SETTING/BACKGROUND & PLOT OF THE PLAY
The author, Lorraine Hansberry was born in Southside Chicago in 1930. She is from a middle class family and this play, “A Raisin in the Sun”, was written in 1959. She attended public schools basically in protest against social segregation. Lorraine Hansberry became the first black female author to have her work staged on Broadway. Hansberry married Robert Nemiroff, a white Jewish political activist. The play, a Raisin in the Sun is set in Southside Chicago between the Second World War and the present time.
PLOT OF THE PLAY
The play, “A Raisin in the Sun” is a revelation of the lives of African American people under subjugation. It is about unfulfilled dreams. The play talks about racism and the difficulties encountered by coloured or black people to get equal attention and service within and around white enclaves. Many blacks work through their lives and die without realizing their age-long dreams. Walter Lee Younger has a dream. He dreams of a better life for his family, especially to get him and his family out of their tiny apartment in Southside, Chicago. Meanwhile, money is expected the money is the late father’s insurance amounting to ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
The Younger is financially incapable of even giving as little as fifty cents for Travis school requirement. W&tor Lee Younger is employed to drive a white family. His wife Ruth and Mama, his mother, also do house chores outside their home to earn lithe income for the family. Walter hopes to establish a big liquor shop when the big money comes. Beneatha, his sister, hopes to become a medical doctor. The money finally comes. However, things begin to happen. Mama goes to Clybourne Park and buys a house in the white area. This generates lots of controversy and newspaper headlines. One Mr Lindner, from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, comes to negotiate Walter and his family out of the purchased property The reason is obvious; blacks or coloured people are not expected anywhere near the whites. Mr. Lindner sums up his argument thus: “I want you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn’t enter into It. It is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities”. (p.91).
Meanwhile, Beneatha is engulfed in a crisis of choice between George Murchison and Asagal, an African from Yoruba in Western Nigeria Instinct tells her that Asagal will make a better choice and Beneatha seems to be drawn to this African root. On the other hand, Walter’s investment has suddenly gone. Bobo comes to tell him that the sixty-five hundred dollars just disappeared. Walter is heartbroken as he sees his dreams shatter. Though Mama-Lena Younger tries to calm the situation, the notice from Lindner is worrisome. It takes the courage Walter to rebuff Lindner’s threat to repurchase the house for double the amount. The Youngers finally move into their new house.