants the money to attend medical school. In a way, her dream distances her from her brother and the rest of the family. She is better educated than they are and her dream, if fulfilled, would take her much farther than a new home or a family business ever could. She is eager to forge her own identity…… [Read More]
He needs this chance, Lena" (Hansberry 26). uth dreams of rekindling the love that used to exist between them, and she knows that it has changed or altered somehow, and that something is missing in her relationship with him. She believes in him enough to stand up for him, even though they do not share the same dream, which shows that she is a supportive and caring woman, and that Walter has chosen his wife wisely and well. She also dreams of a home of their own, so Mama is fulfilling at least some of uth's dreams as well as her own with the purchase of the house.
Finally, the theme of dreams fills this play and its characters lives. When Joseph Asagai, Bennie's boyfriend talks to her about her dreams he says, "Then isn't there something wrong in a house -- in a world -- where all dreams, good…… [Read More]
' But now he said nothing" (Faulkner). In contrast, the Younger family members also grow and change. Most notably, Walter Lee takes on the role of leader in the family, and makes the right decision for the rest of his family members. Critic Domina notes, "He must become the acknowledged head of his family, and he must also interact with other adult males as an equal" (Domina 113). These two characters gain personal growth and awareness, and the two stories' conclusions depend on this growth and awareness. The young boy will probably never see his dysfunctional family again, while the Youngers will probably face more discrimination and hatred. However, they have both attained their own measure of happiness, and both stories end on a somewhat hopeful note. Critic Ford continues, "Sarty will survive 'the terrible handicap of being young,' will surpass his beleaguered childhood and mature into a worthy human…… [Read More]
.. Don't understand nothing about building their men up and making 'em feel like they somebody. Like they can do something" (Hansberry, I, i.). It is clear that alter Lee still believes it is the woman's role to support the man in his endeavors, and not to make decisions or act on them. In her responses to him, Ruth displays her growing frustration with and rejection of this belief, which was also largely typical of the time -- as the fifties wore on and moved into the sixties, many women began to demand the same rights to money and work that they had experienced during the war (Learn History).
But though both Ruth and Mamma are quite telling about the role of women in the play and in society at large, Beneatha is arguably the most symbolic of the women. Her struggle is much more rooted in the upcoming 1960s,…… [Read More]
Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" also uses a heightened situation to illustrate a greater human truth. In realistic terms, Bartleby's refusal to work is absurd, at least to the lengths which the title character carries his impulse to "prefer not" to do anything. Also, the level of bureaucratic intransigence of Bartleby's colleagues also seems ridiculous, as they obsess over their fellow worker's refusal to endorse the practices of their offices by toiling away and useless endeavors. But Bartleby's tale illustrates the soul-crushing nature of modern life, and the purposeless of much of the paperwork that human beings are forced to plow through, simply to make a living. Bartleby wants out of the 'rat race,' and by seeing Bartleby's reaction, and the reaction of others to Bartleby's denial of the value of work and government regulation, the reader is able to see the more muted, but still absurd truths of his…… [Read More]
She has a simple dream for her family and it is that they may live in a decent home that sits in a decent neighborhood. She tries to explain this to alter by indicating that they should always be attempting to move forward and "do something different, push on out and do something bigger" (Hansberry). Lena is worn by life. She expresses her frustrations with Ruth but she has a big heart and wants the best for her family L.M. Domina asserts, "Mama cares for all living things, even those that do not seem to thrive" (Domina). This does not always include being on everyone's good side as demonstrated in the issue over the money. The fact the turns out to be right and offers forgiveness to alter demonstrates her strength. Domina adds, "Throughout the play, Mama has been trying to lead alter into the realization of his own dignity,…… [Read More]
Every step of the African-American journey was a small one but it took a great of steps to make any headway. Mama knew this and wanted alter to realize it and be proud of his past so he could be proud of his future.
Dreams help us define people. e can see how the pre-civil rights mindset affected alter's mother as she understands the difficulties of her people and when she sees an opportunity to improve her family's situation, she takes it. She fights with alter because she watched her husband work long days. She knows what alter cannot and when he begins to whine she tells him, "e was going backward 'stead of forwards -- talking about killing babies and wishing each other was dead . . . hen it gets like that in life -- you just got to do something different, push on out and do something…… [Read More]
This is the essence of true faith. It never leaves you forever. You can curse your life but you must not abandon it or dreams will be deferred for good. Walter for example gives up his dream of becoming his own boss. He wants to be financially secure- enough to at least raise himself above the servant class. He wanted Travis to have a better future. But all his dreams vanish when he makes the unwise investment and loses money. His dreams have not vanished however from his spirit, they have only started consuming him. this results in extreme frustration as he turns to alcohol for some consolation. George describes him as someone "wacked up with bitterness." (85) Mama cannot see her son consumed by failed dreams and the situation becomes alarming when Walter doesn't take his wife's threatened abortion seriously. Walter becomes a bitter lost soul.
