A Raisin In The Sun

  • Category: Business
  • Words: 2596
  • Grade: 100
A Raisin In the Sun                                                                Staci King

Lorraine Hansberry                                                                A-2 PCP

Penguin Books                                                                10-29-99

1988 Rpt. 2





A Raisin In the Sun is a drama play that takes place "sometime between World War II and the present." The family lived in Chicago's Southside. The town was very "dusky" and as each day passed the nights got colder. The Younger family lived in a small old apartment with only two small rooms. The little one had to sleep on the couch every night. The house needed a great amount of fixing up; everyone was ready to move out.

Ruth Younger is about thirty years old. She is married to Walter Lee Young and they have a son named Travis. " Ruth is a pretty girl, even exceptionally so, but now it is apparent that life has been little that she expected, and disappointment has already begun to hang in her face. In a few years, before thirty-five even, she will be known among her people as a "˜settled woman.'" Ruth tries to do everything she can to make her family happy. She just wants the best for them.

Walter Lee Younger is a "lean, intense young man in his middle thirties, inclined to quick nervous movements and erratic speech habits and always in his voice there is a quality of indictment." He works as a chauffeur, but his dream is to one day open up a liquor store. Walter has a very bad temper and tends to say things he doesn't mean. Walter and his wife have been getting into many fights. He has a really bad temper. Many times when Walter gets upset he goes out and gets drunk. Walter likes to spoil his son Travis.

Beneatha Younger is Walter's smart, younger sister. She is about twenty years old and " as slim and intense as her brother. She is not as pretty as her sister-in-law, but her lean intellectual face has a handsomeness of its own." She also gets her bad temper from Walter. Beneatha wants to become a doctor when she gets older. She says everything that is on her mind and it never seems like she is happy. Beneatha finds most everything people say to be offensive to her some how.

Lena Younger, known as Mama, is in her early sixties. " She is one of those women of a certain grace and beauty who wear it so unobtrusively that it takes a while to notice. She has wit and faith of a kind that keeps her eyes lit and full of interest and expectancy. Mama is, in a word, a beautiful woman. Her speech is as careless as her carriage is precise-she is inclined to slur everything-but her voice is perhaps not so much quiet as simply soft." She is full-bodied and strong. Her husband died a short while ago. Mama works very hard to try and help her family have the best. She especially wants Travis to have the best.

Travis Willard Younger is a "sturdy, handsome little boy of ten or eleven." He is very well mannered and tries to have fun just like every other kid does. Willy Harris and Bobo are the two men who are going to help Walter invest in starting a liquor store.

Early one Friday morning, Ruth, who was in a bad mood, woke up Travis so he could get ready for school. Then she woke up Walter so he wouldn't be late for work.

Ruth and Walter got into an argument because Walter wanted to invest in a liquor store. Ruth knew they didn't have the money to do it. Walter started going off on how colored women never support their husbands and their dreams. When Beneatha got up they stopped arguing. Walter went from arguing with Ruth to bothering Beneatha about becoming a doctor. All furious because he was getting no where, Walter slammed the door when he left.

Mama got up to see what all the commotion had been. As Ruth told her what happened, Mama went around picking up after everyone like she always did. Ruth asked Mama about the check. It seemed to be the only thing everyone had been thinking about lately. She told Mama about Walter's idea of investing in a liquor store. Mama replied, "We're not business people and I don't want selling liquor to people on my ledger this late in life."

Mama noticed Ruth wasn't looking very good. Ruth said she was just tired. Ruth asked what Mama planned on doing with a ten thousand-dollar check. Mama said she wanted to put some money away for Beneatha to go to college and she thought about buying a nice house with a backyard and everything. As Mama and Ruth's conversation continued, Beneatha came out of the bathroom. Beneatha got upset when Mama and Ruth were teasing her so she said how she didn't believe in God. Mama was very upset by this statement. Mama slapped Beneatha in the face and demanded she say, "In my mother's house there is still God." Mama walked off and Beneatha got up and left.

While Mama was watering her plants she asked Ruth to sing a song, but got no response. "She turned around at last to see Ruth had slipped quietly to the floor, in a state of semiconciousness."

Bright and early Saturday morning, everyone was up and cleaning the house, except for Travis whom was staring out the window. Travis was worried about his mother and wondered where she went. Mama told him she just went to run an errand. After he talked to Willy Harris on the phone, Walter left to go see Willy in person. Travis went outside to play. Beneatha asked Mama where Ruth really went. Mama told her Ruth went to the doctor.

Ruth came home and told Mama and Beneatha she was two months pregnant. Ruth hollered for Travis to come inside. When Travis got inside he started telling all about he blood and guts form the rat he had been chasing. Ruth quickly grabbed him and covered his mouth. "Beneatha came quickly and took Travis. She pushed him gently out the door, while he strained to see what was wrong with his mother."

The doorbell rang. It was the moment they had all been waiting for. The postman had arrived with the "big" check. Travis rushed downstairs and came back up with an envelope. After opening it up and examining it carefully, Mama told Ruth to put the check away. "Mama didn't look at Ruth when she said it. Her eyes seemed to be seeing something somewhere very far off."

Mama asked Ruth if she went to see the woman doctor today, but before she could her answer, Walter walked in. The first thing he did was ask about the check. As Walter started talking about the liquor store, Mama told him he should talk to his wife. Walter refused so Mama yelled at him and said, "There ain't going to be no investing in no liquor stores."

