A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun

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Overview

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."—The New York Times.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780679755333
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/29/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 828
Product dimensions: 6.94(w) x 4.22(h) x 0.44(d)

About the Author

Lorraine Hansberry, at twenty-nine, became the youngest American, the fifth woman, and the first black playwright to win the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for the Best Play of the Year. Her A Raisin in the Sun has since been published and produced in some 30 countries, while her film adaptation was nominated by the New York critics for the Best Screenplay and received a Cannes Film Festival Award. At thirty-four, during the run of her second play, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Lorraine Hansberry died of cancer. In the years since her death, her stature has continued to grow. To Be Young, Gifted and Black, a dramatic portrait of the playwright in her own words, was the longest-running Off-Broadway drama of 1969, and has been recorded, filmed, and published in expanded book form, and has toured an unprecedented forty states and two hundred colleges. In 1986, following the stage production of the 25th anniversary of A Raisin in the Sun by the Roundabout Theatre in New York City, the play was widely acclaimed as in the foremost ranks of American classics. In 1990, the PBS American Playhouse TV adaptation of the 25th-anniversary version had one of the highest viewing audiences in PBS history. Les Blancs, her last play—posthumously performed on Broadway and recently in prominent regional theaters—has been hailed by a number of critics as her best.

Read an Excerpt

INTRODUCTION

by Robert Nerniroff

This is the most complete edition of A Raisin in the Sun ever published. Like the American Playhouse production for television, it restores to the play two scenes unknown to the general public, and a number of other key scenes and passages staged for the first time in twenty-fifth anniversary revivals and, most notably, the Roundabout Theatre's Kennedy Center production on which the television picture is based.

"The events of every passing year add resonance to A Raisin in the Sun. It is as if history is conspiring to make the play a classic"; ". . . one of a handful of great American dramas ... A Raisin in the Sun belongs in the inner circle, along with Death of a Salesman, Long Day's Journey into Night, and The Glass Menagerie." So wrote The New York Times and the Washington Post respectively of Harold Scott's revelatory stagings for the Roundabout in which most of these elements, cut on Broadway, were restored. The unprecedented resurgence of the work (a dozen regional revivals at this writing, new publications and productions abroad, and now the television production that will be seen by millions) prompts the new edition.

Produced in 1959, the play presaged the revolution in black and women's consciousness-and the revolutionary ferment in Africa-that exploded in the years following the playwright's death in 1965 to ineradicably alter the social fabric and consciousness of the nation and the world. As so many have commented lately, it did so in a manner and to an extent that few could have foreseen, for not only the restored material, but much else that passed unnoticed in the play at the time, speaks to issues that are now inescapable: value systems of the black family; concepts of African American beauty and identity; class and generational conflicts; the relationships of husbands and wives, black men and women; the outspoken (if then yet unnamed) feminism of the daughter; and, in the penultimate scene between Beneatha and Asagai, the larger statement of the play and the ongoing struggle it portends.

Not one of the cuts, it should be emphasized, was made to dilute or censor the play or to "soften" its statement, for everyone in that herculean, now-legendary band that brought Raisin to Broadway-and most specifically the producer, Philip Rose, and director, Lloyd Richards-believed in the importance of that statement with a degree of commitment that would have countenanced nothing of the kind. How and why, then, did the cuts come about?

The scene in which Beneatha unveils her natural haircut is an interesting example. In 1959, when the play was presented, the rich variety of Afro styles introduced in the mid-sixties had not yet arrived: the very few black women who wore their hair unstraightened cut it very short. When the hair of Diana Sands (who created the role) was cropped in this fashion, however, a few days before the opening, it was not contoured to suit her: her particular facial structure required a fuller Afro, of the sort she in fact adopted in later years. Result? Rather than vitiate the playwright's point-the beauty of black hair-the scene was dropped.

