A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine HansberryNever before, in the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black peoples lives been seen on the stage, observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959.
Indeed Lorraine Hansberrys award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago connected profoundly with the psyche of black America--and changed American theater forever. The plays title comes from a line in Langston Hughess poem Harlem, which warns that a dream deferred might dry up/like a raisin in the sun.
The events of every passing year add resonance to A Raisin in the Sun, said The New York Times. It is as if history is conspiring to make the play a classic. This Modern Library edition presents the fully restored, uncut version of Hansberrys landmark work with an introduction by Robert Nemiroff.
A Raisin in the Sun
Single mother and grandmother Lena Younger, her daughter Beneatha, and her son Walter plus his wife Ruth and their son Travis squeeze into a run-down two-bedroom apartment. For example, socially-progressive Beneatha Bennie studies to become a doctor, despite the financial strain it puts on the low-income family. Walter works as a chauffeur for a white man, but he dreams of opening a liquor store with his buddies and making more money for his family. His wife Ruth draws no attention to her own desires, cleaning up after the rest of the family members as well as the houses where she works. Toward the beginning of the play, we learn that Ruth is pregnant, which only complicates the family situation. The family is not affluent enough to provide for another life, so Ruth prepares to abort her child.
Black History Unsung Heroes: Claudette Colvin
The story tells of a black family's experiences in "Clybourne Park", a fictionalized version of the Washington Park Subdivision of Chicago 's Woodlawn neighborhood, as they attempt to improve their financial circumstances with an insurance payout following the death of the father. Walter has a sense of entitlement to the money, but Mama has religious objections to alcohol and Beneatha has to remind him it is Mama's call how to spend it. Eventually, Mama puts some of the money down on a new house, choosing an all-white neighborhood over a black one for the practical reason that it happens to be much cheaper. Walter passes the money on to Willy's naive sidekick Bobo, who gives it to Willy, who absconds with it, depriving Walter and Beneatha of their dreams, though not the Youngers of their new home. Meanwhile, Karl Lindner, a white representative of the neighborhood they plan to move to, makes a generous offer to buy them out.
A Raisin in the Sun , drama in three acts by Lorraine Hansberry , first published and produced in After one of his partners absconds with the money, Walter despondently contacts Karl Lindner, a representative of the white neighbourhood who had earlier tried to buy out the Youngers so as to avoid racial integration. Walter asks Lindner back, intending to accept his offer. However, Walter finally rejects the proposal. A Raisin in the Sun.
Lena's children, Walter and Beneatha, each have their plans for the money. The oldest son, Walter a man of 35 with a wife and a young son , wishes to invest in a liquor store. The younger sister, Beneatha, currently a college student, wants to use the money for medical school. Lena has plans as well for the money: she wants to buy a house for the family and finance Beneatha's medical school. The environmental pressures are high: five people live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, two families share a single bathroom, and the building is run-down and roach-infested. These pressures increase when Walter's wife, Ruth, finds out that she is pregnant for the second time, and begins seriously contemplating abortion.