Raisin in the sun explains about dreams and the key people in the play work hard to accommodate their life oppressions. The play refers to the conjecture that Langston Hughes wrote on the poems about dreams that were never put into action. Capitalism was an exploitative system that gave the whites excessive supremacy and denied the blacks the necessities such as healthy environments, good homes, and job opportunities. The blacks are being murdered daily without problem both in the old ways and in new ways. The writer of the play, Lorraine Hansberry, was determined in telling the entire world about the white supremacy in the United States. She declared her willingness to denounce the oppression of the blacks and scold the prominent blacks who preached to the world on the advantages of United States democracy (Hansberry, 1984).
The youths in the play are poor blacks living in Southern Chicago. The only escape from poverty is $10,000 which Lena is given as life insurance after her husband passes away. The children too, each have plans for the cash. The oldest son Walter plans to invest in a liquor business, while the younger Beneatha plans to go to medical school. Lena has plans as well to purchase a home for the family and fiance the daughter’s education. The family lives in a very pressurized environment with financial constraints. The apartment is one-bedroomed, and they still share one bathroom. Walter’s wife finds out she is pregnant with her second child, and she attempts abortion. Beneatha is the source for new ideas that challenge the family’s infiltration. Also, Beneatha challenges the notions of race, culture, religion, and gender in the country. As a result, she dates two men with different aspirations. First is a wealthy African American who is her classmate. The second is a Nigerian from whom she learns much about her African heritage (Hansberry, 1984).
Walter’s has a purpose of pursuing the American dream. He has a good entrepreneurial spirit and a great urge to be successful. However, he has no intentions to challenging the current systems like his sister Beneatha. He wanted to progress faster and get into the high a higher class financially. Also, he does not find satisfaction in his job as Chauffeur. Walter wants to drive a nice car, get a big office and a beautiful office. All that he desires is a wealthy lifestyle. He is much idolized in power and wealth which creates a hunger for change within his inner self. However, challenges such as racism hinder him from achieving his dreams and hope. Although their mother Lena does not agree with the idea of a liquor store, she somehow realizes the importance of Walter’s plans (Hansberry, 1984).
After making payment for a family house in the neighboring households, Lena makes her son responsible for the rest of cash. However, she asks him to put aside some for her sister’s education. However, Walter does not follow through with that and invests the entire money on a liquor business. The investment does not succeed since Walter collaborates with two untrustworthy men. One man named Willy escapes with all the cash. The family is entirely dependent on the cash, and they are already through with the plans to move out and already they have packed up their bags. Walter becomes devastated and is ready to take up the offer from Mr. Lindner, a white representative from the neighborhood of Clybourne Park. Mr. Lindner wants to pay extra for the family not to move into the neighborhood. This offer bothers the family greatly, but, after losing all that money Walter has thoughts about taking this money. He doesn’t go through with it though and he comes through to his senses, declining the offer. Eventually, the family decides to move. Despite the several challenges they know that they made the right choices (Hansberry, 1984).
Hansberry, the writer of the play, summoned her associate writers to design a socially purposive art that would focus on the freeing of the blacks. In her play, Hansberry advocated for the radical politics of African Americans freedom. She became determined in achieving nationalism for blacks, feminism as well as communism. The decolonization of Africans, Asians, and American policies had proceeded from a combined political wrangle and violent insurgency. After the second world war, there was a struggle in the right to freedom and patriotism in the United States. The civil liberties denied liberty as uncritical support which gave adequate support to the status quo of the capitalist. McCarthyism oppressed the black freedom elements without eliminating them. However, the black freedom movement generated several struggles, such as bus boycott and other media spectacles. The freedom movement made a liberal turn which opened a path for the black matriarchy to acquire a political stream (Chapman, 2017).
The popular media and other publications had begun to block the involvement of black women in the workforce and their success on the proceeding social, economic oppression. The African American women who used to work became used as scapegoats. Therefore, the status of blacks was regarded as familial leadership and not racial capitalism. Hansberry wrote Raisin in the Sun to criticize the liberal and patriarchal vision for the movement that advocated for civil rights. As explained earlier, the characters in the play valued money which was a great aspiration for the matriarchy theory for the blacks. The play rose to prominence as the writer increased her critics to publications, lectures, and interviews that pressured the freedom movement to reach a better liberation (Chapman, 2017).
Some critics and scholars saw Raisin in the Sun as romantic capitulation for the dreams of America. Also, they regarded it as an affirmation for the success of all Americans through hard work, pluck and determination. Some black activists did not see the importance of work, which regarded as a middle class since it aimed at moving to the white neighborhoods while other blacks struggled to pay rent in the ghettos. Hansberry criticized all kinds of control, comprising those used by the United States throughout the cold war. Also, affirmed that all people, regardless of their race or tribe, had the right to determine their destiny. She supported ak8ll nationist movements in different continents and sought personal and familiar forms for self-determination. The cultural expression in the play taught its readers that people in business are naturally hard headed and super moralist who work like bees to keep the world moving. Hansberry focused on the 20 million Americans, and at the same time advocated for self-determination on the negros. Some of the failing aspirations included money values which were acquired with greed (Chapman, 2017).
The quest for money imposed a great danger on the search of freedom. The author emphasized on literal exploration on small-mindedness and overemphasis on the respectability of the blacks. For example, in her play, the literal exploration was show through the two characters, Beneatha and George Murchison. George who belonged to a wealthy family rejected the request from Walter for friendship and sneered the desire for Beneatha to think widely. He advised her to rather talking about politics than kissing the sofa after their meeting. Also, he told her that he did not want to hear her thoughts. After Beneatha asked him why he attended college, he answered that it was simple to read books, get good grades and a degree. Beneatha pronounced this character as a fool. The writer, therefore, revealed the shallow mindedness and unearned complacency of the middle-class blacks (Chapman, 2017).
Alongside the money value and racism struggle by Walter, Hasberry acknowledged the young sister Beneatha, whom she identified with a character similar to herself. Beneather represented a character of low class in the play as well as the youthful, childless and single black ladies in the society. It was through Beanatha, Hansberry explained the aspect of African American liberation. George represented a character of money valued society that Hansberry deployed and rejected. Asagai, the Nigerian, introduced hope of nationalism, African diaspora Unity and revolution. Beanatha refusal to get into a sexual relationship with Asagai represented assumptions on sexual politics and the role of women in society. Also, it represented their ability to determine their independence in future marriages. To sum up, the play focused on the freedom of black people that overarched the hurdles of profound idealless and focused on forceful freedom (Chapman, 2017).
Chapman, E. D. (2017). Staging Gendered Radicalism at the Height of the US Cold War: A Raisin in the Sun and Lorraine Hansberry’s Vision of Freedom. Gender & History, 29(2), 446467.
Hansberry, L. (1984). Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. New York City, NY: Samuel French, Inc.