Some cuts were similarly the result of happenstance or unpredictables of the kind that occur in any production: difficulties with a scene, the "processes" of actors, the dynamics of staging, etc. But most were related to the length of the play: running time. Time in the context of bringing to Broadway the first play by a black (young and unknown) woman, to be directed, moreover, by another unknown black "first," in a theater where black audiences virtually did not exist-and where, in the entire history of the American stage, there had never been a serious commercially successful black drama!

So unlikely did the prospects seem in that day, in fact, to all but Phil Rose and the company, that much as some expressed admiration for the play, Rose's eighteen-month effort to find a co-producer to help complete the financing was turned down by virtually every established name in the business. He was joined at the last by another newcomer, David Cogan, but even with the money in hand, not a single theater owner on the Great White Way would rent to the new production! So that when the play left New York for tryouts-with a six-hundred-dollar advance in New Haven and no theater to come back to-had the script and performance been any less ready, and the response of critics and audiences any less unreserved than they proved to be, A Raisin in the Sun would never have reached Broadway.

Under these circumstances the pressures were enormous (if unspoken and rarely even acknowledged in the excitement of the work) not to press fate unduly with unnecessary risks. And the most obvious of these was the running time. It is one thing to present a four-and-a-half-hour drama by Eugene O'Neill on Broadway-but a first play (even ignoring the special features of this one) in the neighborhood of even three??? By common consensus, the need to keep the show as tight and streamlined as possible was manifest. Some things-philosophical flights, nuances the general audience might not understand, shadings, embellishments, would have to be sacrificed.

At the time the cuts were made (there were also some very good ones that focused and strengthened the drama), it was assumed by all that they would in no way significantly affect or alter the statement of the play, for there is nothing in the omitted lines that is not implicit elsewhere in, and throughout, A Raisin in the Sun. But to think this was to reckon without two factors the future would bring into play. The first was the swiftness and depth of the revolution in consciousness that was coming and the consequent, perhaps inevitable, tendency of some people to assume, because the "world" had changed, that any "successful" work which preceded the change must embody the values they had outgrown. And the second was the nature of the American audience.



James Baldwin has written that "Americans suffer from an ignorance that is not only colossal, but sacred." He is referring to that apparently endless capacity we have nurtured through long years to deceive ourselves where race is concerned: the baggage of myth and preconception we carry with us that enables northerners, for example, to shield themselves from the extent and virulence of segregation in the North, so that each time an "incident" of violence so egregious that they cannot look past it occurs they are "shocked" anew, as if it had never happened before or as if the problem were largely passe. (In 1975, when the cast of Raisin, the musical, became involved in defense of a family whose home in Queens, New York City, had been fire-bombed, we learned of a 1972 City Commissioner of Human Rights Report, citing "eleven cases in the last eighteen months in which minority-owned homes had been set afire or vandalized, a church had been bombed, and a school bus had been attacked"-in New York City!)

But Baldwin is referring also to the human capacity, where a work of art is involved, to substitute, for what the writer has written, what in our hearts we wish to believe. As Hansberry put it in response to one reviewer's enthusiastic if particularly misguided praise of her play: ". . . it did not disturb the writer in the least that there is no such implication in the entire three acts. He did not need it in the play; he had it in his head."'

Such problems did not, needless to say, stop America from embracing A Raisin in the Sun. But it did interfere drastically, for a generation, with the way the play was interpreted and assessed-and, in hindsight, it made all the more regrettable the abridgment (though without it would we even know the play today?). In a remarkable rumination on Hansberry's death, Ossie Davis (who succeeded Sidney Poitier in the role of Walter Lee) put it this way:

The play deserved all this-the playwright deserved all this, and more. Beyond question! But I have a feeling that for all she got, Lorraine Hansberry never got all she deserved in regard to A Raisin in the Sun-that she got success, but that in her success she was cheated, both as a writer and as a Negro.