Beneatha on the…… [Read More]
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
omen's practicality: hen alter is discussing one of his dreams, owning a liquor store, he mentions the cost of the investment and then adds…… [Read More]
alter's desire for financial success and his stories of rich white people are a metaphor for the self-respect he lacks in himself. It's easy to say that alter should pay more attention to what is really important in life: family, respect, love, etc., but what Hansberry is illustrating is that when one lives in a society that looks down upon a group of people, those people have a much more difficult time seeing themselves in a positive light. This makes it difficult for alter to develop as a character.
alter struggles to get ahead in any way he can. He comes up with the idea of getting the insurance money from his father's death so that he can start a business -- even though the money should go to alter's mother who is desperately in need of retirement. She loves her son, though, and decides to give him a chunk…… [Read More]
She misrepresents the proposal of marriage of Asagai and is unable to provide the man who loves her so much and who understand her well. The complex character of Beneatha demonstrates another hidden quality towards the end of the play. The confrontation of Walter with Mr. Lindner reveals the arrogant statement of Mr. Lindner, "I take it then that you have decided to occupy." The easiness of Beneatha's reply illustrates in the statement, "That is what the man said." Beneatha implements an ironic return where she indicates Walter as 'the man' and not the white Mr. Lindner. Hansberry points out that with the prior statement that Beneatha has the capability to acknowledge greatness in others as well as the capability to react with warmth and love to words and actions of family pride and dignity. Beneatha still involves some immaturity, but she reveals great potential for good. Beneatha Younger indicates…… [Read More]
Raisin in the Sun: alter Lee's Dream Deferred
Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun chronicles the struggles of the African-American Younger family to gain a foothold in American middle-class society. One of the most poignant characters is the elder brother, alter Lee, who works as a chauffeur but dreams of owning his own liquor store. Although racism has clearly limited alter's dreams of social mobility, Hansberry also makes it clear that alter's psychology has also been a source of his frustrations and limitations. alter is constantly looking for a 'get rich quick' scheme, which results in him losing part of the inheritance his father worked so hard to obtain. Instead of investing in his education like his sister Beneatha, alter invests in a liquor store instead: he claims he is a 'giant surrounded by ants,' but the actual scope of his ambitions is actually very small.
The beginning of…… [Read More]
My personal response to the play is I loved reading it and the more I thought about families (not just black families) when I read through it again. The oldest son in the play was trusted to deposit the money from the check (to buy a better home), but he turned out to be unable to follow through with his responsibility. That's sad. Also, in the play it was brought home to me that the neighbor was willing to pay the family NT to move into his neighborhood. It still is that way today. White folks fear that black folks will bring loud parties into their neighborhood, and that black folks won't take good care of their property and it will devalue the neighborhood. That's not fair to assume such a thing about blacks, but unfortunately, a lot of white people still believe those things. That's why the play is…… [Read More]
The 1950s was a time when the last of the generation of slaves were beginning to disappear from communities but their first generation children were attempting to make sense of the lives they led and the cautionary tales they had applied to their lives as a result. The work shows that for the 1950s African-American family it was a time of remembrance and resolution as well as a time to reflect on change and hope for even greater change in the future, with the inclusion of the fact that defacto segregation and suppression was still occurring in a rampant manner all over their lives.
Jewell, K. Sue. 2003. Survival of the African-American Family: The Institutional Impact of U.S. Social Policy. Westport, CT: Praeger.
Jewell develops a social history that demonstrates all the many disparities of the African-American vs. majority culture and how these disparities, legal, social and economic…… [Read More]
" The drying up of the dream like a raisin suggests that the spirit of someone who is the victim of prejudice experiences a kind of living death, with all vital forces sucked away from his or her sprit like dried fruit. The dream can also "crust over" like something sweet, implying the false face that African-Americans must put on to live in America. (a Raisin in the Sun, the Lorraine Hansberry play that uses a line from the poem as its title, portrays one of the central characters, a chauffer named alter Lee, as a man filled with rage who must smile and cater to whites in his job).
