Written by Lorraine Hansberry, “A Raisin in the Sun” adopts its title from one of the lines of Langston Hughes’s poem, “Harlem”. In the first stanza, the speaker contemplates the idea of a “deferred dream” and whether or not “it shrivel up like a raisin in the sun” (2.2.1019). The speaker then presents the reader with further questions that show various interpretations of a “deferred dream” or a dream on hold. These series of questions push the readers to ponder about the outcomes of neglected dreams. As for the play, Hansberry provides each character in the Younger family their own individual dreams. Although both works bear the same similarity in words, the significance of their commonality lies within the discussion of dreams. In “A Raisin in the Sun,” dreams open the characters’ minds to the idea of hope, however, they can also blind the characters’ hearts regarding their feelings for one another.
Dreams are among one of the most essential things to acquire for the sake of purposeful individualistic achievements. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. The hopes and aspirations that have been conjured by an individual serve as motivational forces that drive the person toward their goals. Thus, dreaming can be considered as one of life’s basic necessities. As the speaker in “Harlem” explores the outcomes of postponed dreams, various comparisons have been made throughout the poem in regard to basic, everyday tasks. The speaker utilizes similes that compare the deferred dreams to that of “[rotting] meat” (2.6.1019), crusting “syrup” (2.8.1019), and sagging “like a heavy load” (2.10.1019). These illustrations provide the reader with images of simple and ordinary tasks. Although carrying, eating, and cooking are insubstantial duties, they are necessary skills to make a living. With this, the speaker argues that dreams are a significant part of one’s life. “A Raisin in the Sun”
Cited: Hansberry, Lorraine. "A Raisin in the Sun." The Norton Introduction to Literature. By Kelly J. Mays. 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. 1470-1534. Print. Hughes, Langston. "Harlem." The Norton Introduction to Literature. By Kelly J. Mays. 11th ed. New York: W.W. Norton, 2013. 1019. Print.