© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun


by Lorraine Hansberry

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : Rags to Riches

Initial Wretchedness

Five family members crowd into a three-room, roach-infested apartment

Sounds pretty wretched to us. The Younger family doesn’t have much except for dreams. Walter dreams of a great business career, his mother dreams of a house with a garden, and his sister Beneatha dreams of one day becoming a doctor.

Initial Success

A $10,000 dollar check enables Mama to make a down payment on a house.

Yay, one dream is fulfilled! The family can move into a proper house where they can have a garden, their own bathroom, and a space to call their own. This is definitely only the Initial Success stage, however, because trials and tribulations are destined to hit the Younger family.

Central Crisis

Walter’s business partner runs off with the money and a representative from their future neighborhood makes the Younger family an offer.

Mama entrusts $6,500 to Walter, who promptly hands it over to a man who makes like a tree and leaves. Walter is overcome with shame for making this bad, bad decision, and remembers that Karl Lindner has offered to purchase their new house at a profit for the family.

Independence and the final ordeal

Walter asserts his position as head of the family and decides to sell out.

Walter calls Mr. Lindner and says he’s willing to sign the contracts. Meanwhile, his family is shocked that money is worth more to Walter than principle. When Mr. Lindner shows up and lays out the contracts, Walter is facing his final test.

Completion and fulfillment

Walter stands up for his family’s rights.

Walter points out to Mr. Lindner that the Younger family has worked incredibly hard to fulfill their dream of moving out of the ghetto and owning a house. By refusing Mr. Lindner’s offer, Walter is placing the psychological needs of his family before monetary gains. This finale means that at least one family member’s dream is achieved.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...