This contrast between sweetness and reality is even more dramatically depicted in "Strange Fruit," where images of the old, genteel South of Magnolia trees are starkly juxtaposed against the image of a dead, African-American male: "Scent of magnolias, sweet and…… [Read More]
Though Antigone is certainly the protagonist of the play, she makes her decision very early in the action -- she chooses to bury her brother despite the civil disobedience and disrespect of the State that it shows. Ismene, on the other hand, wavers between the two duties. hen Antigone is caught, her sister tries to take the blame with her: "But now you're in trouble, I'm not ashamed / of suffering, too, as your companion" (Sophocles, 540-1). Though Ismene's motives might be somewhat questionable, she is at least claiming a sense of duty and companionship with her sister -- and a desire to honor her brother -- by joining in the guilt of the act against the State. Antigone will not let her, again for reasons that could be put under debate. One possible explanation for Antigone's refusal to let Ismene share the punishment for the act would be her…… [Read More]
This play, the first by a black playwright to show on Broadway, was a moving reflection of black family life that had great popular appeal (Sidney pp). Poitier's performance was such a critical success that he was asked to star in the movie adaptation in 1961 (Sidney pp). In 1963, his performance in "Lilies of the Field" won him the Academy Award for Best Actor, the first black man to ever win the Oscar (Sidney pp). This success was followed by an electrifying performance in Norman Jewison's "In the Heat of the Night" (Sidney pp). Then, Poitier took on one of the greatest taboos of the time, interracial romantic relationships, in "Patch of Blue," and "Guess ho's Coming to Dinner," thus, by the end of the 1960's. Poitier was one of Hollywood's most popular stars (Sidney pp).
Poitier went on to direct "Buck and the Preacher," "Uptown Saturday Night," "Let's…… [Read More]
The climax opens alter's eyes to the wickedness of people. He realizes he cannot trust everyone. Life is full of those who take and those who are taken. He admits to being "mixed up bad" (2258). His dream was short-lived and so was the money. He learns to keep his "eye on what counts in this world" (2258). This experience is good for alter because it forces him to grow up. It forces him to realize the fly-by-night ideas he had are generally bad ideas and hard work may be the way to get what he wants from this world. At least with that, he can have the satisfaction knowing he worked hard and tried to earn an honest living. alter becomes a man when he realizes illy swindles him. This is important to the play because up until this point, alter is not a likable person. He wants to…… [Read More]
hile the other characters wonder why Othello, once so strong and noble, acts horrifically to his wife before murdering her, the audience knows why: it is partially the mechanics of Iago's plot, but also Iago's cunning words and attitude that enable him to prey upon Othello's vulnerable mind. Othello has experienced slavery and discrimination from a young age, and although he tries to create the impression that peoples' racist attitudes do not matter to him, the fact that he is so easily swayed to become jealous and angry suggests that such attitudes do have an influence in shaping his mentality. "Is this the nature/hom passion could not shake?... Could neither graze nor pierce?" wonders those who observe Othello after Iago has used his deceitful persuasive strategies upon Othello's vulnerable psyche (IV.1).
alter Lee is similarly vulnerable because of his insecurities. He works all day in the service to rich individuals…… [Read More]
Yank in "Hairy Ape" by Eugene O'Neill
In the play, "Hairy Ape," by Eugene O'Neill, the character of Yank portrays the individual who seeks to conform in his society and is always in need to belong with other people. Robert Smith, or Yank, is illustrated as an individual who personifies anything that is deviant in the society: O'Neill portrays him as "broader, fiercer, more truculent, more powerful, and surer of himself than the rest. They respect his superior strength -- the grudging respect of fear. Then, too, he represents to them a self-expression, the very last word in what they are, their most highly developed individual." This passage from the play shows how, because of both his physical appearance and personality, Yank is immediately identified as 'distinct' and 'different' from other people.
Looking into his portrayal in the play, Yank also shows apparent dislike for conformity, deviating from all the…… [Read More]
No Child Left Behind and Black Males
No child left behind
No Child Left Behind: Cause and Effect Essay
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed in 2001 in order to improve overall students' performance and to decrease the performance gap between minority and mainstream students. However other effects have emerged since its implementation. Through this cause and effect essay, author sheds light on effects of the NCLB. It has been discussed, how the NCLB has helped to improve education levels as well as how school administrators are facing challenges to meet the standards of this act.
The Influence of No Child Left Behind on Black Male Graduate ate
The Influence of No Child Left Behind on Black Male Graduate ate
NCLB is an educational policy that emphasizes accountability by imposing constraints on school systems. According to Gay (2007),
"The achievement gaps persist among different ethnic group,…… [Read More]