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A Raisin in the Sun

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Bethany Franklin

on 12 June 2014

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Transcript of A Raisin in the Sun


Characters' Traits
Walter Lee Younger
- arrogant, embarrassed, frustrated, unrealistic, proud, näive, gambler, can get angry easily
Beneatha Younger
- independent, sassy, non-religious, adventurous, fun, studious, wants to connect with her roots
Lena Younger ("Mama")
- dreamer, proud, hard-worker, religious, defiant, family-oriented, nurturing
Ruth Younger
- neglected, realistic, preoccupied, frustrated, desperate, fearless, loving, kind
Travis Younger
- young, fun, makes the best of things, looks up to his father
Joseph Asagai
- connected with roots, intelligent
Karl Linder
- racist, rude
- slow, apologetic, trusting
George Murchison
- snob, wealthy, disliked by the Youngers, wants Beneatha to be proper
Mrs. Johnson
- nosy
Willy Harris
- sly, deceiving
Character Quotes
Background Information
Lorraine Hansberry
- Born:
Chicago, Illinois, in 1930
Hansberry's own struggle for desegregation in her neighborhood
Hansberry was the fifth woman, first African-American, and the youngest American to win the
New York Drama Critic's Circle Award of Best Play of the Year
Chicago, Illinois, in the 1950s
About the Civil Rights Movement:
The objective of the Civil Rights Movement was to grant African Americans the same rights as white people, and to achieve equality between the racial populations. Many African American people were limited in what jobs they could have and lives they could live. Many people wanted to live their own lives and dreamed of lives they could have if the country wasn’t segregated. The Civil Rights Movement was lead by leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. with walks, speeches, and protests to give these people a hope for change, so that they could achieve their dreams that seemed impossible in the time when whites overpowered the population and government. This happened in the 1950s, when the book takes place, making it the backdrop of the play and giving the readers an idea of why Mama was trying so hard to integrate whites and blacks.
Literary Devices
pg. 499 "Her bearing is perhaps most like the noble bearing of the women of the Hereros of Southwest Africa—rather as if she imagines that as she walks she still bears a basket or a vessel upon her head."
pg.499 "Her speech, on the other hand, is as careless as her carriage is precise."

pg.487 "The sole natural light the family may enjoy in the course of a day."
is only that which fights it way through this little window

pg.495 "I'm choking to death, baby"
pg.495 "She rises and gets the ironing board and sets it up and attacks a huge pile of rough-dried clothes..."

pg.498 "You—you are a nut."

pg. 129 "In my mother's house there is still God."

Mama's plant: symbolizes strength and dreams

Epigraph in the beginning of the book

The Youngers are a black family living in Chicago in the 1940's. In the first scene we learn that Lena Younger's husband has passed away, and Lena (who is called "Mama") is getting his life insurance money, a check for $10,000. As we read on, more about the characters is revealed, such as how the family is poor. A conflict of the book is that each person wants to do something different with the money; Mama wants to take the money and buy a house to live in, Beneatha needs the money for medical school, and Walter wants to open a bar with it. Ruth, Walter's wife, struggles to support her family and cope with the idea of her pregnancy. It seems that all is well when Mama splits the money into three parts- one for her, one for Beneatha, and one for Walter and Ruth. With her share, Mama puts a down payment on a house in a white neighborhood, where she hopes to integrate both white and black people. She then gives Walter the rest of the money, and tells him to put his sister's share in a bank for when Beneatha needs it. However, Walter has his own plans, and gives his friend Willy both remaining shares of the check. Willy ends up taking the money and running away with it, greatly disappointing Bobo and Mama, and infuriating Walter. The family also faces a conflict when Mr. Lindner, a spokesman for the neighborhood's 'welcoming committee,' tries to talk the Youngers into selling their new home with a bribe, so that integration can be avoided by the racist white families in the Younger's future neighborhood. In the end, Mama gives Walter the responsibility of choosing whether or not the family should move into the home, and Walter makes the decision to move the family in.
A theme is a recurring/main idea in novel or an underlying meaning that may be stated directly or indirectly.

