A Raisin in the Sun
The Changes in a Raisin in The Sun, My Big Fat Greek Wedding And American Born Chinese
The most important decision about your goals is not what you are willing to do to achieve them, but what you are willing to give up¨, Dave Ramsey tells readers. A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry was a play created to tell the story of a poor African American family that live in the southside of Chicago during the 1950’s.They received $10,000 from insurance and Mama takes the money and buys a house in a white neighborhood. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a graphic novel about Jin Wang who moves from San Francisco and is being stereotyped by all the kids in his class just because he’s Asian. My Big Fat Greek Wedding by Nia Vardalos is a movie about a 30 year old Greek women who falls in love with a non-greek man but he goes out of his way to please her family and change his beliefs just so he could be with her. The most common theme between all three stories is that everyone changes in a way at the end and they all have to give something up in order to grow. All the characters in the three stories had to go threw the hardships of life just to get what they wanted.
A Raisin in the Sun
In A Raisin in the Sun, Mama gave up the $10,000 that she got just for her family. She wanted them to live a better life and so she moved them into a house that was spacious and were Travis didn’t have to sleep on the couch and were they didn’t have to take turns for the shower with other people outside their family. Her kids wanted to do other things with the money but she knew it would be best if she used the money towards a house instead of purchasing a liquor store and medical school.
My Big Fat Greek Wedding
In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toula, changes herself. She goes to college and works at the agency instead of just working for her parents at their restaurant, she wanted more for herself in life. Ian, Toulas boyfriend also changes throughout the movie. He changes his religion and beliefs just so he could be with the women he loves. He didnt care what he had to do, he just wanted her. Gus changes as well throughout the movie. In the beginning he was not accepting of Ian and didn’t want his daughter to marry or even date a non-greek, but as he sees what Ian would do for her he has a change of heart and accepts the fact that Toula love´s Ian and that they are getting married.
American Born Chinese
Lastly, in the novel American Born Chinese JIn Wang changes from being seen as a stereotypical Chinese kid to being an american little boy. Chasing your dreams was another common theme between the three stories. Who knows if Toula would have ever meet Ian if she never went to college and quit working at the restaurant. Her family never thought she was going to get married, but because she saw how others were living their life and were already married and had kids she wanted that for herself. And she got that with the support of her mom and aunts. Walter had the dream of buying his own liquor store so he could provide a better life for his family. Beneatha wanted to go to medical school and needed the $10,000 to do so but Mama knew using the money towards a house would have been more beneficial. In ABC Jin Wang´s dream was too fit in and be like a regular boy.
Everyone goes through hard times in life. That’s just the way it is, but people can always learn from the difficult times and their mistakes. People have to work hard for what they want in life and if that means coming across bumps in road they can hopefully make it worthier and learn. You have to work hard to accomplish your goals and that may cause you to make bad decisions but it will be worth it in the end.
From The Fire Next Time to Between The World And Me
The Fire Next Time
Fire Next Time is made out of two articles, ‘My Dungeon Shook: Letter to My Nephew on the One-Hundredth Anniversary of the Emancipation’ and ‘Down at the Cross: Letter from a Region in My Mind.’ These articles inspect issues of racial imbalance in America, religion, and the impediments of intolerant reasoning. The two of them address the up and coming age of dark individuals and instruct white individuals about the experience of being a dark man in America during the 1960s. Baldwin reasons that brutality and racial rebellion are not substantial answers for accomplishing power. Baldwin accepts that dark individuals may have the option to accomplish enduring force in America on the off chance that they cherish and acknowledge white individuals
A Raisin in the Sun
The Value and Purpose of Dreams: A Raisin in the Sun is basically about dreams, as the fundamental character’s battle to manage the severe conditions that standard their lives. He ponders whether those fantasies wither up ‘like a raisin in the sun.’ The Need to Fight Racial Discrimination: The character of Mr. Lindner makes the topic of racial separation noticeable in the plot as an issue that the Youngers can’t maintain a strategic distance from. The overseeing body of the Youngers’ new neighborhood, the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, sends Mr. Lindner to influence them not to move into the all-white Clybourne Park neighborhood. The Importance of Family: The Youngers battle socially and financially all through the play, however, join at last to understand their fantasy about purchasing a house. Mother emphatically trusts in the significance of family, and she attempts to instruct this incentive to her family as she battles to keep them together and working.</p>
Literary Genre and Literature as an Expression of Culture: History specialists today differ in the year wherein the Civil Rights Movement authoritatively finished. Some refer to the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. The character of Mr. Lindner makes the subject of racial segregation conspicuous in the plot as an issue that the Youngers can’t keep away from. The administering body of the Youngers’ new neighborhood, the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, sends Mr. Lindner to induce them not to move into the all-white Clybourne Park neighborhood.
