A Raisin in the Sun is a play that depicts dreams through the perspective of Ruth and Walter. Benetha also plays a role. The play also focuses on the Younger family members who have to put off their dreams because of their family’s financial struggles. For example, Mama is unable to provide Travis with the fifty-cents he requires for a class activity. This play is about a black family and how they try to improve themselves based upon their financial situation.
The garden in the play is a symbol of the way she would care for her family, as she would do with her plants. Both dreams are put on hold because of a lack in money, which makes them live with their families in crowded apartments.
Mama’s wish is the same as Ruth’s, and the desire for a house with a huge garden stems from the fact the $10,000 insurance claim would be available to them after Big Walter Lee had died. Walter’s dream would be fulfilled by using the $10,000 from his insurance to buy the house and garden that his family wanted. Walter’s plan to build a store with Willy Harris, one of Walter’s great friends, wasn’t a good one because it would benefit only him. Walter’s family also thought that it was selfish to make this decision.
Beneatha’s dreams are not to be forgotten. Benetha’s dreams would be the most important for some. She wants to become an MD. Walter was going to put down $3,500 towards Benethas school costs, but Walter lost money when he bought the liquor store. Her dream has been deferred.
Lorraine Hansberry was inspired to write this play by her experience growing up on Chicago’s South Side and experiencing segregation. Hansberry brings out her activist side in this play. Walter is speaking to Mama and Walter has asked Mama why Clybourne Park. It’s true, there aren’t colored people in Clybourne Park. But she adds, “Well, they’re going to be more now…I just wanted to find something nice for my kids for as little money as possible…The houses that they build in the far-flung areas cost twice as much.” She then says in an article, “The problems is the fact that Negroes still live in segregated neighborhoods in Chicago.” This tells us that the city of Chicago is still segregated.
It is evident in Langston Hughes’ poem Harlem that all the family members who had dreams which were deferred struggled to keep them alive. But they are not just individual dreamers, at the end there is one big house that will unite everyone as a single family.