One of the biggest selling points about Raisin-filling the grapevine, riding the word-of-mouth, laying the foundation for its wide, wide acceptance-was how much the Younger family was just like any other American family. Some people were ecstatic to find that "it didn't really have to be about Negroes at all!" It was, rather, a walking, talking, living demonstration of our mythic conviction that, underneath, all of us Americans, color-ain't-got-nothing-to-do-with-it, are pretty much alike. People are just people, whoever they are; and all they want is a chance to be like other people. This uncritical assumption, sentimentally held by the audience, powerfully fixed in the character of the powerful mother with whom everybody could identify, immediately and completely, made any other questions about the Youngers, and what living in the slums of Southside Chicago had done to them, not only irrelevant and impertinent, but also disloyal ... because everybody who walked into the theater saw in Lena Younger ... his own great American Mama. And that was decisive.

In effect, as Davis went on to develop, white America "kidnapped" Mama, stole her away and used her fantasized image to avoid what was uniquely African-American in the play. And what it was saying.

Thus, in many reviews (and later academic studies), the Younger family-maintained by two female domestics and a chauffeur, son of a laborer dead of a lifetime of hard labor-was transformed into an acceptably "middle class" family. The decision to move became a desire to "integrate" (rather than, as Mama says simply, "to find the nicest house for the least amount of money for my family... Them houses they put up for colored in them areas way out always seem to cost twice as much.").

In his "A Critical Reevaluation: A Raisin in the Sun's Enduring Passion," Amiri Baraka comments aptly: "We missed the essence of the work-that Hansberry had created a family on the cutting edge of the same class and ideological struggles as existed in the movement itself and among the people.... The Younger family is part of the black majority, and the concerns I once dismissed as 'middle class'-buying a home and moving into 'white folks' neighborhoods'-are actually reflective of the essence of black people's striving and the will to defeat segregation, discrimination, and national oppression. There is no such thing as a 'white folks' neighborhood' except to racists and to those submitting to racism.  

Mama herself-about whose "acceptance" of her "place" in the society there is not a word in the play, and who, in quest of her family's survival over the soul- and body-crushing conditions of the ghetto, is prepared to defy housing-pattern taboos, threats, bombs, and God knows what else-became the safely "conservative" matriarch, upholder of the social order and proof that if one only perseveres with faith, everything will come out right in the end and the-system-ain't-so-bad-after-all. (All this, presumably, because, true to character, she speaks and thinks in the language of her generation, shares their dream of a better life and, like millions of her counterparts, takes her Christianity to heart.) At the same time, necessarily, Big Walter Younger-the husband who reared this family with her and whose unseen presence and influence can be heard in every scene-vanished from analysis.

And perhaps most ironical of all to the playwright, who had herself as a child been almost killed in such a real-life story, the climax of the play became, pure and simple, a "happy ending"-despite the fact that it leaves the Younger s on the brink of what will surely be, in their new home, at best a nightmare of uncertainty. ("If he thinks that's a happy ending," said Hansberry in an interview, "I invite him to come live in one of the communities where the Youngers are going!") Which is not even to mention the fact that that little house in a blue-collar neighborhood-hardly suburbia, as some have imagined-is hardly the answer to the deeper needs and inequities of race and class and sex that Walter and Beneatha have articulated.


When Lorraine Hansberry read the reviews-delighted by the accolades, grateful for the recognition, but also deeply troubled-she decided in short order to put back many of the materials excised. She did that in the 1959 Random House edition, but faced with the actuality of a prize-winning play, she hesitated about some others which, for reasons now beside the point, had not in rehearsal come alive. She later felt, however, that the full last scene between Beneatha and Asagai (drastically cut on Broadway) and Walter's bedtime scene with Travis (eliminated entirely) should be restored at the first opportunity, and this was done in the 1966 New American Library edition. As anyone who has seen the recent productions will attest, they are among the most moving (and most applauded) moments in the play.