Between the World and Me
Bigotry in America: The most evident subject of the work is the racial separation that exists in America. Reaching out from early American history when blacks were subjugated to the present day in which dark bodies are under steady reconnaissance and danger, white society has reliably prevented the humankind from claiming blacks to keep up its fake ‘Dream.’ The Dream: The Dream probably won’t sound that terrible superficially – it involves an agreeable rural home, roomy yards, and garages, BBQs and pool gatherings, pie and strawberry shortcake. Notwithstanding, it is significantly more treacherous than it sounds. It was made by students of history and invigorated by Hollywood, Coates composes. The Black Body: One of the most striking segments of the content is that the dark body is always under risk. Bigotry, Coates composes, is an instinctive encounter. All through American history, dark people were shackled, beaten, tormented, lynched, assaulted, and showered with high-control firehoses.
Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ acclaimed letter to his high school child, Samori, about being a dark individual in America. It traverses the individual, for example, experiencing childhood in Baltimore and his development of a scholarly and political awareness at Howard University during the 1990s, and the authentic, as found in his dialog of the manners by which the dark body has consistently been conscious of pulverization. Written in a striking, prompt, and now and again enthusiastic and furious voice, Coates spots contemporary occasions like the killings of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin in this bigger story of dark battle.
A Raisin in The Sun By Lorraine Hansberry: The Wish For Material Wealth Against The Wish For Freedom
For several of Hansberry’s characters, money is a promise of salvation, a gift to be stored up and fought for whenever possible. But as the story unfolds the younger family must repeatedly weigh their wish for material wealth against their wish for freedom. Beneatha, Walter, and the others ultimately choose abstract ideals, education, dignity, love– over easy alternatives that hold out the promise of more money. By dramatizing the crisis they face before they arrive at these decisions. Hansberry shows that wealth is not always as desirable as it seems, and she reminds us of the sacrifices people make for their freedom.
Throughout the play, members of the younger family act as if the money is too precious to be parted with. In the opening scene, Travis asks his mother for fifty cents, and seemingly paltry sum is too much for the impoverished Ruth Younger to give away. Although Beneatha doesn’t love George Murchison, her family tells her to continue dating him and taking pride in the match, because George comes from a wealthy family. A financial offer from the Clybourne Welcoming Committee briefly seduces Walter: the money would give him an opportunity to start his own business and become rich. Ruth considers an abortion because her unborn child would drain the Youngers of the little money they currently have. Walter pleads with his mother to donate her ten thousand dollars to his liquor-store scheme, arguing that the Youngers would benefit from the liquor sales. Almost every character shows an occasional lust for money.
However, each time the Youngers are presented with an opportunity to gain or save their money, they must relinquish something else that is valuable. If mama doesn’t give Travis the fifty cents he asks for, she denies him the chance to participate in a classroom activity, furthering his education and bolstering his pride. By settling for the wealthy George, Beneatha would sacrifice her intellectual passion and spend the rest of her life with a man who casually admits to disliking books. Accepting the offer from the Clybourne Welcoming Committee would mean capitulating to a racist demand: the whites have offered the money to the Youngers because the whites do not want to live in an interracial community. As mama argues, Ruth’s money-saving abortion would represent a moral defeat for the Youngers, an acknowledgement that the family does not have the love and energy to support a new person. Money that assists Walter in his liquor store plans could instead be invested in Beneatha’s education or a house for Travis—less lucrative ideals that mama nonetheless clearly prefers to Walter’s dream. Nowhere in A Raisin in the Sun does a character guiltlessly accept or hold onto his or her money.
Again and again, the rejection of wealth is a cause for celebration among Hansberry’s characters. Ruth laughed when Walter gives his fifty cents to Travis: the couple acknowledges that the act of generosity is the right decision. Mama does not argue with Beneatha when she announces her rejection of George, and Beneatha comments on this rare instance of maternal understanding. The climax of the play occurs when Walter rejects the offer from the Welcoming Committee: both mama and Ruth declare their pride in this deeply flawed man. Ruth chooses not to have an abortion, to mama’s great relief. The investment in a house for Travis delights each of the Youngers except Walter, and even Walter eventually recognizes the dignity and wisdom behind this hard decision. Each time a character turns down an essay financial offer, the other characters applaud his farsightedness and strength.
It’s surprising that money turns out to be a villain in the Younger family’s story. Like Ruth and Walter, we initially think that any offer of cash is a blessing for the Youngers because it represents a chance to abandon their dingy apartment and begin a new life. But Hansberry shows that no pride is high enough for freedom. The Black characters she describes must defend their right to an education, a loving home, and a sense of self-worth—even when the white community wants to pay them to abandon these ideals. Throughout the play Hansberry conveys a sense of anger and disgust. No family should have to make choices but yay confront the Youngers as their dreams are repeatedly deferred.
