Being poor in a country sets an individual’s life up to be filled with the longing for a better life. That desire can lead to the destruction of one’s family or goals. It can cause strain on an individual’s minds.
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Throughout the play, A Raisin in the Sun published in 1959, Lorraine Hansberry, illustrates the mental and social issues that are placed on a society who has suffers from poverty and is still affected in today’s contemporary culture. During the time period the play was written poverty was at an all-time high among the African American community. From racism, Jim Crow (Urofsky,2018) laws and to the failing economy of the United States are all contributions to the daily struggles African American families had to endure and continue to endure. Hansberry took years of confusion and mistreatment and put it into her play.
The play is simply about an African American family who is a part of the lower class receiving a large amount of money. (Hansberry.p29) After the death of her husband the matriarch of the family Lena younger must make the decision of what she must do with the money. Her wish is to buy a home with a backyard for her family as she and her late husband had promised. Her son Walter Younger, obsessed with making fast money and wanting to be rich wished to invest the money into a liquor store.(Hansberry.p36) His sister, Beneatha the only one with an education wishes for the money to be used for her own wellbeing and to pay for her medical school. The family is to receive $10,000. Just the mention of it brings tension amongst the family because they all want a piece of it. Those affected by poverty could never dream about receiving that amount. The anxiety of waiting for the money to come and what to do with it can really stress an individual out. Rising out of poverty usually takes time. But to this family this one check is the answer to all their individual prayers.
In the 1950’s segregation was still very alive and present in the United States of America. African Americans were limited to the jobs they could have and dreamed that their children could have better lives, better education and better opportunities. Blacks had to work extremely hard to make ends meet. They worked multiple jobs with long hours just too still receive the short end of the stick. Working hard and still not being able to provide is enough to make a man depressed. Although he had his mother, Walter was supposed to be the patriarch of the family. There has always been unaddressed pressure put on black men in the black community. They are taught to provide and protect their family.
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