A Raisin in the Sun

by: Lorraine Hansberry

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 4

Mama: There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing.

Mama makes this comment to Beneatha in Act III, near the end of the play, as Beneatha expresses her disappointment in Walter for losing the money in the liquor store venture and also for apparently having decided to give in to Mr. Lindner. Mama tells Beneatha that Walter needs her to be supportive. She also says that instead of constantly crying about herself, Beneatha should cry for Walter and everything that he has been through and try to understand how hard he has been trying to make everything better for his family.

One can argue that Mama speaks these words not only to Beneatha but also to the audience. Along the lines of this interpretation, she seems to be saying that if the audience hasn’t learned to love, then it hasn’t learned anything yet from the play. Since the audience when A Raisin in the Sun premiered in 1959 would have been entirely or almost entirely white, we can see Mama as a power-ful voice for social change.