Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun





Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun

Dreams assume a considerable role in A Raisin in the Sun. As the story advances between the characters, it becomes clear that every individual that takes part in the development of the narrative experiences a different dream. It establishes a resonating aim that allows all of them to exhibit resilience and work hard despite the misfortunes and hardships that characterize their lives. Nonetheless, the dreams of Mama are nobler than those of her family members are.

            While every character’s dream may be deemed important, it is clear that Mama’s dreams are the most deserving among all the main characters since her dreams are solely about the welfare of her family rather than the fulfillment of her desires. Indeed, the respective character had thoughts regarding the way in which her dream, if it came true, would be significantly beneficial to every member of her family. For example, while thinking about the benefits that her dream would provide to Beneatha, if it were true, she says, “Some it got to be put away for Beneatha and her schoolin’ – and isn’t nothing going to touch that part of it” (Hansberry 53). From this musing, it is evident that Mama has thoughts regarding Beneatha, especially with respect to her future.

Rather than wish for struggle, Mama believes that Beneatha should have a life that warrants good tidings rather than complications and difficulties that Mama herself is currently facing as an outcome of the environment she occupies inherently and extrinsically. Mama also thinks about Travis, especially based on how a yard may be quite beneficial in allowing the young man to engage in play during the summer season (Hansberry 42). She further says about getting a new house that Travis will love and giving Ruth’s money to Walter for the purpose of investments after she has her baby. To sum up, Mama’s wishes show the extent to which she is altruistic; her dream is more centered on achieving happiness for the lives of the other characters rather than her own wellbeing.

            The context in which Hansberry presented her work revealed an African American community, which faced several racial and economic challenges. In each of the character’s dreams, it was evident that all of them wished to overcome these challenges through pursuing their specific dreams. However, out of all the wishes that people had, none came close to the betterment of all members as that of Mama, the matriarch of the family. Granted, the Dream, which Walter had sought to better his own nuclear family. He believed that through the liquor store business, their financial struggles would end. He envisioned a life where he was served the way he currently serves others through driving a limousine. He also wished for a better life for his son. He imagined telling his son, “Just tell me, what it is you want to be—and you’ll be it. . . . Whatever you want to be—Yessir! You just name it, son . . . and I hand you the world!” (Hansberry 18). Additionally, he wished for a more meaningful relationship with his wife Ruth. However, his dreams did not include other members of his family other than his wife and son. In his dream, his mother and sister Beneatha were hardly considered.

            Beneatha’s wish was to identify herself with her African heritage. She also wished to identify more with the African American community. Therefore, she was initially too critical of her mother’s wish to move into a white neighborhood. However, she did not see the bigger picture, which was for them to enjoy some of the privileges that came with a more spacious house within a secure neighborhood. Mama understood the importance of family. She therefore wished for people to become more united. Because the money they got from insurance would not be enough to support all their dreams, Mama understood that she needed to compromise in several areas. Aside from the struggles of money, Mama also mentioned that the children should be grateful, for she lived in a time when the dream was to become free. Today, they fight a different kind of battle, with money taking center stage.

            In the end, it was Mama’s dream, which brought the whole family together. She had paid a down payment on the house in the white neighborhood. She gave the rest of the money to Walter, whose friend conned him off. Mr. Linder played a role in uniting the family albeit in a racist and unethical way. After realizing that the African American family was moving into the neighborhood, he saw this as a potential root of conflict. Many of the white residents would no doubt have been upset at this. In the spirit of keeping neighborly peace, Mr. Lindner offered the family an amount of money for them not to move into this area (Hansberry 45). At this point, the family realized the racist challenges they must overcome in search for a collective dream. In a way, Mama’s dream was a consolidation of all the other dreams: a reality in which they would be perceived as equal to white people. This would of course provide a gateway to realizing their individual dreams. Although they disagreed on many of the occasions, they collectively agreed to reject Mr. Lindner’s proposal of moving out.

            Mama’s dream was also more powerful than that of the other characters as it was the single most vision, which brought the family closer together in the end. In retrospect, no other dream would have been capable of the same. For instance, Walter’s dream, had it come true, would involve purchasing a liquor store, earning money and benefitting his wife and young son. Beneatha’s dream was to pursue medicine, after which she would quite possibly move to Nigeria with Joseph to live and work there. Ruth’s unexpected pregnancy would require them to cater to the child’s needs as opposed to a collective family function. However, Mama’s dreams appeared to be the most practical in terms of helping every member of the family. She was at some point remorseful for not considering the individual wishes of her children, and decided to use only half of the money as down payment. This is why she decided to set some money apart to fund Beneatha’s education as well as to kick-start Walter’s business.

Mama’s struggle is different from that of their children. She struggled to achieve freedom. This freedom was in the form of struggle to make their worthiness more recognized in a world that had otherwise relegated them to an unfavorable socio-economic periphery. However, her children and grandchild were able to enjoy these smaller achievements, which the preceding generations were able to achieve. It is arguable then that she was in a better position to understand the value of unity in family, which would serve as a foundation to achieve much more than, if they were acting alone. The dream, which she possessed, was both noble and visionary in terms of providing a better future for all her family members.

Works Cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun: A Drama in Three Acts. Random House, 1959.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun: Text and Study Aids. Ernst Klett Sprachen, 2008.

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