Analysis Of “A Raisin in The Sun”, “The Glass Menagerie”, “Trifles”
A Raisin in the Sun
Of the major characters in A Raisin in the Sun (Beneatha, Walter Lee, Mama, Ruth), choose one which you would consider to be a protagonist and which to be an antagonist and explain why.
Given the variety of interactions exhibited within the play, there are a few different ways this answer could go. One could name Ruth the protagonist and Mama the antagonist if considering the situation surrounding Ruth’s unexpected pregnancy and the implied route of abortion she had begun to take. Mama, in her deeply religious ways, was adamantly against the idea and berated Ruth for even thinking of terminating the pregnancy, despite the financial situation of the family and the low point Walter Lee and Ruth’s relationship had hit.
It could be said that Beneatha was a protagonist and Walter Lee was an antagonist when it came to Beneatha’s education. She believed that her schooling was her ticket to a better life and worked hard to achieve her goal of becoming a doctor. Walter Lee, on more than one occasion, belittled her quest and remained rooted in his idea that his sister should follow the same path that his mother and wife had taken. The clash in values could almost be seen as generational, though the years between Beneatha and her brother were far less than that of a typical generation gap. His negative view of her education could also be taken as a flare of jealousy, as she was on her way to making something more of herself than Walter Lee had been able to thus far.
The main quarrel in the story, though, presented itself with Walter Lee as the protagonist and Mama as the antagonist. The coveted check had been long due for the family, long enough that every member had come up with their own way of spending it. But no one had become as dead set on a plan as Walter Lee. His plot to use the $10,000 check to invest in a neighborhood liquor store was met with fervent opposition, the most important foe to the plan being Mama. It is constantly said that “Mama knows best”, and perhaps Walter Lee should have heeded that warning since he ended up taking a good chunk of the money and handing it off to a ne’er-do-well, never to be seen again. Thankfully, Mama had kept a decent amount, and used it to see the family off into a new start in a new home.
The Glass Menagerie
Of the main characters (Tom, Laura, or Amanda), which face life most unrealistically? Does this contribute to the themes of illusion versus reality featured in the play?
While a stunning case can be made for Laura, in this instance, the curious case of Amanda Wingfield is the clear winner. Having grown up as a sort of southern debutante, the reality she is met with during the timeframe of the play is a far cry from what she was raised within. Somewhere along the line, the tables turned, and Amanda’s only line of defense was to allow herself to steep in a world of fantasy. She didn’t want to face the fact that her son was not the prodigal businessman he attempted to portray himself as, nor did she wish to deal with her daughter’s disability, or Laura essentially following a similar path of make-believe as a coping mechanism.
Amanda’s consistent war with reality runs right alongside the theme of illusion versus reality. Her way of life has basically set the stage for the way her children have handled and continue to handle the inevitable life events that arise. The mere fact that she all but refuses to admit that her daughter is actually disabled, though subtly adheres to the limits Laura has otherwise, is proof in point of her world of delusion. She is present and aware, but in a constant state of denial. Laura’s state is completely mowed over by her mother’s inability to handle the reality of it, a steady stream of “gentlemen callers” always somewhere out there for her daughter despite the truth of near isolation.
Each of the Wingfields lives in their own personal reality; Laura and the world of glass, Tom and his budding business ventures, Amanda and her life as a southern belle. But given the fact that her children were seemingly raised to exist this way, I dubbed Amanda’s perception of life as the most unrealistic. Somewhere along the line, her reality shifted so drastically that her main form of coping was to basically forget the change ever happened.
How might the circumstances of the character Minnie Wright compare to Mrs. Mallard from The Story of an Hour or the narrator from The Yellow Wallpaper?
Much like the aforementioned women in the other stores, Minnie Wright (formerly Foster) lived a life caught up in the trappings of her husband. Like the narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper, Minnie is doomed to live in a cage of a house, no outside company to allow any sort of escape from her implied oppression. Her captor is her husband, a quiet and solemn man named John whom, after some detective work and female intuition, is shown to have been a bit of a brute (showcased by the grisly death of the canary) and a dimmer of light. Mrs. Hale is someone who can attest to the shift in Minnie Wright. A bright, cheery, young woman turned near recluse thanks to what is proven to be a form of imprisonment, much like in The Yellow Wallpaper.
I find the main similarity between Mrs. Mallard and Minnie to be the hidden aspect of their misery. Mrs. Mallard’s oppression was thinly veiled by a husband who simply seemed to always know best, and Minnie Wright’s agony was the by-product of a seeming lack of proximity to the rest of the world. In The Story of an Hour we read about Mrs. Mallard’s sister shielding her from the truth concerning her not-dead husband, implying that her sibling knew enough about the suffering Mrs. Mallard dealt with to know what her reaction might be. The same apologetic tone is taken with both Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, the women coming to the realization, together, that Minnie may well have committed the crime she was accused of, but with valid reason.
