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A raisin in the sun written by Lorraine Hansberry, became a movie in 1961. The play is set in Chicago South side during the 1950s, and the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the afro-American Younger family. Mama (Lena) dreams of moving to a decent home as she’s received her deceased husband’s insurance settlement. Her two children, Walter Lee, a chauffeur, dreams of buying a liquor store and being his own man, while her young liberated daughter Beneatha dreams of medical school.
This is a powerful drama built on sacrifice, poverty, dreams, trust, love and mama’s heroic struggle to hold the family together.
The play takes its title from a line from the classic poem by Langston Hughes that is called “A Dream Deferred”. Appropriately enough, the play focuses on the deferred dreams of the Younger family.
The relationship to white racism was addressed in many forms in this play. First, in the visit of the white representative of suburban community, Karl Lindner, from where the Youngers were planning to move. Through the film, we hear reflections from Walter Lee and his mother on their embarrassing labour for whites as servants. Thirdly there is an ongoing discussion of an African identity versus the “adopted” white-people culture that Beneatha express in her struggle with everyone.
Sexism is very evident in the film with the rants of Walter Lee Younger. He opens the play in a dialogue with his wife Ruth telling her that; “Black women are the most backward of all women in the world” because they do not support their black men. Hence, to enforce his place as the head of the family, he gives his son the money for school that Ruth Younger denies for economic reasons.
Conclusion: The play is a very intimate description of the black family. The play handles issues of sexism, poverty and white supremacy, and gave me a great black cultural insight into the struggles that came before the “Hip-Hop” generation was born.