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A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

full title  · A Raisin in the Sun

author  · Lorraine Hansberry

type of work  · Play

genre  · Realist drama

language  · English

time and place written  · 1950s, New York

date of first performance  · 1959

date of first publication  · 1959

publisher · Random House

tone  · Realistic

setting (time)  · Between 1945 and 1959

setting (place)  · The South Side of Chicago

protagonist  · Walter Lee Younger

major conflict  · The Youngers, a working-class black family, struggle against economic hardship and racial prejudice.

rising action  · Ruth discovers that she is pregnant; Mama makes a down payment on a house; Mama gives Walter the remaining insurance money; Walter invests the money in the liquor store venture.

climax  · Bobo tells the Youngers that Willy has run off with all of Walter’s invested insurance money; Asagai makes Beneatha realize that she is not as independent as she thinks.

falling action  · Walter refuses Mr. Lindner’s offer to not move; the Youngers move out of the apartment to their new house in the white neighborhood; Beneatha finds new strength in Asagai.

themes  · The value and purpose of dreams, the need to fight racial discrimination, the importance of family

motifs  · Racial identity, the home

symbols  · “Eat your eggs,” Mama’s plant, Beneatha’s hair

foreshadowing  · Mrs. Johnson’s news that a black family’s house has been bombed foreshadows the objections that the Clybourne Park Improvement Association will raise to the idea of the Youngers moving in; Walter’s hints to Travis that he is investing the insurance money foreshadow the disappearance of the money.