Each person in the family has his/her dreams (Beneatha wants to be a doctor, Walter want to open a liquor store, Mama wants to buy a house, etc).
"…Big Walter used to say, he’d get right wet in the eyes sometimes, lean his head back with the water standing in his eyes and say, "Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams – but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worth while."

the Civil Rights Movement & segregation/racism:
Mama wants to integrate the white neighborhood, and Mr. Lindner is a racist.
"I am sure you people must be aware of some of the incidents that have happened in various parts of the city when colored people have moved into certain areas--" (said by Lindner)

The house unites the family together in the end, and Mama & Big Walter considered family to be the most important thing.
"Crazy ‘bout his children! God knows there was plenty wrong with Walter Younger– hard-headed, mean, kind of wild with women– plenty wrong with him. But he sure loved his children. Always wanted them to have something– be something. That’s where Brother gets all these notions, I reckon"

assimilation/fitting in:
Beneatha is trying to find herself during the lay, and tries to connect with her African roots by
seeing Asagai, instead of fitting in. Walter also wants a different life for Travis, showing his
resistance to assimilation.
"(She [Beneatha] promenades to the radio and, with an arrogant flourish, turns off the good loud blues that is playing.) 'Enough of this assimilationist junk!'"
Plot Diagram
: (Act I scene I) introduces characters, setting, and plot.

Rising Action
- Asagai/Merchison and Beneatha
- getting the check
- Mama dividing the money

- Bobo comes to Walter and tells him about Willy

Falling Action
- Walter and Beneatha are pessimistic
- Mama's monologue about hope and family

- Walter tells Lindner that the family is moving into the house
- Mama takes her plant out of the apartment
A Raisin in the Sun
Kate Engler & Halle Maciag

Walter Lee Younger
- taxi driver, wants to open a bar, son of Lena, gives Willy the inheritance money, tells Lindner that the Youngers will buy the house
Beneatha Younger
- in school becoming a doctor, daughter of Lena, girlfriend to George Murchison and Joseph Asagai
Lena Younger ("Mama")
- housewife, mother of Beneatha and Walter, grandma of Travis, buys a house in a segregated neighborhood
Ruth Younger
- working housewife, does odd jobs around the house as a job, Walter's wife
Travis Younger
- young boy in grammar school, wants to be a taxi driver like his dad, Walter and Ruth's son
Joseph Asagai
- in school, Beneatha's boyfriend
Karl Linder
- white man, part of the "Welcoming Committee," doesn't want the Youngers to move in
- Walter's friend, wants to open the bar with him
George Murchison
- One of Beneatha's suitors, is a wealthy African American man
Mrs. Johnson
- Younger's neighbor
Willy Harris
- Says he wants to go into business with Walter, but instead takes his money
: (page 47) "Mama, you don't understand. It's all a matter of ideas, and God is just one idea I don't accept. It's not important. I am not going out and be immoral or commit crimes because I don't believe in God. I don't even think about it. It's just that I get tired of Him getting credit for all the things the human race achieves through its own stubborn effort. There simply is no blasted God—there is only man and it is he who makes miracles!"

: (page 71) "Oh, let him go on out and drink himself to death! He makes me sick to my stomach!"

: (page 91) "She went out and bought a house!... You glad about the house? It's going to be yours when you get to be a man."
(page 74) "In my time we was worried about not being lynched and getting to the North if we could and how to stay alive and still have a pinch of dignity too . . . Now here come you and Beneatha—talking 'bout things we never even thought about hardly, me and your daddy. You ain't satisfied or proud of nothing we done. I mean that you had a home; that we kept you out of trouble till you was grown; that you don't have to ride to work on the back of nobody's streetcar— You my children— but how different we done become."

: (page 37) "Sometimes it's like I can see the future stretched out in front of me— just plain as day. The future Mama. Hanging over there at the edge of my days. Just waiting for me— a big, looming blank space—full of nothing. Just waiting for me. But it don't have to be."
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