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A Raisin in the Sun

This research examines Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun as an adumbration of Langston Hughes's poems "Harlem" and "Dream Boogie." The plan of the research will be to set forth the referential context of the play and then to discuss how the play develops and comments on the ideas in the poems, evoking both psychological realism and social criticism in the process.

The fact that the title of A Raisin in the Sun is taken from Langston Hughes's description of a dream deferred in his short poem "Harlem" is well known. Less often appreciated, perhaps, is that the raisin is not Hughes's only simile. That poem also suggests that the deferred dream can fester, stink, crust like rotten meat, or explode (Hughes). Further, in his poem "Dream Boogie" Hughes expresses the explosion implicit in the poem that poses the question about what happens to a dream deferred, citing "The boogie-woogie rumble / Of a dream deferred?" Hansberry's play takes up the theme of what happens and vividly demonstrates that deferred dreams are also inchoate ones that are punctuated with rumble and confusion, frequently motivating behavior that works against the dreamers' best interests. Walter puts it trenchantly after his foolish business venture fails: "want so many things that they are driving me kind of crazy" (Hansberry 60).

A dream that all of the Youngers share is to leave their overcrowded Chicago slum, but no two Youngers share the same dream content where escaping their present reality is concerned. Lena (Mama) wants a house in an integrated neighborhood, but her son Walter wants to own a liquor store. Her daughter Beneatha, torn between two suitors (one a Nigerian and the other a yuppie-like figure), wants to be a doctor. Walter's wife Ruth wants an abortion, having been scarred by the experience of raising their son Travis in the ghetto. These wants collide over the disposition of a $10,000 insurance payout, with the result that only Mama's ...

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A Raisin in the Sun. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:50, May 28, 2020, from