Essay: a Raisin in the Sun

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Essay: A Raisin in the Sun
It is a common notion that money doesn’t buy happiness. Or does it? The classic play, “A Raisin in the Sun”, by Lorraine Hansberry seeks to reflect on this idea. The play recounts the story of the Youngers, a poor African American family, who are awaiting the arrival of a $10,000 insurance check. This check arouses great tension and conflict within the family. Clearly, money is a central theme in the plot. Each character has a different idea of what to do with the insurance money as well as different views on the use and importance of money in general. Mama sees money as a way to help her family succeed, Walter believes money is life, Beneatha sees money as a way to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor, and Asagai views money as a method to help others. Although money seems to be so important to the characters, by the end of the play Lorraine Hansberry shows us that money isn’t everything. A central character and matriarch of the Younger family, Mama, is not as concerned about material wealth as the other characters. She views money to be a means of achieving her dream of buying a house and helping her family move up in the world. In Act II she and Walter converse about the importance of money: Mama: Son- how come you talk so much ‘bout money?

Walter: Because it is life, Mama!
Mama: Oh. So now it’s life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life— now it’s money. I guess the world really do change…. (55)

Mama attempts to teach her family that money isn’t everything and tries to instill in them strong values, such as taking pride in themselves and their dreams. However, Mama does hold the insurance check very dear to her heart. She sees it as a lifetime of hard work that her husband endured. When Walter lost all of the money in his business venture, Mama...
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