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A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
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A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

by Lorraine Hansberry

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Yet again another classic that I have never read or even seen. This one is pretty shameful, I've heard nothing but praise for this play and after reading it I can certainly see why. I definitely need to see it as well now. This play brings to life a young black husband and his family as they try to improve their living situation. It's honest, humanizing, and soulful; it explores the trials and tribulations of a black family in Chicago. Even though this play came out over five decades ago it's still holds true and remains relatable. The human dream of improving one's life is the American story and this play beautifully captures that. A wonderful read. ( )
  ecataldi | Sep 15, 2016 |
A play about the hope of the American Dream, race relations, and family, A Raisin in the Sun is a touching tribute to the African-American working class experience. The Youngers are faced with a difficult situation after the passing of the family patriarch and the insurance money he has left behind. Walter, Ruth, Beneatha, Mama and the other characters are well developed and incredibly memorable. You feel for their struggle but have hope for their future. Absolute classic. ( )
  trile1000 | Aug 29, 2016 |
I will start by saying that I don’t generally enjoy reading plays – I prefer to see them performed – but this play, is extraordinary. I highly recommend reading it, if a live theater performance isn’t available.

The play was first produced on Broadway in 1959. The title comes from a poem by Langston Hughes, Harlem (or A Dream Deferred). The drama concerns the lives of an African American family living in an apartment on Chicago’s Southside, sometime between WWII and the mid-1950s. The Younger family consists of Mama, her two adult children (Beneatha and Walter Lee), her daughter-in-law Ruth, and her grandson Travis. They struggle to make do in crowded conditions, Travis having to sleep on the living room sofa. As the play opens the family is anxiously awaiting a check for $10,000 – the life insurance payment following the death of their husband/father/grandfather. Each of them has dreams of what s/he will do with that money. Those competing dreams form the central conflict.

The play is a product of its time, but has some themes that still ring true today. While there are no longer covenants excluding one racial group from housing in a particular neighborhood (or at least they are no longer enforceable), there is still evidence of racial stereotyping and prejudice. The themes of conflicting dreams and finding one’s moral compass are universal. As the characters traverse the path from despair to triumph (and the many points in between), they touch my own soul, causing me to examine my own dreams – both realized and deferred. ( )
  BookConcierge | Jun 14, 2016 |
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  MrsDoglvrs | Apr 24, 2016 |
Lansbury's title "A Raisin in the Sun" alludes to Langston Hughes's poem by the same name that suggests a person's dream can shrivel like a raisin in the sun. The drama revolves around a family that struggles to deal with the oppressive circumstances in their lives. Each member of the Younger family has a dream and their happiness or depression in the play is directly related to the state of achievement of his or her dream. The dreams range from money, a college education, to a home for the family. In the end, family members agree that the home is the most desirable dream because it unifies the family. The Youngers face debilitating oppression socially, economically, and ethnically. This play is an excellent example of symbolism. Mama's plant is such a symbol as it passes through states of existence based on the situations happening in the family. Beneatha's hair is also a symbol of natural beauty and personal authenticity. Lansbury's drama provides a platform for discussing housing issues in today's society as well as issues of citizenship in the United States. W.E.B. DuBois's text "The Souls of Black Folks" is a good text for paired reading as DuBois illuminates the African-American's struggle to maintain a positive identity in American society.

Resource http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/13/text-to-text-a-raisin-in-the-sun-an...
http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/tserve/freedom/1865-1917/essays/racialuplift...
https://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/ContemporaryAmericanSociety/Chapter%2014%20--%20Racial%20inequality--Norton%20August.pdf
http://projects.statesman.com/news/economic-mobility/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGRjW-bsCIA ( )
  sgemmell | Apr 20, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Hansberry, Lorraineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Davis, OssieReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dee, RubyReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gresham, JoiForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kutsch, ArthurEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nemiroff, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
What happens to a dream deferred?/Does it dry up/ Like a raisin in the sun?/Or fester like a sore-/ And then run?/ Does it stink like rotten meat/ Or crust and sugar over-/Like a syrupy sweet?/ Maybe it just sags/ Like a heavy load/ Or does it explode?
Dedication
To Mama: In gratitude for the dream
First words
The Younger living room would be a comfortable and well-ordered room if it were not for a number of indestructible contradictions to this state of being.
Quotations
And we have decided to move into our hous- because my father -my father-he earned it for us brick by brick . . . we don't want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that's all we got to say about that. . . . We don't want your money.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679755330, Mass Market Paperback)

This groundbreaking play starred Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeill, Ruby Dee and Diana Sands in the Broadway production which opened in 1959. Set on Chicago's South Side, the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee, his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis and matriarch Lena, called Mama. When her deceased husband's insurance money comes through, Mama dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans, however: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school.

The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama. Sacrifice, trust and love among the Younger family and their heroic struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing world is a searing and timeless document of hope and inspiration. Winner of the NY Drama Critic's Award as Best Play of the Year, it has been hailed as a "pivotal play in the history of the American Black theatre." by Newsweek and "a milestone in the American Theatre." by Ebony.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:52 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

When it was first produced in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for that season and hailed as a watershed in American drama. A pioneering work by an African-American playwright, the play was a radically new representation of black life. "A play that changed American theater forever."… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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