A Raisin in the Sun depicts ordinary Americans who happen to be black – and explores how the fact of their race inhibits them from accomplishing their dreams. In other words, A Raisin in the Sun demonstrates how race can complicate the American Dream. For the most part, however, race is a latent backdrop in the play; this enables Hansberry to craft a universally appealing tale and allows us to understand the precise influence of race in one family’s life.

Questions About Race

  1. What is the role of race in A Raisin in the Sun? How would the story be different if the characters were not African American?
  2. What is the significance of the fact that Mama and Big Walter lived in a time when lynching was still a serious threat?
  3. Why does Walter blame his race for his misfortunes?
  4. What are the ways that Beneatha thinks about race? How are they different from how the rest of her family sees race?

Chew on This

Lorraine Hansberry contrasts Beneatha Younger with George Murchison to suggest that gender and class differences are as complex as racial differences.

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