All three women were found to be dealing with the throes of feminine oppression that ran rampant within the eras these stories were written. Each of them was shown reaching a life-changing breaking point; Mrs. Mallard simply dropped dead at the mere sight of her very much alive husband, the narrator of The Yellow Wallpaper succumbed to what came across as a psychotic break due to her captivity, and Minnie Wright was implied to have murdered her dispiriting husband.
The American Dream in “A Raisin in The Sun” By Lorraine Hansberry
A Raisin In The Sun is a book based around what each individual sees as the better life. Every human has a different idea of what they think is the better life. The book focuses on completing your dream no matter the struggle. Mama wants to take care of her family (even though Walter should be doing that) with her husband. Every morning mama waters her plants and tells everyone that even though it doesn’t get enough sunlight it’s still breathing. This sentence is talking about how mama never gave up on her dreams even though it seemed unlikely.
Then mama didn’t want her family to split up used some of the money to buy a house so they can live together in an all-white neighborhood. Mama is the king of the house and always makes sure that her family are taken care of and that each one is a good person. She wants them to have more respect for themselves and to succeed. Ruth or Walter’s wife wants the same dream as mama. She wants a big happy family that can live together in a big house, and Ruth got so happy when she found out mama bought a house.
Beneatha’s dream is to become a doctor and prove that your race doesn’t matter and that should always strive for your dreams. She grew up in a society where women stay at home and tedious work instead of actual jobs. And money was also a big part in holding her back since before the check she was most likely not be able to go to med school. She is different to where she is not like other girls her age because it’s usual to be a sit inside wife and tend to the house. Beneatha and her brother Walter didn’t agree on what a better life actually was. Beneatha thinks Walter’s idea is a waste of money, and she thinks Walter doesn’t have the drive or skills to be successful and is happy mama said no to the liquor store.
Walter’s character is someone who can change their attitude instantly throughout the book (to be honest Walter sounds bipolar) because of his idea of a better life. Walter isn’t a bad person it’s just his idea of a better life has made him act differently because he was given the chance to have more money. He wants so badly to be the only provider and the one who takes care for the house. Walter is also embarrassed about his job as a chauffeur driver. He thinks he is loved by how much he makes and how successful he is. Because of this he goes through with his plan even though Mama, and Beneatha said no and loses all his money to Willy who ran off with the money, and even bobo his other partner said he put his savings into it.
After a good talking to he realized how important family and what is more important in life. Besides all the problems the Youngers went through they were still able to stick together and move to the new house the dream they all should have had.
A Raisin in the Sun Book and Film Adaptation: a Comparison Piece
Lorraine Hansberry wrote the play A Raisin in the Sun in 1950 in New York; the play’s first performance was in 1959. The play touched on a very emotive topic at the time, that of racism. The play attracting a broad audience from both the white and black communities and consequently it was adapted into film twice; first in 1961 and then in 2008, starring Sean Combs. The play and movie showcases a week in the lives of the Younger family who receive $10,000 as a life insurance check. The films are adaptations of the play hence there are numerous similarities; however, there are also differences.
One similarity is that both the films and the play are set in the Younger’s house in the Southside of Chicago. However, one significant difference is that events in the play all happen in the living room while in the films there are different sets such as the bar, new house, and Walter’s work. The addition of sets gives the audience a broader understanding of the Younger family.
In both the play and the films, Walter stops working after he is not entrusted with the money to start his venture. Lena, feeling guilty, entrusts him with the remaining money. In the films, Lena takes the money to him in a bar. However, in the play, the scene takes place inside the apartment.
Another major similarity is that in both the Younger family decides to move to the new house knowing very well that their soon to be white neighbors do not welcome them. One major difference is that in the films the audience is shown the family in their new house. Even though they are unsure about their future, the added scene gives the audience a sense of hope that things will be better.
I felt the films were much more interesting than the play. The play held its own in delivering the message to the audience, but the added scenes in the films built a bit more contrast and broadened the viewer experience. The scenes in the bar and the family moving to the new house created feelings and perceptions that were not as advanced in the play. All in all, both medium highlight an important message that we should give up on our dreams as the Younger family persevered and eventually theirs were fulfilled.
Depiction of the Relationship Between a Writer and Their Work in the Play A Raisin in The Sun
Lorraine Hansberry grew up on Chicago’s South Side. She used this setting in her writing of “A Raisin in the Sun”. Lorraine Hansberry uses her life events in her writing because she had no one to talk to when she was little since all of her siblings were older. In her autobiography she says “the last born is an object toy”, from the “Young, Gifted and Black”, which basically means no one wanted anything to do with her. The theme she conveys in both her fictional writing and autobiography is love and racism. Racism is shown in her life because she had to deal with with being beat up at school and not feeling safe at home. People would throw things through their windows to try to hurt/scare them.In her writing, the Youngers have to face not being welcomed into a new “white” community.Love is definitely a major part and theme in both her writing and autobiography because of these hardships that were present in her childhood.The question appears, when is the right time to love someone.
