full title A Raisin in the Sun
author Lorraine Hansberry
type of work Play
genre Realist drama
time and place written 1950s, New York
date of first performance 1959
date of first publication 1959
publisher Random House
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.