Symbolism In A Raisin In The Sun

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The American dream is the opportunity for all Americans to seek and reach their dreams. However, Langston Hughes wrote a poem called “Harlem” which talks about dreams, and what happens to them when they don’t come true. In the poem, Hughes writes, “What happens to a dream deferred?/Does it dry up/like a raisin in the sun?”(Hughes 1-3). Lorraine Hansberry proves this quote in her book A Raisin in the Sun. The book follows the lives of the Youngers, a low-income minority family trying to capture their dreams. Throughout the book, they seem to struggle to find their roots in America. Correlating to that, Mama’s dream is to own a house in Morgan park that has a garden where she can build a garden and grow her plants. She wants her family to be free of the financial burden which they are in, and most importantly to make sure her children and grandchildren have the same opportunities as white people. Mama best represents the symbol of the title A Raisin in the Sun because she is affected most by not being able to fully live out her dreams.

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Mama’s plant can represent many things, however, the most obvious one is family. The plant represents how she really wants to keep her family together even though it could die any day. Just like with her family, she just keeps pushing for it to stay alive and doing whatever she can. She shows this by saying, “Lord, if this little old plant doesn’t get more sun than its been getting it ain’t never going to see spring again”(Hansberry 40). This quote, by Mama, explains that the old plant is going on its last breaths because of the sun not shining on it. Similar to her own family. The plant also represents her unconditional love for her children even though they fight a lot. However, she takes pride in it and doesn’t want them to separate or die. In the movie, Ruth states, “Is there sunlight”. This quote by Ruth is an internal metaphor to the prosperous life that they all want.

Mama is the type of person who gives chances, she does this with both Beneatha and Walter. Walter is looking to find his dream of owning a liquor store but doesn’t have the money to afford it. Beneatha’s dream is to find her roots or what she is destined to be. Both are given chances to do so and screw up. Walter screws up by losing the insurance money, and Beneatha by quitting at everything she does in life. Ruth states,“The horseback-riding club for which she bought that fifty-dollar riding habit that’s been hanging in the closet ever since!”(Hansberry 47). However, Mama through all of this keeps holding strong and believing in her dreams.

Mama decides to satisfy her personal dream by buying a house. Even though it wasn’t fully what she wanted it was a step in the right direction. Mama describes the house, “It’s—it’s a nice house too…Three bedrooms—nice big one for you and Ruth… Me and Beneatha still have to share our room, but Travis have one of his own–and I figure if the–new baby–is a boy, we could get one of them double-decker outfits…And there’s a yard with a little patch of dirt where I could maybe get to grow me a few flowers… And a nice big basement…”(Hansberry 92). Mama describes the house in an excited tone even though it might affect other people like Walter. She also describes the house as a way to start over and be able to step into a home that you actually own and feel good about yourself.

In Conclusion, Mama’s dreams were important in showing the symbol of the title A Raisin in the Sun by showing how valuable family is and showing that dreams don’t always have to get done to perfection, they just have to be completed to a point that is suitable for the circumstances. Mama’s dreams affected everyone’s dreams in the end and made everyone happy in there own way so that the Youngers can live to there full potential.

07 September 2020

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