Study Guide

A Raisin in the Sun Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

By Lorraine Hansberry

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Plant

The plant that Mama keeps near the apartment’s sole window is barely surviving because it lacks adequate nourishment. Sound like anyone else we know? Yet she is completely dedicated to the plant and lovingly tends it every single day in the hopes that it will one day be able to flourish. Gosh. Sound like her behavior towards anyone else? This is by far the play’s most overt symbol; the plant acts as a metaphor for the family.

Sunlight

Hansberry writes about sunlight and how the old apartment has so little of it. The first thing Ruth asks about in Act Two, Scene One is whether or not the new house will have a lot of sunlight. Sunlight is a familiar symbol for hope and life, since all human life depends on warmth and energy from the sun.

Cockroaches, Rats, and Other Lovely Creatures

These creatures heavily reinforce the Younger family’s undesirable living situation.