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A Raisin in the Sun
Transcript of A Raisin in the Sun
A Raisin in the Sun
Mama, Lena, struggles to hold her family together and provide a better future for all of them. When she learns her husband has left her $10,000 she hopes to finally realize her dream to buy a house. The house represents family and security to her in the face of a world that is rapidly changing. The recent loss of her husband makes her realize even more how important family truly is. She wants to give them a place where they can stay together, flourish and realize their dreams. She has cherished this dream of family for years,
just as she has lovingly tended
to a small potted plant.
During the course of the play Beneatha has an awakening and revels in her African heritage as evidenced by her allowing her hair to go natural at a time when women still straightened her hair. She is opinionated and views those with differing opinions as wrong. Her poor family has sacrificed so that she may go to college and become a doctor. She views others as being beneath her and rejects the values of her traditional mother, not fully recognizing the bravery her mother exhibits by holding her family together and ultimately by breaking racial barriers. Beneatha has 2 suitors. One is financially successful in a predominately white field, the other is a native African.
Watch this 1950's documentary about a neighborhood being integrated when one African-American family moves into it..
The Youngers are a poor African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago. An opportunity to escape from poverty comes in the form of a $10,000 life insurance check that the matriarch of the family (Lena Younger or Mama) receives upon her husband's death. Lena's children, Walter and Beneatha, each have their plans for the money. The oldest son, Walter (a man of 35 with a wife and a young son), wishes to invest in a liquor store. The younger sister, Beneatha, currently a college student, wants to use the money for medical school. Lena has plans as well for the money. She wants to buy a house for the family and provide the security for those whom she loves most.
When the all white neighbors in Clybourne Park learn they are being integrated, they send Mr. Lindner to offer money to the Youngers if they will not move there. Walter is tempted to take the deal as he has lost the money he invested in the liquor store when his friend ran off with it. However, the Youngers finally agree to refuse the money and move into their new home and new future.
The biggest shift in society occurred between
the 1950’s and the 1960’s. Blacks began to demand an end to Jim Crow laws and women began to demand that their role in society also be expanded. In 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case of Brown v. Board of Education that segregated schools were unconstitutional. And in 1955 Rosa Parks led the bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama led by black citizens. America was watching as it’s long held beliefs that the white ideal was to be desired, that different ethnic groups should be treated differently and races should not co-mingle began to be questioned.
The 1960’s saw these stereotypes and societal norms smashed as the American youths protested against them, their elders and the very core values of their country. These protests sometimes became violent. This became known as the counter culture movement with hippies leading the way.
This changing world creates the very issues being dealt with by the Younger family. They struggle with what it means to live during a time when racial barriers are being broken, when what it means to be black is explored and the very definition of family is questioned.
Ruth, Walter's wife,
wants to move into the
larger house. When she realizes she is pregnant she considers getting an abortion. Her husband seems to support this decision. Lena is shocked at their decision as family has always been of utmost importance
The fact that Walter and Ruth are considering an abortion is the deciding factor that prompts Mama to put a down payment on the house. She is trying protect her family and preserve what family means in the face of a changing world.
Listen to the poem
Learn about The Harlem Renaissance Movement
and Langston Hughes.
Walter considers accepting
the money from Mr. Lindner,
but eventually refuses to do so.
Each member of the Younger family has seemingly different dreams which a racist society and misplaced trust in others may well destroy. Through the course of this play, these characters come to realize that family is the overriding and cohesive theme which may well allow their dreams to flourish. The play ends on an optimistic note as the family will move together into their new home, breaking down racial barriers as the nation itself is moving forward and breaking down racial barriers. We root for the Youngers as their success represents the success of each of us in an America constantly striving to improve and move beyond the inequalities and injustices of its past.
Direct & Indirect Characterization
DIRECT CHARACTERIZATION - the reader is simply told what is a character's personality, what they look like, and other pertinent information. This is the "Tell" Method.
INDIRECT CHARACTERIZATION - information about a character is revealed through that character's thoughts, words, and actions, along with what other characters think and say about him, including how others
respond to that character. This is the "Show" Method.
As you read the play pay attention to how each
character is described, how they talk and how others react to them. What is the author revealing about the character?
How Characters Talk
You have learned much this year about using appropriate language for essays. Now you will notice that language may also be a tool when creating believable characters. How a character speaks will reveal their age, where they are from, their level of education and even their gender. Characters may use
which will give clues as to what time period the story is set. They may use
which will reveal what ethnic or regional group they most identify with. Characters may also use
which are informal phrases or expressions specific to
certain regions or time periods.