Take notes on the play, including all items below, on looseleaf paper. Be sure to label them clearly

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Name: ________________________________ Score: ___/100 (2: Organization, 38: Questions, 60: Essay)

English 1

Due Date: ________

A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry

Reading Guide

Main Characters: Describe the main characters in notes format.

1. Ruth Younger

2. Travis Younger

3. Walter Lee Younger

4. Beneatha Younger

5. Lena Younger (Mama)

6. Joseph Asagai

7. George Murchison

8. Mrs. Johnson

9. Karl Lindner

10. Bobo

11. Two Moving Men

12. Walter Younger

13. Willy
14. Setting: Describe the setting in notes format.

Allusions, Words and Phrases: These are period expressions that may cause confusion and make the play difficult at times to understand. While there are many allusions, especially to the Bible and African history and culture, here are some of the major ones featured.
Define these in notes format.
Act I, Scene 1:

15. crocheted doilies

16. a settled woman

17. slubbornness (also called a portmanteau word)

18. fly-by-night proposition

19. I don’t want that on my ledger.

20. My girl didn’t come in today.
Act I, Scene 2

21. Hay-lo

22. We’ve all got acute ghetto-itis.

23. Mr. Asagai, I am looking for my identity.

24. You don’t have to ride to work on the back of nobody’s streetcar.
Act II, Scene 1

25. The lion is waking.

26. Owimoweh

27. Prometheus

28. Gimme some sugar then

29. never been ‘fraid of no crackers
Act II, Scene 2

30. Drop the Garbo routine.

31. He’s got a conked head.

32. the nature of quiet desperation (“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.”)

33. peckerwoods

34. Booker T. Washington
Act II, Scene 3

35. hand-turned hems

36. Thirty pieces and not a coin less.

37. Scarlett O’Hara

38. spread some money ‘round

39. Monsieur le petit bourgeois noir

40. peachy keen, as the ofay kids say

41. sharecroppers

42. You done write his epitaph too.
Literary Terms: Explain how these terms relate to the play, its characters and its main events.

43. didactic literature

44. propaganda

45. protagonist

46. hero

47. antagonist

48. conflict

49. suspense, surprise and how it affects the plot

50. unity of action

51. significant action

52. rising action, climax, falling action and denouement

53. peripety or reversal

54. portmanteau word

55. motivation

56. flat character

57. round character

58. Hamartia and hubris

59. rhetorical question

60. irony

61. dramatic irony

Short Answer Questions: Choose any three to answer in full details. These will require you to write your answer in paragraphs. Be sure to include details from the play to back up your answer.
Include the number of the question you are answering. You may want to consider taking notes as we read, using a list or chart.

  1. In literature, as in life, a character may search for a better way of life. Show how two characters from A Raisin in the Sun are searching for a better way of life. Explain what each character is hoping to gain through this search and discuss the ways in which each character attempts to bring about a change in his or her life.

  1. Discuss the ways in which the setting of A Raisin in the Sun has a profound effect upon two of the characters.

  1. If people can be divided into three groups -- those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened -- apply each of these to the three characters in A Raisin in the Sun who respectively prove that this is so.

  1. Often, pressure from other people or from outside forces might compel a person to take an action that he or she might not have taken ordinarily. Discuss a character from A Raisin in the Sun who was pressured into taking an action that he or she might not have taken on his or her own.

  1. Show how A Raisin in the Sun deals with the generation gap -- the problems that the older generation have in dealing with the younger generation and vice versa.

  1. Discuss the ways in which two characters in A Raisin in the Sun have made adjustments to negative aspects of their environment. These adjustments might be to the character’s physical surroundings, to other people, or to the customs and traditions of the society in which they live.

  1. Sometimes something as seemingly trivial as a meeting or a conversation between two people can have a lasting effect upon the life of one or even of both of them. Discuss how either a seemingly unimportant meeting or a casual conversation brings about a significant change in the life of one of the characters in A Raisin in the Sun.

  1. Sometimes in one work of literature, we might find two characters who contrast markedly from one another. Discuss two characters from A Raisin in the Sun who are the opposite of each other in their views, beliefs and philosophy of life.

  1. Add another ending to the already existing ending of A Raisin in the Sun. Describe what you think happens next -- after the Youngers have left their Southside Chicago apartment and have moved into their new house. Consider using Hansberry’s style and dialogue of the characters to show your plot.

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