Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun

Essay by demimunnik1901University, Bachelor's November 2014

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Demi Munnik


Assignment 2 - Eng 2603

Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun "What happens to a dream deferred?" Langston Hughes asks in his 1959 poem "Dream Deferred." He suggests that it might "dry up like a raisin in the sun" (ll. 2-3) or "stink like rotten meat" (l. 6); however, at the end of the poem, Hughes offers another alternative by asking, "Or does it explode?" (l. 11). This is the view Lorraine Hansberry supports in her 1959 play A Raisin in the Sun. The drama opens with Walter reading, "Set off another bomb yesterday" (1831), from the front page of the morning newspaper; however, he is unaware that bombs will soon detonate inside his own house. These bombs are explosions of emotion caused by frustration among members of Walter's family who are unable to realize their dreams. Although they all have a common dream of having a better life, they must compete with each other for the insurance money from the untimely death of Walter's father.

This essay aims to outline the impact of the individuals' dreams on their lives.

Lena, Walter, Ruth, and Beneatha Younger all lived under the same roof, but their dreams were all different. Being the head of the household, Lena Younger, Walter and Beneatha's mother, dreamed the dreams of her children and would do whatever it took to make those dreams come true. Lena was a widow in her early sixties who devoted her life to her children after her husband's death. Retired from working for the Holiday's family, she was waiting for her husband's insurance money to arrive. With the ten thousand dollars cheque in her hand, Lena had a dream of buying a better house for her family. This dream was shared with her husband. The apartment they...