Because the visit of Mrs. Johnson adds the costs of another character to the cast and ten more minutes to the play, it has not been used in most revivals. But where it has been tried it has worked to solid-often hilarious-effect. It can be seen in the American Playhouse production, and is included here in any case, because it speaks to fundamental issues of the play, makes plain the reality that waits the Youngers at the curtain, and, above all, makes clear what, in the eyes of the author, Lena Younger-in her typicality within the black experience-does and does not represent.

Another scene-the Act 1, Scene Two moment in which Beneatha observes and Travis gleefully recounts his latest adventure in the street below-makes tangible and visceral one of the many facts of ghetto life that impel the Youngers' move. As captured on television and published here for the first time, it is its own sobering comment on just how "middle class" a family this is.

A word about the stage and interpretive directions. These are the author's original directions combined, where meaningful to the reader with the staging insights of two great directors and companies: Lloyd Richards' classic staging of that now-legendary cast that first created the roles; and Harold Scott's, whose searching explorations of the text in successive revivals over many years-culminating in the inspired production that broke box office records at the Kennedy Center and won ten awards for Scott and the company-have given the fuller text, in my view, its most definitive realization to date.

Finally, a note about the American Playhouse production. Unlike the drastically cut and largely one-dimensional 1961 movie version-which, affecting and pioneering though it may have been, reflected little of the greatness of the original stage performances-this new screen version is a luminous embodiment of the stage play as reconceived, but not altered, for the camera, and is exquisitely performed. That it is, is due inextricably to producer Chiz Schultz's and director Bill Duke's unswerving commitment to the text; Harold Scott's formative work with the stage company; Duke's own fresh insights and the cinematic brilliance of his reconception and direction for the screen; and the energizing infusion into this mix of Danny Glover's classic performance as Walter Lee to Esther Rolle's superlative Mama. As in the case of any production, I am apt to question a nuance here and there, and regrettably, because of a happenstance in production, the Walter-Travis scene has been omitted. But that scene will, I expect, be restored in the videocassette version of the picture, which should be available shortly. It is thus an excellent version for study.

What is for me personally, as a witness to and sometime participant in the foregoing events, most gratifying about the current revival is that today, some twenty-nine years after Lorraine Hansberry, thinking back with disbelief a few nights after the opening of Raisin, typed out these words-

... I had turned the last page out of the typewriter and pressed all the sheets neatly together in a pile, and gone and stretched out face down on the living room floor. I had finished a play; a play I had no reason to think or not think would ever be done; a play that I was sure no one would quite understand . . . .  

-her play is not only being done, but that more than she had ever thought possible-and more clearly than it ever has been before-it is being "understood."

Yet one last point that I must make because it has come up so many times of late. I have been asked if I am not surprised that the play still remains so contemporary, and isn't that a "sad" commentary on America? It is indeed a sad commentary, but the question also assumed something more: that it is the topicality of the play's immediate events-i.e., the persistence of white opposition to unrestricted housing and the ugly manifestations of racism in its myriad forms-that keeps it alive. But I don't believe that such alone is what explains its vitality at all. For though the specifics of social mores and societal patterns will always change, the decline of the "New England territory" and the institution of the traveling salesman does not, for example, "date" Death of a Salesman, any more than the fact that we now recognize love (as opposed to interfamilial politics) as a legitimate basis for marriage obviates Romeo and Juliet. If we ever reach a time when the racial madness that afflicts America is at last truly behind us-as obviously we must if we are to survive in a world composed four-fifths of peoples of color-then I believe A Raisin in the Sun will remain no less pertinent. For at the deepest level it is not a specific situation but the human condition, human aspiration, and human relationships-the persistence of dreams, of the bonds and conflicts between men and women, parents and children, old ways and new, and the endless struggle against human oppression, whatever the forms it may take, and for individual fulfillment, recognition, and liberation-that are at the heart of such plays. It is not surprising therefore that in each generation we recognize ourselves in them anew.

Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.
October 1988

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A Raisin in the Sun 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 121 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In "A Raisin in the Sun", Lorraine Hansberry tells the story of a poor African-American family living in Chicago during the late 50's. She is able to accurately portray the struggles of poverty and racism that existed worldwide during the time period portrayed in the story concerning the effects that money has on certain people and the ways peoples of different ethnic backgrounds were treated. The story centers around the Younger family, which consists of Walter and his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis, and his mother, known as Mama. The initial conflict begins when a check for ten thousand dollars comes in the mail due to the recent passing of Walter's father. The Younger's, never being able to possess that amount of money, are unsure what to do with it. In their current state, the Younger's live in an apartment building in which they must pay rent every month, Beneatha needs money to pay for medical school, the apartment is becoming too small, especially since Ruth is expecting another baby, and the only real income is that of Walter who is a chauffer. Therefore, this money can help solve a lot of problems. But on the other hand, Walter and Mama have conflicting views on how the money should be spent. Walter, a man whose goal is to make a lot of money to support his family and live the American dream, wants to invest money in a liquor store which he believes will guarantee a steady influx of money for the family. However, Mama, a woman is only concerned about the well-being of her family and their happiness, believes that the money is best spent on a house that can finally be all theirs; this means no more paying rent to someone else and more space for the expected baby. Additional conflicts arise and new decisions have to be made. All play a large part in the plot that keeps the reader hooked until the unexpected chain of events that eventually lead to the riveting conclusion. As the story continues, one begins to develop a close relationship with the characters in the book, making the events that take place much more personal and heartfelt. One is able to feel what the character's in the story are going through, even if they have never been in a similar situation. It also stresses the struggle to survive in a world where people treat you differently because of the color of your skin and in which poverty is a recurring theme. Everything in the book was very interesting and every scene had different things which made the story flow and stay interesting the entire time. There were no dull moments in this book either. Although the overall mood of this book is serious and dramatic, comedy is present and sprinkled throughout the book. Overall, I thought that this was an excellent book that not only provided an entertaining read, but also an emotional journey through a time of poverty and racismthat encompasses one family's struggle to fulfill the American dream, overcome struggles, and live a life of peace and happiness.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was very enlightening. Not the story but the fact it made such a big impact on both the African American and Caucasian community. Seeing the condition they were already living it, it's amazing they even could afford a house. And the crazy ending to everything Walter's investment and Mama's change of character or burst of emotion
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Flowerpot_1987 More than 1 year ago
Lorraine Hansberry's play A Raisin in the Sun takes on the culture of the time through the eyes of a Chicago family living in a one room place. They take on financial, racial, social, and personal struggles tha shape their future.
I absolutely loved this play the first time I read it, and I think the best part of the play was when Brother lost all the money for the down payment for their new house on what turned out to be a scam. When he shouted "WILLIE!" over and over, I mean...that just...it was heartbreaking and the sorrow they all felt just jumped up from the page.
Wonderful, wonderful play.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this play your heart will be tugged in different directions, not knowing who to side with, but in the end you will be sure of one thing: Family triumphs over all
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Many have commented that ¿A Raisin in the Sun¿ is a universal story, and in some sense it is. The struggles of the poor living in squalid conditions, working hard for meager pay, and chasing dreams to make their children¿s lives better certainly transcend race. And yet this is most definitely an African-American play. As James Baldwin said, ¿never before in the entire history of the American theater had so much truth of black people¿s lives been seen on the stage.