The symbolism of the plant in "A Raisin in the Sun"

Essay by Merzz09College, UndergraduateB+, June 2012

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The symbolism of the plant in A Raisin in the Sun

One might ask how the scientific facts of the functional purpose of a plant would connect to a literary piece, especially the well-known play, A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry. The plant in the text symbolizes the foundation for the family, honest hope, and Mama's dreams. Symbolism is not a definition of an item, but represents something specific other than itself. Much like Mama's plant, it represents many meaningful ideas with supportive evidence throughout the text. The plant standing alone may seem like a generic addition to the setting of the Younger household, but when it is observed in a deeper analytical approach; the symbolism of it in itself holds such importance to this traditional work.

The roots of any plant have a specific role that partakes in its foundation and growth, which directly correlates to Mama's nurturing character in the text.

The roots are the center of the beginning in the growth of each plant. It's key functions stem along the lines of absorption of water and minerals; which feed the plant. They are the anchors, which keep it grounded and sturdy and above all they are the main essentials and focus for photosynthesis. Although the scientific definition creates questioning how this can relate to the work A Raisin in the Sun, it is apparent at how Mama's role has a very obvious connection to the roots of the plant. Her matriarchal role associates with these roots in such a clear manner in this literary piece. As she is the head of the household in more ways than one, her love and care for her family is uniquely similar to her care for her plant. In Hansberry's first description of Mama's character, it is...