Social Conflict and Rebellion in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun

     Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun, relates the story of a working-class African-American family with dreams. They are willing to rebel against the position that society has forced on them because of their race and class in order to fulfill their dreams. Walter Younger is a chauffeur who “can find no peace with that part of society which seems to permit him and no entry into that which has willfully excluded him” (Willie Loman 23). He wants to rise into wealth and live as his employer, Mr. Arnold, does. Walter feels as if he is going crazy at times. He tells Mama, “sometimes it’s like I can see the future stretched out in front of me-just plain as day…. Hanging over there at the edge of my days. Just waiting for me- a big looming blank space-full of nothing…. But it don’t have to be” (73-4). James Draper explains Walter’s inability to act out in his work ” Black Literature Criticisms,” saying:

The American ghetto hero may give up and contemplate his misery in rose-colored bars to the melodies of hypnotic saxophones, but revolution seems alien to him in his circumstances (America), and it is easier to dream of personal wealth than of a communal state wherein universal dignity is supposed to be corollary. Yet his position in time and space does allow for one other alternative: he may take his place on any one of a number of frontiers of challenge. Challenges (such as helping to break down restricted neighborhoods) which are admittedly limited because they most certainly do not threaten the basic social order. (Draper 214)

Walter’s sister, Beneatha, who is studying at a local university to be a doctor, fights many of her own social battles. At college, she finds “a place, as her family cannot, among othe…

… middle of paper …

…oday by minority families.


Works Cited and Consulted:

Domina, Lynn. Understanding A Raisin In The Sun.  Conneticut.   Greenwood Press, 1998.

Draper, James P. Black Literature Criticisms. Detroit: Gale Research Incorporated, 1992.

Hansberry, Lorraine.  A Raisin in the Sun.  New York:  Signet, 1988.

Hansberry, Lorraine. “An Author’s Reflections: . Willie Loman, Walter Younger, And He Who Must Live” The Village Voice – Aug 12, 1959. Web 23 May 2015,6415280&hl=en

Rose, Philip. “YOU CAN’T DO THAT ON BROADWAY: ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ and Other Theatrical Improbabilities” Limelight Editions; 1st edition. 2004

Wilkerson, Margaret B. “The Sighted Eyes and Feeling Heart of Lorraine Hansberry.” Black American Literature Forum 17.1 (1983): 8-13.

Leave a Comment