¿ In addition to the racism the Youngers face almost as a matter of course in trying to integrate into a white neighborhood, just as poignant are the struggles described within African-American culture. For there is tension in just how to go about improving their lives - certainly wanting to rise in American society, but at the same time the distastefulness of needing to assimilate and thereby potentially losing something in the process, or worse, becoming `Uncle Toms¿. There are questions of the appropriateness of using the ¿N word¿, of straightening hair vs. wearing it naturally, and the relevance of pride in West African culture. On top of all this, the play touches on feminism, atheism, and abortion. It¿s weighty stuff, but it doesn¿t feel `weighty¿. Exiting the theater I can imagine being energized and wanting to talk about what I just saw. How wonderful it is that in 1959 it was written by a brilliant 29-year-old African-American woman who was clearly ahead of her time; how wonderful it is that she received accolades; how sad it is she died so young, six years later. This edition restored scenes which had been edited out because of production length concerns given how unknown Hansberry was and the risk of the play¿s content; this was great because absolutely no editing is necessary. The writing is lean and masterful. Ultimately the story is one of perseverance and maintaining one¿s moral courage, of holding on to one¿s ideals despite the many trials which test them. There are several dreams which are harbored by the members of this little family ¿ becoming a doctor to heal the sick, becoming a successful businessman, and simply owning a house ¿ all of them to rise up in the world or to make a larger impact in it, but all threatening to become ¿raisins in the sun¿. I had goosebumps at the ending. It¿s not just a ¿yeah¿ for me, it¿s a ¿hell yeah¿.Quotes:First from Langston Hughes as a preface to the novel, explaining the title:¿What happens to a dream deferred?Does it dry upLike a raisin in the sun?Or fester like a sore ¿ And then run?Does it stink like rotten meatOr crust and sugar over ¿Like a syrupy sweet?Maybe it just sagsLike a heavy load.Or does it explode?¿On African-American heritage:Beneatha: Because I hate assimilationist Negroes!Ruth: Will somebody please tell me what assimila-who-ever means!George: Oh it¿s just a college girl¿s way of calling people Uncle Toms ¿ but that isn¿t what it means at all.Ruth: Well, what does it mean?Beneatha: It means someone who is willing to give up his own culture and submerge himself completely in the dominant, and in this case oppressive culture!George: Oh, dear, dear, dear! Here we go! A lecture on the African past! On our Great West African Heritage! In one second we will hear all about the great Ashanti empires; the great Songhay civilizations; and the great sculpture of Benin ¿ and then some poetry in the Bantu ¿ and the whole monologue will end with the word heritage! Let¿s face it, baby, your heritage is nothing but a bunch of raggedy-assed spirituals and some grass huts!Beneatha: GRASS HUTS! See there ¿ you are standing there in your splendid ignorance talking about people who were the first to smelt iron on the face of the earth! The Ashanti were performing surgical operations when the English were still tattooing themselves with blue dragons!On African-American progress:Johnson: You sure one proud-acting bunch of colored folks. Well ¿ I always thinks like Booker T. Washington said that
luckymuffins on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Short play about the struggle of the Younger family. Walter Lee Younger is obsessed with the idea of "making it big" and is devastated when his get rich quick scheme falls through. Mama, Walter Lee's mother, lives with the family. She has a great deal of authority, is a God fearing women, and values her religion, her family, and her husband's memory above anything else.
cinesnail88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was my first full-length play of the semester for my theatre class, and I must say, I'm rather ashamed I didn't get to it earlier. It's incredibly well written, and I found myself getting very attached to both Beneatha and Asagai. All in all, more than worth my time.
samlives2 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My English class recently studied this play and I'm very glad we did. We read the parts aloud (I was the italics: it was awesome) and for the first time my class got really into something. Everyone was laughing and enjoying themselves the whole way through. We've never had that for any other work and I think it was because this play is so easy to relate to and even when it is emotionally heavy or deep, it never feels overbearing.
phoenixcomet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very fast read. The play is set in Chicago between the end of WWII and 1961 when it was written. It tells the story of a poor Black family who are about to come into $10,000. The play is a social commentary for hopes and dreams, for possibilities. There is a sense of foreboding when Mama gives her son Walter, the $6500 and true to form, it is stolen from him. Then the choice comes up - do they give up their dream of a home in the suburbs for money or do they move to the white neighborhood where they are unwanted? A lot to think about, especially if you put yourself in the family's situation.
jnoel12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Raisin in the Sun was "good". There were some parts where I was like, "Ooh, what's going to happen next." Not suspensful or anything, but I always wondered if the Younger family would ever stop fighting and come together to make a big decision-- one that may change their lives forever. For this to happen, some people's prides will have to be pushed aside.
