A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry
Main Ideas

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.