A Raisin in the Sun and What It Means To Me

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Lorraine Hansberry wrote the play A Raisin in the Sun about an African American family dealing with the repercussions of racial tension between blacks and whites in the 1950’s. The family struggles to achieve their dreams due to social and economic setbacks. Each family member has their own goals and dreams for themselves and their family.

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Each character experiences losses while trying to achieve their dreams, and some let their dreams get in the way of reality and family. Lorraine Hansberry has portrayed an accurate representation of the importance of family, in general, in A Raisin in the Sun through showing how the family makes sacrifices for one another, overcomes adversity together, and the consequences of their decisions. The play shows how the characters learn to appreciate each other, work through differences, and work together through hard times. Each family member makes many sacrifices for the sake of the family throughout the play. In the beginning, Ruth is pregnant but has not told Walter due to the fact that she knows it would stress him and the rest of the family out. Ruth knows they are not doing well enough financially to keep this baby, therefore she plans to abort it. She goes ahead and makes the down payment of five dollars to the woman that is going to perform the abortion. When Lena, the mother and grandmother of the household, confronts Walter about how his wife is expecting a baby, Walter is in pure shock. Lena explains to him that she thinks Ruth is thinking about aborting it, and Walter denies the thought of that and states that Ruth would never do such a thing. Lena replies when the world gets ugly enough, a woman will do anything for her family.

The part that’s already living (Hansberry, Act 1, Scene 2). This shows that Ruth is making the sacrifice of aborting her child so that it doesn’t bring stress to her family. Lena says to Walter in front of Ruth Well son I’m waiting to hear you say something…I’m waiting to hear how you be your father’s son. Be the man he was your wife say she going to destroy your child say we a people who give children life, not who destroys them (Act 1, Scene 2, pg. 523). Lena is encouraging Walter to support Ruth and try to get her to keep the baby despite their financial struggles. This shows how Mama Lena understands Ruth and Beneatha’s concerns about the pregnancy, but is trying to encourage Ruth and Walter to keep the baby no matter the circumstances. In my eyes, Lena is the support system for the whole family. When Ruth and Walter needed confidence in the decision to keep the baby, she was there to tell them why not to be stressed.

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