There are a lot of connections between Lorraine Hansberry’s life and her writing. She faces hardships like when her hardworking father died. She incorporated his death into her writing. The Younger’s hardworking father died too, and he also tried to do what was best for his family. She also writes about how mama loves her kids when they need it the most, and her real mom shows them tough love and doesn’t share her feelings about love directly, but she still loves them and protects them from the harsh world in which they are living. When Lorraine Hansberry’s dad died, her mom and siblings comforted each other. This shows that they loved each other when they needed it, and not when they were at their highest point, but at their lowest point. In her writing, mama talks to Beneatha about loving people and family when they need it the most, not when they are fine.When they get treated poorly by racist people in her real life, Hansberry’s mother takes on the role as the protector, and guards her house and family from harm. In her writing, mamatakes on the the role as the head of the house and tries to protect and do what’s best for her family. Mama’s main role in the play is to show that they all need to support each other, and Lorraine Hansberry’s real mom doesn’t show a lot of love, but she shows support and affection.
The theme of both her life and writing is to know when the right time to love is. Some examples from the play are when the mama gave a speech to Beneatha about when to love someone. She told Beneatha that she should love Walter now, because he is going through a hard time in his life. Mama says, “It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in hisself’ cause the world done whipped him so!” (page 145). By this she means that when a person is in the deepest battle and doesn’t have any more to give, that is when that person needs the most support. In her autobiography, she says, “At his funeral I at last, in my memory, saw my mother hold her sons that way, and for the first time in her life my sister held me in her arms I think”. Lorraine Hansberry’s family loved each other when they were at their lowest point, just like in the play when mama says her love speech.
In the play, the Younger’s are faced with racism when Mr. Lindner comes and says, “Our association is prepared, through the collective effort of the people, to buy the house from you at a financial gain to your family” (page 118). This means that the “white community” that they are moving to doesn’t want them there and that they will do almost anything to not have them move into their neighborhood. This is when mama thinks people should love each other the most too, because they have to go through a hard time like this. In her autobiography, she says that her mother would stay up at night and guard her house from the racist people. In her autobiography she says, “And I also remember my desperate and courageous mother, patrolling our house all night with a loaded German Luger”. This is an example of loving when people need it the most too.
In the play and Lorraine Hansberry’s life, there are many connections. The theme of love and racism brings these two worlds together. In the play, mama is a very stern, passionate, and respected figure. She firmly believes in loving people in their time of need, not their time of greatness. In Lorraine Hansberry’s life, her mother is also a very passionate and respected figure. Her mother shows her love to her family when they are faced with obstacles such as racism and a family death. Lorraine Hansberry also used her dad to make connections between her writing and life. In the play, the Younger’s dad died, but they describe him as a very hardworking man that loved his family. She says in “To Be Young, Gifted and Black”, “Imagine in my mind is a man whom kings might have imitated and properly created their own flattering descriptions of.” She is saying that her father was a man that even a king would look up to. Lorraine Hansberry’s father died when they were young too, and he was also a hardworking man.
When is it the right time to love? According to Lorraine Hansberry’s writing and real life encounters, the right time to love is when they are in their darkest hour. She uses her family members in real life to create her storyline. Lorraine Hansberry also uses her writing to let her emotions out about her life, because when she was younger, she had no siblings that wanted anything to do with her. Being the youngest of the family makes it hard she says because by the time you get older, your siblings have had enough and become bored with you. Her mom and dad really help her make the connection between the real world, and her writing. With her mom showing love when needed, and her dad being hardworking, they complement the characters in the play almost exactly.
Representation of the Future Life Progression in the Novels A Raisin in the Sun and New Year
The Future is Coming
Picture the world in ten, twenty, thirty, or maybe even forty years and compare that to the present. Cultures, styles, and beliefs will change in the future. The world cannot stay the same for decades, it must move ahead; but the old beliefs are never forgotten. For example, to the family in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, they are still following their own beliefs from the past and are adding new ones as the future comes. On the other side, the family or the clan from New Year by Gail Harada are still celebrating the New Year’s holiday with their old and new traditions. While the play talks about old and new beliefs; and the poem talks about old and new traditions, both are conveying the same message that the world will move on and new ideas will come, but the past and its ideas will remain unforgotten!
