Free «The American Dream as Presented in the "Raisin in the Sun"» Essay Sample
The play Raisin in the Sun is a drama that was composed by Hansberry. It is a true communication tool to the people who live in America. Hansberry expressed her wit in writing by emphasizing the need for equality. She viewed the nation as a favorable ground for all people from different origin where they could enjoy their lives. Moreover, she believed that everyone in the United States has the chance to achieve success and prosperity, namely the American dream. She was a black woman who did not let the color of her skin to hinder her mission. She had the dream which motivated her to achieve the set goals. Hansberry believed in equality of chances, treatment and a world without discrimination. The play was composed in 1959, at a time when the union between white and black Americans was necessary. If African American people required to be accepted and to feel at “home”, Hansberry could completely satisfy their demands. This paper seeks to show that Hansberry’s work is a true representation of the American dream and is developed around a tragic story of a family that shows the audience the meaning of freedom that would become the American dream.
The idea of American dream suggested that all natives or anyone living in the United States shall be treated equally and with the same dignity. It was the dream of every person, mostly black, such as Hansberry, that one day they shall be treated equally and have similar jobs opportunities. The American dream, if achieved, would ensure that interracial discrimination is totally eliminated (Amador 72). There exists a close relationship between the American dream and the title of Hansberry’s play Raisin in the Sun. One needs to study their interrelated natures. In order to clearly and exhaustively understand the deep meaning of the drama, the audience ought to investigate what had attracted the writer to write the play, which attracted mostly black population of American at that time. It is important to investigate the relationship between her dead grapes, raisin, and the awaited dream. A probable assertion is that the play criticized the dream. Most importantly, one ought to follow the attitudes of the characters to understand correctly the message sent by the author of the play.
The play Raisin in the Sun escalates the whole situation. Concerning the actors, Walter plays the major role and brings the validity of the dream into context suggesting the formidability of achieving the dream. From the literal perspective, raisins are dried grapes which can be compared or symbolically represent the dream or ambition of the people to liberate themselves. Hansberry wanted people to relate the play with that time when their mindsets and perceptions were directed towards achieving the dream. It can be deduced that the title of the play is greatly connected with the meaning of the American dream. She could have used it to criticize the efficacy of the change aimed at ensuring equalization and justice. It is a clear fact that her life, as a black American woman, had been challenged by numerous predicaments which happened behind the rules of justice. She discussed discrimination between white and black people in America. It is a surprising fact that the author put much effort and required time to create her work before its debut.
The play is one of the most famous works created by black people in America. One needs to understand the racial restriction in attempts to know whether it encouraged her to communicate through the play. Following her life story, Hansberry’s mother was subjected to hard labor and inconsiderable terms of working. She was obliged to stay outside in order to protect the other people well-armed with short gun. The life history of Hansberry extensively proposes the reasons for her to define the idea of the play. The play commences by a clear indication that the family was poor. They could not afford expensive house but rather lived in a dilapidated building. The little fortune left by Walter’s father is expected to upraise their financial status. Walter, as any other young man, wishes to start his own business of alcohol selling and to be an independent man. Her sister, Beneatha, thirsts for education. Her mother (mama) uses a portion of the heir to own a house. She prefers to buy a building in neighborhood of white people, where the houses are cheaper, which is a clear indication of inequality between the two races. Moreover, the house representative is not contented with the idea. He is the epitome of the racial discrimination.
Similarly to the American dream, which faces challenges, the denial to settle in the dream land clearly indicated the inequality and unfairness regarding resource usage (Amador 76). The impact of education and aping of white mode of living is well demonstrated by Murchison, who is Beneatha’s boyfriend. He mocks Walters because he lacks education and money. He represents the African people who are lucky to achieve what many persons do not possess. It worth noting, that he is different from his girlfriend. She realizes the great efforts of her mother to provide the same level of life to her family as that of other people in her neighborhood. Walter blames his sister’s boyfriend for following the way of life of white people, which demonstrates the extent of discrepancies between two races. Walter’s role in the play is very important since he is proclaiming the idea of the American dream. He describes the dream as unachievable. In the whole scenario, Walter is never satisfied with his friends Joseph and George and that they were absorbed by the white people’s culture (Hansberry 489). He believes that they have to free themselves from the “borrowed” culture in order their financial status corresponds to that of their counterparts. He believes that America is unfavorable for the black people. He tries to demonstrate his strong denial to accept the buyout offer of the house. Walter is an icon of a strong cultured man who needs to be recognized in the society in which he lives. He believes that freedom implies that black people may walk, work and settle everywhere, which would provide them with a chance to thrive.
