Essay on A Raisin in the Sun: The Foundation of Family

The idea of family is a central theme in Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun. Hansberry alludes to the Old Testament book of Ruth in her play to magnify “the value of having a home and family”(Ardolino 181). The Younger family faces hardships that in the moment seem to tear them apart from one another, but through everything, they stick together. The importance of family is amplified by the choices of Walter and Beneatha because they appear to initiate fatal cracks in the Younger family’s foundation, but Mama is the cement who encourages her family to pull together as one unit. The hardships of the family help develop a sense of unity for the Younger household.

Walter and Beneatha’s relationship is very complex. The spiraling tension between the two siblings causes confrontation to form and creep into the Younger household. Walter needs his family to respect him as the man of the family, but his sister is constantly belittling him in front of his mother, wife, and son. This denigrating treatment taints Walter’s view of himself as a man, which carries into his decisions and actions. Beneatha also subconsciously deals with the dysfunctional relationship with her brother. She desires to have her brother’s support for her dream of becoming a doctor, yet Walter tends to taunt her aspiration and condemns her for having such a selfish dream. Mama as the head of the family is heartbroken by the juvenile hostility of her adult children, so in hopes to keep her family together she makes the brave move of purchasing a house. Mama’s reasoning for the bold purchase was,“ I—I just seen my family falling apart….just falling to pieces in front of my eyes…We couldn’t have gone on like we was today. We was going backwards ‘stead of forw…

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…ghtful and inspirational to many. Realizing that each member of a family has his own issues that he is dealing with on top of keeping his family together can alter his reasoning and decision-making. Becoming less self-obsessed and demonstrating empathy for family members during difficult circumstances can be essential in keeping a family strong. Building and fortifying a foundation of family unity can be pivotal distinction between a family who stands together and one who crumbles apart.

Works Cited

Ardolino, Frank. “Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN.” Explicator 63.3 (2005): 181. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 6 Feb. 2012.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. The Norton Introduction to Literature. 10th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2011. 950-1023. Print.

Hewes, Henry. “ A Plant Grows in Chicago,” in Saturday Review, Vol. XLII, No. 14, April 4, 1959, p. 28.

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