“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do. “- Pope John XXIII. Everybody has dreams or goals that they want to achieve in order to better their future, or the future of their family. Everybody also has challenges that they have to overcome in order to make these hopes and dreams come true. An example of this can be seen in Lorraine Hansberry’s most notable and landmark play A Raisin in the Sun.
This groundbreaking play is about the younger family who are a poor black family that lives on the Southside of Chicago. In this play Walter, Elaine, Beneatha have dreams of a better future for themselves or their families, but conflicts within themselves and society halts these dreams, and makes them nearly impossible to accomplish. Throughout this play Lena Younger, the mother of Walter and Beneatha, has big dreams of social progress for her family and herself. As the play goes on, you can see the hope for this progress by her plant that barely gets the sunshine that it needs but still being able to live and survive.
This plant represents the garden that she always wanted to have, and indirectly the new home. Even though the plant is barely getting what it needs it is still alive and strong, much like her dream of a new home. To achieve these dreams, Lena uses thirty-five hundred dollars of the insurance money on a house in Clybourne Park. Her other dreams are for her children to make a better future for their family. Lena believed that Beneatha and Walter were “supposed to be my beginning again. You what supposed to be my harvest” (1571). Both of these dreams were conflicted and put to the test.
The conflict with her dream home was society, because the white people in the neighborhood did not want them to move in. They even sent Karl Lindger, the chairman of the welcoming committee, to tell the Youngers that the people there don’t want them there and he tries to buy the house from them. Her other dream of her kids as her harvest was also put in jeopardy, because they started going through their own problems. Lena’s dreams are the most important in this play because her dreams aren’t about herself, but her family. She wants a better life for her family than herself.
Unlike Walter and Beneatha, who were only trying to achieve their dreams for themselves. Lena Younger’s son, Walter, played a key role in this plan. He is the husband of Ruth, the brother of Beneatha, and the father of Travis Younger. He works as a chauffeur in the city. He dreams of becoming rich and being able to provide for is family, much like the white people he drives around. He wants to gives his family, especially Travis, with the things that he never had as a child. To try and achieve these dreams, he constantly tries and gets into some get rich quick schemes with his friends Bobo and Willy.
Walter believes that these dreams are often deferred by his family, and himself. He often believes that his family, especially Ruth, are constantly putting him down and preventing him from elevating himself economically. Walter says in the play “that is just what is wrong with the colored women in this world… Don’t understand about building their men up and making ’em feel like somebody” (1514). He feels like all women especially black women are always the one that hold their man down from achieving their goals and wants in life. He also blames society for his problems, because he is black.
He thinks that since is black that is the reason why he can never get a descent and respectable job in life. The main reason that his dreams are deferred however is he. He constantly puts the blame on his family and society. While some of these reasons are partially true, he uses them more as a crutch and an excuse for not making anything of himself. He doesn’t take responsibility for his own hardships and learn that he has to work hard to be successful in life, which he doesn’t want to do. Walter’s dream is not the most important in this play because he wants to achieve his dreams more so for himself then his family.
He wants to make these dreams happen for his own pride and ego, much like Beneatha. Lena’s daughter, Beneatha, has her own dreams just like Walter. Beneatha is the sister of Walter, and the auntie of Travis. She goes to school in the hopes of achieving her dreams and becoming a doctor. She dreams of moving out of the cramped apartment they everybody in the Younger family share, and make something of herself and her education. She also wants to get in touch with her roots, along with Asagai. Her dreams are deferred by society and her family.
During this time, society viewed women as being a housewife and not having an actual career. Women were suppose to build families not careers. This is apparent in George Murchison, because he wanted to marry Beneatha. He was a college student who wanted to be a politician and marry Beneatha. He often makes fun of her aspirations of being a doctor and would like her to be a housewife, which since he wants to be a politician is the ideal American family. Her dreams are also deferred by her family, because everybody including Ruth and Mama would rather have her being a nurse.
Her dreams are not the most important, because much like Walter, her dreams are only for her advancement in life. This play depicts the struggle of a lower class black family in Southside Chicago trying to make a better life for them and their families. Much like many families, they want nothing but a better future for the next generations that are to come. All of their dreams have their own challenges and issues with them, whether it’s in with society outside or within the society in their house. No matter how many obstacles or little attention their dreams get, much like Lena’s plant, they will always life on.