Mrs. Johnson also plays an important role to display the characters of the white. She is regarded as a noisy and nagging person. She does not believe that it is pleasant to mingle with the black people. She mocks others. At the end of the play, the whole family moves to the new house not knowing how well they would coexist with their “new” neighbors. The family is a struggling group that tries to make ends meet, but consists of hardworking and enlightened individuals. These examples demonstrate that there is a close relation between the themes of the play and the whole idea of the American dream. The play expresses the difficulties and all the predicaments faced while realizing the dream. It is also considered that the play originates from the poem “Harlem” which discusses the deferred dream. Walter expresses his distrust in achievement of the dream. He considers that the African-American people are weak to stand for their rights. He does not see any hope in people such as George and Joseph who try to copy the way of life of the white people. Walter states that “these people charge by hour!” in order to tell the reader that they discuss different people who treat them unfairly. It shows the alienation that existed between the white and black individuals (Hansberry 491).
It was difficult to merge the two races, which was a main hindrance for achieving the American dream (Amador 78). Walter serves the best icon for the interracial adhesiveness. He says “first thing a man ought to learn in life is not make love to a colored woman first thing in the morning”. These words manifest the big gap that existed between the black and white population. On the other hand, he depicts their women as useless and weak. He says, “we one group of men tied to a race of women with small minds” (Hansberry 492)! It is a clear fact that Walter never believed in his own race despite his hate and scorn to the colored women. Walter always argues with everybody as well as with his mother and even his wife. He mumbles and complains of the problems he faces and wishes to have time for him alone. He could not believe that his sister managed to become a doctor and, more surprisingly, that she would practice her profession in Africa.
Furthermore, Walter represents many young men who were believed to raise hope among people living in America. He was believed to unite two races. Unfortunately, he has a negative attitude towards the white population. People like Walter were the hindrance of achievement of the American dream. However, the dream is still a wish of even the old people. Mama, Walter’s mother, has hope for better future. She is a caring woman who wishes to eliminate the gap that existed between the white and black Americans. She tells to Beneatha “You must not dislike people because they well off, honey” (Hansberry 494). She shows the urge and the need to marry the two people of different races. She does not like the attitude her children have towards other families and mostly the white ones. She is a zealous woman who wishes her children to follow her religion.
On the other hand, there is Beneatha, Walter’s sister, who is also a victim like her brother. She hates Mrs. Johnson, who occasionally visits their house. She says” if there two things we, as people, have got to overcome, is Klux, Klux Klan and the other is Mrs. Johnson” (Hansberry 496). Her mother is hurt by these words insisting that the words were rude. The phrases of the young lady are a clear indication that it might be difficult to marry the two people. She stands to represent many other young people having the same mindset. Such people were the predicaments of the American dream.
It is an undeniable fact, that the dream has been deferred as it is shown in the play. The people in the United States should fight for togetherness and equality, which would foster growth and development of all the natives. Unfortunately, it is not easy to achieve the goal. The play demonstrated the clear mindset of people at that time. Reviewing the various characters, it can be deduced that more changes were required to achieve the dream. The play perfectly describes the cost and importance of the change. It is relevant to the American dream. The author had done best choice of the characters to represent those that required the change yet they were never ready to accept it by themselves. The play reveals the well known dream and demonstrates the predicaments that prevented its achievement. The author, being one of the major group at the time, might have decided to use the play in order to express her opinion about the change in America as well as enlighten people and the costs of the change in a nation.