"Raisin in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry.

Essay by ACEsuperheroHigh School, 10th grade August 2003

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Raisin in the Sun

The play, A Raisin in the Sun, explains how the poverty in which the characters live has shaped who they are. Poverty affects the Youngers' living conditions. Poverty also mold their dreams. The family's impoverishes state shapes their living arrangements and their dreams.

Living in poverty has effects on the living conditions of the Youngers. Their furnishings are covered by what is described as "acres of crocheted doilies and couch covers." Their furniture is given an old, worn-out look while "a table or chair has been moved to disguise the worn places in the carpet." As if having old décor isn't enough, the Youngers' apartment is occupied by cockroaches, which Beneatha sprays for in the beginning of Act 1, Scene2. The cockroaches are talked about as if they have and always will be in the apartment. Beneatha says, "I can't imagine that it [the pesticide] would hurt him [Travis] - it has never hurt the roaches," to which Mama responds, "Well, little boys' hides ain't as tough as Southside roaches."

Living in poverty has unconvinced the Youngers so much that they don't even have their own, private bathroom. They are forced to share a bathroom with their neighbors, the Johnsons. Because of this arrangement, the Youngers' entire morning is rushed and hectic. When Walter is slow to wake up, Ruth says to him, "Travis be finished and Mr. Johnson'll be in there and you'll be fussing and cussing round here like a madman!" Having beat-up furnishings, cockroaches and no bathroom of their own marks how poverty has affected the Younger' living conditions.

Poverty also affects the dreams of members of the Younger family. Walter's dream was shaped by his poorness and his unattractive job as a chauffeur. His dream is to...