“A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry Literature Analysis Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

The Concept of the Book

The book, A Raisin in the Sun, clearly Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece, presents a 1950s life of a family- the Youngers; the family is caught up with individualism as they make decisions regarding money acquired from insurance. Between racial constrictions, the family struggles with identity of the American dream as it casts back a view on Africa. The progression of the story has a family collapsing to individual conflicting decisions. But amidst of the differences in interest, the family believes and depends on ‘togetherness’ as the key to its success.

Masculinist Stereotypes, Distortions and Missions in Male Dominated Literature as Displayed in the Book

Lorraine Hansberry wrote the play at a period when feminism was obviously a contending issue in human society, particularly in the Western World- during the 1960s. As such, as an effort to ‘carry women along’, three (3) of the characters in the play; Ruth, Mama and Benetha, who are all ladies, were significantly engaged in family decision making. By extension, these ladies supported the family greatly contrary to the role played by Walter.

The story consciously confines the characters within a local home, and equally restricts the characters’ social performances – thus, in a way gives all characters the same degree of freedom in decision making. This, as an illustration, sees a certain Beneatha become rather determined to be a physician; against all monetary challenges the family faced.

It is clear from all indications that Mama has a leading voice in the family, despite the conflicts of the family to resolving to unified decisions. The statement

“there is still a god in my mothers house” (Hansberry 19) directed at Benetha by Mama is no doubt a leading voice. In the same way, in Act I scene i, where Beneatha argued about the lack of support to the family by God, Mama was proactive in cautioning that no such words or assertions be made in her own home (Hansberry 13).

The adaptation of symbolism in the play equally has helped immensely in curbing masculinist stereotypes and distortions. The fundamentally used symbols included Walter’s liquor-store, Mama’s plant, as well as Ruth’s expectant child. At the end, Mama’s plant overshadows the other imagery used in the story.

From an analytical point of view, A Raisin in the Sun may be seen as having identified in clear contexts masculine discriminations- particularly as regarding decision making in a male dominated family setting. The play particularly resolves the fact that decision making is not necessarily a gender based matter. As such, any member of the family or society who has an active and significant voice (or point of view) is always welcome to contribute.

The play also identify that fact that with a deterministic frame of mind, the female gender has a lot of potential to drive the decision making process, both at the family and society levels to the most acceptable level.


Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is a sparkling story that presents characters that are very determined to realizing specified set dreams- against the common interest of the family. This setting makes it possible for the family members to out-speak their minds in an effort to actualize personal dreams. Indirectly, the story stipulates that individuals have high potentials to realizing personal dreams irrespective of gender.

Works cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1959. Print.

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