In New Year by Gail Harada, “This is the old way, the whole clan gathered, the rice steaming over the charcoal…” (Lines 1-3), the quote flashed back to the old tradition of celebrating New Year’s Day. The tradition the poem shows is that their clan is gathering together to celebrate and enjoy themselves. In Asian culture, it is traditional for families and friends to gather up and celebrate. In another part of the poem, “This is the old way, setting off firecrackers to drive away evil spirits, leaving the driveways red for good fortune…” (Lines 20-22), the quote tells the reader that newer ideas are being mixed with older ones. Parts of the quote are showing old ideas, but the newer ideas are also being told. Another quote from the poem, “The new year arrives, deaf, smelling of gunpowder.” (Lines 23-24), the quote tells us that the new ideas the old generations might not understand are being more known to people in the future. The activities told here are new ideas and the author is introducing them to the readers. The clan did remind readers that the world is moving on and new beliefs are being created, but the world will never forget the past and its beliefs.
The family in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry also reminded readers that there are new ideas, but the old ones still exist. In the play, an example would be that the mother is having a difficult time understanding her son, Walter Lee Younger because they both have different goals with the money that their family had. This quote said by Walter, “Yeah You see, this little liquor store we got in mind cost seventy-five thousand…There’s a couple of hundred you got to pay sob’s you don’t spend your life just waiting for them clowns to let your license get approved.” (p. 15) proves that he wants to spend the money on investing in a liquor store. This quote said by Mama, “You mean that liquor store? We isn’t no business people…We even picked out the house” (p.24) shows the reader that Mama strongly disagrees with Walter’s idea of using the money to invest in a liquor store. Mama would rather spend that money on a new and better house for the family to live in. Walter has a new idea that Mama’s family had never thought of in the past. Mama wants her son to understand her past beliefs. Later in the play, Walter then realizes that his mother is right and he did not invest in a liquor store. This is similar to the clan in the play because the clan realized their old traditions and they decided to celebrate New Year’s Day in that style. It conveys the message that old ideas are still present because when Mama is still alive, she can show her and teach her family her old beliefs and ideas. Another quote from the play in Act III indicated by Mama, “…Isn’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay’em no money…” shows the reader that Mama’s old belief is to never take money from people. She then taught Walter that idea so that he can follow it. Walter wanted to take the money before his mother taught him her old belief and wants Walter to understand it. At the end, Mr. Lindner offered money to buy the house from Walter, he refuses to take the money because his mother taught him to never take money. Since the family did not take the offered money, they went into financial issues and had make a lot of sacrifices. The family’s new idea is to sacrifice because the older generation of the family did not have to suffer. This is similar to the poem when new and old are mixing. The new idea is to sacrifice and suffer in order to follow the old idea which is to not take payment from anyone. Finally, this quote said by Walter, “…we come from people who had a lot of pride. I mean—we are very proud people. And that’s my sister over there and she’s going to be a doctor —and we are very proud“ shows the reader that Walter’s family is united and together because they are proud people filled with pride. This is like the clan that is when they are getting together and celebrating a holiday. It is the point that the family in the play is not only together and united, but they are also following their old beliefs as well.
In the end, both families from different stories convey the idea that the new is coming, but the old is not dead. Both families are different, but they show the same concept. Both families have learned to be prepared for the future and the new beliefs. It is important to know that the past will never disappear because it creates history. History will always allow us to not only remember the past and its culture, but to also learn and embellish the past. As the world progresses to the future, new ideas will come while the old ones are creating history and the future generations can learn and treasure about the old ideas. The world will never be stuck on a specific generation and the ideas will be the same, new ideas will always be created, but it does not mean that the old ones are permanently gone.
Generational Disparity in Hansberry’s a Raisin in the Sun
The African-American experience of growing up in America changed dramatically throughout the course of the twentieth century, thus leading to differing views between the older and younger generations. In Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun, the character of Mama was raised during a point in time when racial prejudice was prevalent and blacks had virtually no opportunity to live out their dreams. On the other hand, her children, Walter and Beneatha, and her daughter-in-law, Ruth, grow up in a world where slavery exists only in history books, and although they still face financial hardship and racial discrimination, it is possible for blacks to become successful business men or even doctors. The younger generation’s concept of the American dream reflects the changing times and the new opportunities that are now available for African-Americans. As a result of this generation gap, Mama and her children view the issues of religion, career choice, and abortion from extremely different angles, leading to much tension and anger in their relationship.
