Analysis of A Raisin in The Sun: Struggling but Never Giving Up
In class we have read Lorraine Hansberry’s play “Raisin in the Sun” and watched Daniel Petrie’s film adaptation from 1961. The story talks about a poor African American family and their struggles to live the “American dream”. I will be comparing and contrasting both stories on how they differ from the movie and the play.
The story starts in the slums of the south side of Chicago where a poor African American family live and the struggle to overcome poverty. Their “escape” to a better life comes when mama receives a $10, 000 check for her husband’s death. Each one of them had their mind set on the money and what they were going to do with it. The oldest son, Walter had a dream to one day open his very own liquor store. But, unfortunately instead of him taking the check to the bank like mama told him he gave it to his friend who was going to help him open the liquor store but instead the man took off with the money, leaving the family devastated and with a feeling of being stuck forever. In the play and the story we see many differences; one I saw was the setting. In the play, we see that the entire story takes place in the Youngers living room while in the film we see many sets such as Walters and Ruth’s bedroom, Beneathas and Mamas bedroom, the bar, Walter at work, and the new house.
All these different sets help make the play realistic to the reader, as for the play the living room was described as old, small and in poor condition but, in the movie I did not see the poor condition of the home as how I imagined it in my head, it was quite nice and had a very warm and home feeling to it. Secondly, we know from the play that Walter likes to visit a bar called “Green Hat”, while in the film its called “Kitty Cat”. Even though this is not a big deal I think it is funny how they changed the bars name, maybe kitty cat sounded more appealing to them. In the play Mama and beneathas start to have discussion. Beneatha succinctly denounces God as only an idea that she does not believe in. Mama slaps her and makes her repeat, ‘In my mother’s house there is still God. . . ‘ (p) in the play it just says that mama slaps her but, in the movie it was very different because mama slowly gets up and walks up to beneathas and a long pause to emphasis that something is going to happen and then she slaps her *smack!* I really like that the movie made this part more interesting and intense instead of how the play portrayed it, it give it a realistic feeling. Another main difference we see it the dialogue, the dialogue is much rephrased and not said as how the play wrote it. It’s a bit confusing because sometimes you think they are going to say what they said in the play but never do.
There was also many differences and similarities in the personality of the character for an example, in the movie Walter was not as how I thought he would be, he was very cold and mean towards Ruth his wife when he finds out that she was pregnant or when he shouts to momma about him wanting to open the liquor store. When reading you can’t see the frustration in Walter but on screen you can see his anger and irritation towards his family. As for Mama in the play she is described as old, mean, religious and someone with a very hard past, but in the movie she not as mean or old as I thought she would be, although she does seem frustrated with her kids Walter and Beneathas, you can tell she’s a very nice hard working woman. Next is Beneathas, Beneathas dream is to become a doctor, in the play she seems very child-like and a know it all. She was very annoying to me in the story but when it came to the movie you can see her love for Asagai and love for school. I can relate to her about being young and in love. Her dreams to become a doctor are very close to mine, and the hunger to want to be someone in this world just takes it home for me. She was my favorite character.
One of the similarities the movie and the play shared was the importance of family. For example when Mr. Linder tries to offer the family money in order for them not to move in their all white neighborhood. When Mama told the family they were moving to Clybourne Park they stood with amazement. “Mama, there ain’t no colored people in Clybourne Park” (p. 734). The family heard of other colored families’ houses being set on fire in this neighborhood. However, we can see how despite all the obstacles the family all worked together and refused his offer. This shows the strength of the family standing up to discrimination.
In conclusion, despite the families struggles to over come poverty we can still see the families strength to never give up and always keep chasing their dream, life will always have obstacles and walls that may hold you back but the strongest are the ones who climb over the wall and still try to get things done. Yes, its not easy but in reality nothing is, one has to work hard for what they are passionate about. Mama always had a dream to own her beautiful home out of the ghetto and with her hard work is was able to achieve it! This to me means a lot because she comes from a history of slaves and even through all that and her age she’s still going out there making her dreams a reality. One thing the family does have is the want to become better and being able to provide a better life for their families. They are just humble people trying to make it in this big cold world like many of us. I would really recommend this play and movie because its very inspirational and it gives us a glimpse of others struggle, not just us and how with family everything and anything is possible.
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