Shattered Dreams, analysis of "A Raisen in the Sun" by Lorraine Hansberry

Essay by TheGoddess06College, Undergraduate February 2004

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Shattered Dreams

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is a play about many things--growing up, family ties, and pride. However, the most important themes of all are the hardships of a black family living in poverty and the dreams of one particular black man. The story takes place in an old two bedroom apartment in the south side of Chicago where a family of five lives. The head of the household has just recently passed away and the family, or rather Mama, is expecting a ten thousand dollar insurance check which everyone has an idea of what to do with. But the most outspoken person of all is Mama's oldest child, Walter.

Walter Lee Younger is frustrated with his current position in life and every disappointment he has encountered thus far. He is symbolic of every black male struggling to provide for his family in a world full of oppression and racism.

Although Walter has a job, it seems inadequate for his survival and that of his family's "[he] opens and closes doors all day long. [He] drives a man around in his limousine and [he says] 'yes, sir; no, sir; very good, sir; shall I take the Drive, sir?'...that [is] no kind of job...that [isn't anything] at all (1010)." As a result he has become aggravated with his life and lacks good judgment. His dissatisfaction stems from not being able to provide a decent income for his family. Walter wants the best for his family and thinks the liquor store will provide him the financial security needed to move them out of poverty.

Walter is a stubborn man like his father and has dreams neither his mother nor any body else can understand "[he is] a giant surrounded by ants! Ants who can't even understand what the...