As Walter attempted to leave Ruth tried to go with him, but he didn't want her company. All upset, Ruth went to the bedroom. Mama and Walter got into a huge fight. Mama ended up telling him Ruth was pregnant and that she thought Ruth might be thinking about getting rid of the child. Walter didn't believe his wife would do a thing like that. Mama said, "When the world gets ugly enough-a woman will do anything for her family. The part that's already living."

Ruth opened the bedroom door and stood there. She had been listening to the entire conversation. Ruth said she would have an abortion and that she had even gave the doctor a five-dollar down payment. "There was total silence as Walter stared at his wife and as Mama stared at Walter." Absolutely speechless, Walter picked up his keys and his coat then walked out. Mama got her hat and left seconds after Walter.

Later that day Beneatha came out in her new dress from Asagai. Her and Ruth were dancing to music when Walter came home drunk. With the alcohol affecting him quite a bit, Walter pretended he was a great leader, while running around the room and talking in a language of his own. Beneatha left and went on a date. Walter started to talk in a violent manner. Ruth tried to get him to talk to her, but Walter just wouldn't do it. She finally gave up and headed toward bed. As Ruth walked off, Walter began to talk to her seriously. Ruth turned around to go talk to him.

When Mama finally came home, Walter asked where she had been. Mama ignored him and began making conversation with Ruth. After Walter asked for about the tenth time, Mama said she had gone to town to tend to business. Walter began to think she had done something crazy with the money. Ruth was angry when Travis came home late so she told him to go straight to bed, but Mama stopped him. She asked Travis if he knew what she had done with the money. He said he wasn't sure so Mama told him she went out and bought a nice house for him to live in. Ruth was excited to hear this wonderful news. Ruth took Travis out of Mama's arms and sent him off to bed. Walter wouldn't look or talk to anyone about the news.

Mama told them all about the new house in Claybourne Park and how they would be the only colored people living there. Ruth went to tell Travis all about the new house. Mama tried to explain to Walter why she did what she did. "Bitterly, to hurt her as deeply as he knew possible, Walter said, "˜So you butchered up a dream of mine-you- who always talking "˜bout your children's dreams"¦'" Mama tried to respond, but before she could get a chance, Walter was already out the door. "Mama sat alone, thinking heavily."

Friday night, a few weeks later Walter's boss called and said that if Walter didn't come to work the next day then he would be fired. It turned out Walter hadn't been at work for the past three days. When Mama asked where he had been, he said he had just been driving or walking for hours. Then he would stop somewhere and watch everything. After that he would go to the Green Hat and get drunk while listening to the music.

"Mama felt responsible for Walter being this way." She handed him an envelope and told him to put three thousand dollars in a savings account for Beneatha to go to school and that he could spend the rest of the money however he pleased. Mama got up and left as Walter just sat there and stared at the envelope.

While finishing packing, the doorbell rang. It was a white man from Clayborune Park. The man wanted to talk to Mama, but since she wasn't home he talked to Walter. He introduced himself as Karl Linder, then went about trying to convince them not to move by saying they were not wanted there, and that people who live at Claybourne Park were willing to buy the house back from them for more then what the Mama had originally paid. Angered by what Mr. Linder was saying, Walter threw the man out. Mama came home. They told her how a man had come to welcome her to Claybourne Park and how they couldn't wait for the Youngers to move in. Mama knew what the man had really come for.

The doorbell rang. It was one of Walter's friends, Bobo, who was also investing in the liquor store. Bobo told Walter how Willy took off with all the money that was to be invested in the store. Bobo apologized for everything then left. Then Walter told Mama he never put the three thousand dollars in the bank for Beneatha. Out of complete anger, Mama went over to Walter and slapped him across the face several times.

Walter came out of his room frantically looking for something. Beneatha tried to make Walter angry, but he just ignored her. He finally found a small piece of white paper he had been looking for then quickly left, slamming the door behind him. When Walter came back he told everyone he had called Mr. Linder and asked him to come over so he could accept the man's offer to buy the house back. When Mr. Linder showed up Walter did exactly the opposite. The man left rather disappointed.

The movers showed up and packed everything downstairs. Mama stood alone in the living room, examining the place carefully. She took one last final look, grabbed her plant, and went out the door for the last time.

The conflict was between colored people and white people. This conflict came about when the Younger family decided they were going to move into the Claybourne Park area. Only white people lived in that area. A man from the "welcoming committee" even came over and tried to convince the Younger's not move by offering to buy the house back from then for more then what Mama had originally paid for it. Other colored people who had lived in the Claybourne area were bombed or other harmful things happened to them.

The theme of the play was never give up. One should always follow his or her heart and try to fulfill their dreams. Walter wanted the best for his family and tried to do everything possible to make a better life for his son. He would have given his life for Travis to have a better one. Mama also felt the same way as Walter. She gave up a large sum of money to help her children and grandson have better lives. Each character in this book had a dream he or she wanted to fulfill. By hard work, effort, support, and faith each person could make their dream become reality. Since the Youngers did not give up, in the end, they got the new home they wanted and greatly deserved.

The reading level of this play was average. The author explained things in a great amount of detail. After reading over half of the book, it is still in only the second day of the story. I found the book to be really sad. The way the family was treated, I found to be unfair. The book's value was educational and had a good message. I really enjoyed reading this book. Although the book was very well written, I don't think it needed to be so detailed. Overall I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to all my friends.
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