Study Guide

A Raisin in the Sun Suffering

By Lorraine Hansberry

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The Younger family is cooped up inside a small apartment in the slums, barely making ends meet with Walter, Ruth, and Lena all working menial jobs. Throughout their sufferings, they keep dreams and pride alive. Their suffering makes it much harder to turn down Karl Lindner’s offer to buy out their home. Suffering imbues the play via the set design and the actors’ portrayals of their characters – rather than being a blatant statement, suffering is treated as a fact of the Younger family’s life.

Questions About Suffering

  1. Which character(s) feels that they suffer the most? Who complains the most?
  2. Would the family’s suffering be alleviated if they fulfilled their dreams? Or is their suffering the product of more systemic influences?
  3. To what extent does the Younger family suffer because of race?

Chew on This

Beneatha and Walter suffer for selfish reasons whereas Ruth and Lena suffer because the people they love are dissatisfied.

The mother figures of Ruth and Lena suffer the most of the characters because they worry about the entire family’s pain, not just their own.

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