ElenaEstrada on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is truly an American classic that tackles racism, assimilation, gender roles, social classes, courage, and human frailty. It is courageous in its portrayal of an African American family who has generationally struggled for economic mobility. It¿s incredibly honest characters voice out their frustrations about social ills. One of the elements that make it a masterpiece is the development of family conflicts that threaten to destroy the family unit. I would highly recommend this book to high school students, especially minority groups that typically deal with issues of assimilation and changing family values. My only criticism would be that it was produced in 1959, and some of the cultural issues that surround the plot will not be understood by the current youth unless they have some historical background. Nevertheless, I feel it is an American classic and should be considered a worthwhile novel or outside reading of high school English curriculum.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this play. The book that I got had the original cast listed, including Ruby Dee, Louis Gossett, and Sydney Poitier. Talk about a dream cast!When I think about the play, it's not so much one individual line that comes to mind as much as the general feeling, that the Youngers have struggled and worked and waited for a better life, but never can seem to find a break.The play takes its name from a poem by Langston Hughes called, 'A Dream Deferred.' It's a powerful poem - what happens to a dream deferred? This is a beautiful case of a play built around a poem, one that encapsulates the struggle of Black Americans to have the kind of life they saw everyone else enjoying.
Sean191 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm embarrassed I hadn't read this book until now. I'm also a little disappointed that I've been missing out so long. A play about longing for something better, shattered dreams and redemption.
lorinhigashi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Raisin in the Sun captures the realistic portrayal of an African American family trying to find success and follow their dreams during the 1950s. This drama can be used as a discussion piece with the content of the play as well as the history surrounding the release of the play. The message of social acceptance among the Civil Rights movement and the racial prejudice that the Youngers faced spoke to the audience during the 1959 release as well as today's generation. It captures the humanity of having a realistic dream - owning a house, stability, medical school and how much harder it was for these dreams to be accomplished by African Americans during this time. Lorraine Hansberry gave a voice to the Youngers family that symbolized any family whose dreams were on the brink of being deferred.
xavier916 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the beginning, this family is faced with money problems. By the middle, the family gets the insurance money of 10,000 dollars but then don't know how to spend the money. The son of Mama' loses the money while trying to do his dream of building a liquir store. 151 pages out of 151
JosephJ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written play and excellent film. The language is in your face and the characters are real people with real problems. The message of family unity is not lost even when grouped with much heavier subjects such as racism, and classicism.
ametralladoras on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very quick read. About a black family in Chicago in the late 40's/early 50's. It's a quite view of there lives as they have to deal with money, racism, and how to achieve their dreams.
SoonerCatholic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Setting: This play about dreams and culture takes place in a tenement in Chicago post WWII.Plot: The Younger family dreams of what to do with the retirement money coming in the mail.Characters: Ruth- tired, disillusioned; Travis- young, full of youth, naive; Walter (protagonist) a visionary; Beneatha- intelligent, searching; Mama- kind, motherly; Asagai- cool, honest; George (antagonist)- rich, assimilationistSymbols/Allusions: This play tells the values of cultural heritage. Their dreams are fragile and can become dried up.Characteristics: authentic, realistic play when it came out "watershed in American drama"Personal Response: I thought it was a very poignant story, brutally honest and thought provoking
Jaylabelle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What happens to a dream deferred? Groundbreaking play about an African American family in the 1950's struggling to get ahead and achieve 'The American Dream'. Historic, because it was the very first play written by a black person for Broadway.
MissBoyer3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book 10/10
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very entertaining read, love the emotion that many of the characters express during the play
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so good. My class is reading this right now for language arts class. It is definately breathtaking.