By viewing the dreams of Mama in comparison to the dreams of her children, one can clearly see the generation gap that exists between them. As a result of the changing times, Mama’s dreams differ extremely from those of her children. She grew up in a time of much oppression and hardship – a time when she was unable to live out the simplest of dreams. All Mama ever wanted was a house with “a little garden in the back” (1209). After all, back then it was the most an African-American could hope for. During the 1960s however, it is much more common for an African-American to own a house, and since Walter grows up with this possibility, owning a house is not a high goal to set for himself. Instead, he sets his sights on a much more elaborate dream than his mother, in particular, being a successful businessman able to “pull [a] car up on the driveway” where his “gardener will be clipping away at the hedges” (1239-1240). Mama disapproves of Walter’s dream, for she believes that they are not “business people,” but rather “just plain working folks” (1208). She does not realize that nowadays African-Americans have more opportunities than she had growing up, and that, according to Walter, “colored people [are not] going to start getting ahead [until] they start gambling on some different kinds of things in the world, [such as] investments” (1208). Normally it would not be a problem for a grown man to make an investment that his mother does not approve of. However, Mama has the ten thousand dollars from her husband’s insurance money that Walter needs in order to start his business. Because Mama does not agree with her son’s choice to become a businessman, more specifically an owner of a liquor store, she refuses to give him the money. After Walter finds out that his mother spent the money on a down-payment for a house, thus fulfilling her own dream, he becomes enraged. When Mama wishes for Walter to tell her that he believes she did the right thing, he insults her:
What you need me to say you done right for? . . . It was your money and you did what you wanted with it. So you butchered up a dream of mine – you – who always talking ’bout your children’s dreams . . . (1233).
Thus, because of their differing views on how the money should be spent, Walter and Mama are constantly at odds with one another.
Mama’s disapproval does not stop with Walter’s decision to invest in a liquor store, but continues with Ruth’s decision to have an abortion. Mama has lived in poverty for her entire life, and it is because of this poverty that she lost her baby, “little Claude” (1209). She believes that “[they] are . . . people who give children life, not . . . destroy [it]” (1223). Ruth, however, has had the opportunity to raise a healthy son, and since she has never known any other way, she takes this for granted. Ruth does not view her unborn child as part of the family, and thus when determining what is in her family’s best interest, she fails to think of the baby. Ruth comes to the conclusion that bringing another child into their already crowded apartment would be unfair to her family. Mama, on the other hand, is grateful for being able to have the opportunity to give birth to a healthy baby, since she knows that at the time many African-American babies were dying from poverty, and just a short time before, from slavery. It is because of this that she strongly disagrees with Ruth’s decision to have an abortion. Mama does not understand how a woman who has the opportunity to give birth to a child would even think “about getting rid of [it]” (1223). When she informs Walter of Ruth’s decision, he is unable to say anything to his wife and leaves the room. Mama angrily yells after him, “If you a son of mine, tell her [not to have the abortion]! You . . . you are a disgrace to your father’s memory” (1223). By reading this quote, one can see that more tension arises in Walter and Mama’s relationship as a result of her strong stance on the issue of abortion.
Mama also disapproves with the fact that Beneatha no longer believes in God. Beneatha constantly takes for granted the life that she is living, and when good fortune comes her way, such as the opportunity to become a doctor, she believes that it is commonplace, and therefore nothing to be thankful for. Mama, on the other hand, grew up in a time when good fortune was hard to come by. Whenever she is having a rough time, she places her faith in God and prays that everything will turn out all right. For example, when Walter loses the money for his sister’s schooling, Mama asks God to “Look down here . . . and show [her] the strength” (1250). The issue of religion causes many arguments to occur between Beneatha and Mama, due to their different views. Beneatha, despite knowing that her mother is a religious woman, insists that “there simply is no blasted God – there is only man and it is he who makes miracles” (1212). Mama, deeply offended and disappointed in her daughter, is unable to control her anger. She slaps Beneatha across the face and insists she repeat the phrase “In my mother’s house there is still God” (1212). In addition to this, Beneatha often uses the Lord’s name in vain, thus further upsetting her mother. This constant conflict eventually takes its toll on their relationship, leaving them to feel bitterness and discomfort toward one another.
Throughout the course of the twentieth century, the concept of the American dream changed dramatically, as displayed in Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun. Through reading the play, one can tell that a generation gap exists between Mama and her children, for they view the world from extremely different angles. Their clashing views on the issues of religion, career choice, and abortion lead to many arguments between them, and as a result, their relationship is characterized by resentment and tension.
Hansberry, Lorraine. “A Raisin in the Sun.” Literature: Reading Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Compact ed. Ed. Robert DiYanni. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000. 1198-1260
How Family Affects Oneself in the Bean Trees and a Raisin in the Sun
What describes family is not the people who are blood related or someone who has an obligation. Family is loving someone unconditionally and mutually; family is those who greet the worst self of someone without judgement and still stick around after; family is the people who support each other through arduous times; and throughout all this, they help each other find who they really are. Family is the people who play the largest role in shaping identity. Now, that identity can take the form of a number of characteristics in relation to family. No matter how adoring a family might be, with their newfound identity, it is not always in the best interest of the individual to stay close to home. Other times, that recently developed identity may actually be found in a home. Whether it be attracting an individual to family life, like Taylor in Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees, or repulsing them, like Beneatha in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, they will always help the individual find their true identity.
