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A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry
  • Study Guide
Summary

What Does the Ending Mean?

Summary What Does the Ending Mean?

A Raisin in the Sun ends with the Younger family leaving their longtime apartment in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood in order to move into a house they’ve purchased in the otherwise all-white neighborhood of Clybourne Park. Although the family’s spirits are high in the play’s final scene, there is no promise that they will have an easy time in their new life. Earlier in the play, Walter loses most of the insurance money sent to Mama on account her husband’s death, and this misfortune leaves some lingering uncertainty for the Youngers. In order to keep paying off the new house and still make ends meet, everyone who can work will have to do so. But with everyone stretched to their limit, and with a new baby on the way, the family may not recover in the event of an emergency or other setback. However, at the end of the play, the Youngers demonstrate that they believe family unity and dignity are more important than financial security.

The Younger family also faces issues of racial prejudice, as indicated by the visits from Karl Lindner, the representative of the ironically named Clybourne Park Improvement Association. When Lindner first comes to the Youngers’ apartment, he seems unthreatening. Yet he soon reveals an undercurrent of prejudice, and eventually of menace. Lindner’s first visit ends with him bluntly asking the racist question he’s been sent to communicate: “What do you think you are going to gain by moving into a neighborhood where you just aren’t wanted?” His second visit grows more heated. Once he realizes that Walter has summoned him only to tell him that the Youngers will definitely move into their new house, Lindner reminds the family of the recent violence against a Black family in another of Chicago’s white neighborhoods. This other Black family may well foreshadow the Youngers’ fate in their new home. In the play’s final act, however, it remains too soon to tell. The play concludes in an atmosphere of both uncertainty and hopefulness for the Younger family.