1. When I finished A Raisin in the Sun, I sat back and reflected on the primary thematic messages the author had shown. One of the themes I came across was the strength of a dream. Throughout the play, you are reminded of every dream each character has. Beneatha yearns to have a medical degree and become a doctor while Mama’s dream is for her children to be humble and grateful in a new home. Walter’s dream is to open up a liquor store and make money for his family to have a “better” life. Early on in the story, readers find out that Mama has a large check coming from her late husband’s life insurance.
This excitement starts to create a large uproar of arguments in the family. The arguments ranged from Walter and Ruth to Mama and Walter to Beneatha and Walter. Walter wants to use $10,000 of the money to co-own a liquor shop, but Mama plans on using the money on a new home and Beneatha’s medical school. Suddenly, Walter becomes dissatisfied with his life. In “Scene One”, Ruth tells Mama, “Mama, something is happening between Walter and me. I don’t know what it is—but he needs something—something I can’t give him anymore.
He needs this chance, Lena. ” This quote is Ruth begging to her husband’s mother for some money to open up the liquor shop. Ruth notices how her husband’s unhappiness and how he yearns for something greater for him and his family. Also, in “Scene One”, Walter mocks Beneatha for wanting a dream to pursue. He believes the money should rightfully be his. Beneatha responds to his mocks saying, “Well—I do—all right? —Thank everybody! And forgive me for ever wanting to be anything at all!… FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE ME! This conversation is a sarcastic remark from Beneatha, who has strong hope for her dreams to come true.
So, tell me… What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or does it explode? 2. Secondly, Lorraine Hansberry tries to give people the inspiration to be proud of who they are. In the book, Walter Younger constantly states how unfair the Blacks are from the Whites. Also, in “Scene Three”, the Youngers put an offer on a new home, but a man, named Karl Lindner, tries to prevent that. Karl is from the town they plan to move to, and is a part of management.
He goes on to tell the family that because they are Black, the Whites in the town will not be happy and cause a riot. Walter Younger proceeds to tell him, “This is my son, and he makes the sixth generation our family in this country. And we have all thought about your offer… And we have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick. ” This was Walter sticking up for his race and his family. Another situation the Youngers have pride in is money. When Lindner offers the family money to not move into town, Mama does not want to take it, unlike Walter.
Mama tells Walter, “Son—I come from five generations of people who was slaves and sharecroppers—but ain’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay ‘em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn’t fit to walk the earth. We ain’t never been that poor…We ain’t never been that—dead inside. ” Mama shares her pride for keeping her and her family stable, and there being a boundary to asking others. Although Beneatha and Walter are adults, Mama continues to try to teach them life lessons. 3. One of the major themes, Hansberry has written in her work, is poverty. The Youngers are a lower class family, living at the bottom of the pyramid.
This is mostly because the color of their skin. In “Scene One”, we get a glimpse of the struggle Ruth and Walter face. Travis asks his mother, Ruth, for 50 cents that his teacher asked to bring in, but she explains to him she does not have any. “Well, I ain’t got no fifty cents this morning…I don’t care what teacher say. I ain’t got it. Eat your breakfast, Travis,” she told him. Ruth obviously felt embarrassed that she was not able to provide her child with something that was required for class. At last, his father, Walter, steps in, “In fact, here’s another fifty cents…Buy yourself some fruit today—or take a taxicab to school or something!
To Walter, money is something him and his family might have, but it does not stop him. Walter does believe that money brings happiness, and seems to search for money every step he takes. Continuing on in the story, Walter believes he must pay for a bribe to get his liquor license, or he won’t receive money. Walter tells his wife, “…Baby, don’t nothing happen for you in this world ‘less you pay somebody off! ” This quote explains how Walter is focused on money, and how he believes opportunities only come if money is involved. This starts to make Walter become money-crazed and ready to start his own liquor shop.
When Mama sees how Walter has suddenly been acting, he tells her his plan. She responds with, “Oh—So now it’s life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life—now it’s money. I guess the world really do change…” Mama is disappointed and bombarded with how her son has turned out. She knows she had taught and raised him better, but it seemed that he had slipped away from all his morals. Poverty can cause several people to wish for more expensive things, but being wealthy isn’t happiness. Having a family is happiness. 4. Entering the play, comes a new symbol.
The symbol represents family, happiness, and a place you always run to. The symbol is home. Lena, also known as Mama, has taught her household that home isn’t just furniture and expensive appliances. She taught her household that home is a place with family that supports you and loves you. As Walter starts to look on the streets for something more meaningful, Mama becomes worried. Lena tells him, “It’s dangerous, son… When a man goes outside his home to look for peace. ” This quote explains Lena telling her son that out in the real world, there is no love or comfort you can feel like at home.
It starts to worry Mama and the evil things out in the world start to pull Walter in a different direction. The man of the household, Walter, finds himself wanting to invest in a business more than a home. He thinks putting out money, will bring money come back to him. Lena believes having your own home is an amazing feeling of pride and success. In “Scene Two”, Mama says, “Walter Lee—it makes a difference in a man when he can walk on floors that belong to him…” When Beneatha’s friend, Asagai, stops by the apartment, Mama offers hospitality and comfort food whenever he would like to stop by.
I bet you don’t half look after yourself, being away from your mama either. I spec you better come ‘round here from time to time to get yourself some decent home-cooked meals…,” Mama comforts Asagai. This concludes that Mama offers her home to anyone she cares for and believes the place to run to when things go wrong, is home. 5. Finally, Hansberry has taught her audience for A Raisin in the Sun that the power of your choices can dominate parts of your life forever. Characters in this play constantly face several situations where they must make a decision.
Situations include Ruth having an abortion, Lena purchasing a house, Walter opening a liquor shop, and Beneatha getting married. When Ruth discovers she is pregnant, she decides to sacrifice her pregnancy for the fate of her family and their struggles with money. Ruth puts a down payment with an abortionist and decides to have the baby taken from her. “Yes I would too, Walter. I gave her a five-dollar down payment,” Ruth explains to her the choice she has decided to make. As the storyline goes on, Walter believes the choice of house his mother made was a mistake.
Son – I just tried to find the nicest place for the least amount of money for my family,” Ruth tells her son. She believes she had made the right choice as the leader of the household. In Act 2, “Scene Two”, Walter has hope for his opening liquor store, and tells his son, “…your daddy’s gonna make a transaction…a business transaction that’s going to change our lives…” Walter has faith and believes that money will do it all for his family and son’s future. All in all, decisions and choices are the direction your life decides to go in.