Taylor Greer from Pittman County, Kentucky is an ideal example of how family life will attract an individual and they will find their identity in the home. In Barbara Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees, Taylor had always valued being independent. In the beginning of the book, she clearly did not believe she needed to rely on anybody, and set out into the world all by herself with just her car and the desire to go far away from home. Taylor takes her pride in being an individual too far and becomes angry when someone just tries to help her, such as when her roommate Lou Anne tries to help out with Turtle. Finally, something changes in Taylor after Turtle buries her dolly, “You know there’s no such thing as promises. But I’ll try as hard as I can to stay with you.” (211) In this pivotal moment, Taylor realizes the gravity of Turtle’s abandonment and that she must be the most stable force in Turtle’s life. Yet she also comes to term with the fact that some things are out of her control, like the evil in other people or death.Taylor finally registers that she should stop running away from the promise of family, because her true self is being a mother. Before, it was very clear she believed that by staying away from family, she would find herself. Taylor thought she would find her identity through solitude, only relying on herself. Rather than pushing her away, family turned out to be the element that brought her in and encouraged her to find her identity as a mother.
Family life is not suited for everyone though, especially not for Beneatha Younger. Every so often, family can repulse an individual and they will find their true selves far away from home. The character Beneatha from Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, is a prime example of this. Beneatha had trouble discovering her own identity so she tried out a number of hobbies and activities. She even went through quite a few suitors as well. Throughout all of this, the only steady thing in Bennie’s life was her family and she relied on them heavily. By sticking close to her family and not venturing out as an individual, Beneatha could not answer the questions about the world she held close to her heart. Her boyfriend, Asagai, notices that she is struggling to find herself in her situation and gives her a nickname, Alaiyo, BENEATHA You didn’t tell us what Alaiyo means… for all I know it could mean Little Idiot or something…….ASAGAI No– really it is difficult… (Thinking) It means… it means One for Whom Bread- Food- Is Not Enough. (He looks at her) Is that alright? BENEATHA (Understanding, softly) Thank you. (Hansberry 65) Finally Beneatha understands. Asagai makes her realize that the situation she’s in with her family, is not good enough for her. It is most advantageous for Beneatha to separate from her family and become an individual. She will not find her true self if she stays with her family. That is why when Asagai later asks her to move back to Africa with him and become a doctor, Beneatha really considers it. Before, Beneatha relied on her family and because of this, she was unsure about herself. Finally, she steps out and becomes an individual. By becoming a lone doctor with Asagai in Africa, Bennie gets the stepping stone to discovering herself that she never would have received if she stayed with her family.
Though Beneatha steps away from her family and Taylor creates one to find their true selves, both the Youngers and the Ruizs will always support the newfound identity of their loved one. For instance, both families at the end on The Bean Trees and A Raisin in the Sun support Taylor and Beneatha’s decision. Taylor discovers this support when Lou Ann says, “Somebody and work said, ‘Do you have a family at home?’ And I said ‘Sure,’ without thinking. I meant you all. Mainly I guess because we’ve been through hell and high water together. We know each other’s good and bad sides, stuff nobody else knows.” (Kingsolver 231) In reaction to this, Taylor becomes unable to speak for she is too emotional. After years of running away from family and avoiding becoming a mother, Taylor gives in. She realizes that she has found her truest and happiest self as a mother to Turtle in a home with Lou Ann. In addition to this, Taylor finally understands that she has gained support for this identity. In this phone call with Lou Ann, Taylor realizes that since she and Lou Ann have already been through some tough times together and supported each other then, they will definitely continue to encourage each other in the future. As for Bennie, she cannot be pushed by her family to make decisions, such as dating George Murchison just because he has a lot of money. She tries to do her own thing. Thus support goes hand in hand with understanding. Therefore, when Mama supports the decision to dump George, it means a lot to Beneatha, BENEATHA Mama, George is a fool– honest. (She rises)…. MAMA Well– I guess you better not waste your time with no fools. (BENEATHA looks at her mother, watching her put groceries in the refrigerator. Finally she gathers up her things and starts into the bedroom. At the door she stops and looks back at her mother) BENEATHA Mama– MAMA Yes baby–BENEATHA Thank you.MAMA For what?BENEATHA For understanding me this time (Hansberry 98) The reader can infer that the Youngers will let Beneatha go to Africa, if she chooses to do so, with a blessing.
After Taylor and Beneatha find themselves, their families will both do anything to help their loved one’s new identities thrive. Families like the Ruiz’ or the Youngers will always help their struggling loved ones find their true identity as they did with Taylor and Beneatha. Regardless if a life revolving family ends up being enticing, like it did for Taylor in Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees, or family life drives them away, as with Beneatha in Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. The characters can now build their lives and their home the way they want these aspects of their existences to be, because they have a strong foundation: themselves. Those closest to one’s heart will always help the individual find a true self.