A raisin in the Sun

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A Raisin in the Sun

  • by Lorraine Hansberry


  • Before you read…

Who is Lorraine Hansberry??

  • ~Chicago
  • ~Father successful business man
  • ~Difficulties while growing up (restrictive covenants)
  • ~Educated
  • ~Becoming a writer
  • ~Success
  • ~Death
  • **Tonight’s Homework #1: find 1-2 pieces of information online about Hansberry or this play that are important for us to know as we begin.

A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

  • ~sparked a vigorous movement in black theater

A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes

  • What happens to a dream deferred?
  • Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet?
  • Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
  • Or does it explode?

Questions to Think About…

  • 1. List 2-3 goals (or dreams) under the following headings~
  • a. One-year dreams:
  • b. Five-year dreams:
  • c. Twenty-five year dreams:
  • 2. Pick on of your biggest dreams. Imagine that making that dream come true will take 10 years longer than you thought.
  • ~How would you deal with this disappointment?
  • ~How would this postponement affect your friends & family?
  • ** Tonight’s Homework #2:
  • ~read intro to play (p.829-830)
  • ~take notes on pertinent information


  • 1. Turn in Homework
  • 2. First Reading:
  • ~Scene One p.830-841
  • ~Scene Two p.842-850
  • ** Tonight’s Homework #1:
  • ~finish reading Scene Two


A Raisin in the Sun…context

  • ~Hansberry v. Lee (1940)
  • **tribute to her father
  • ~poor family…desperate situation
  • internal & external conflict
  • psychology & sociology

ACT ONE: Questions to Think About…

  • Critical Thinking:
  • 1. On p.834, Walter makes a blanket statement about “colored women”? Explain. (Irony)
  • 2. When Walter leaves for work, how could you express Walter’s thoughts thus far about the check in one sentence?
  • 3. Are you surprised that Ruth suggests Walter’s idea to his mother? Explain.


  • 1. How does Mama’s plant “growing doggedly” (p.836) symbolize the people in this play?
  • 2. What comparison does Mama draw between the plant and her children? (p.841)


  • 1. On p.838, Mama describes her late husband. How does she characterize him?
  • 2. How do her words about her husband help to characterize herself?
  • 3. What differences exist between Ruth & Beneatha when it comes to marrying a man with money? (p.840)
  • 4. How similar are Beneatha and her brother Walter? How are they different?


  • 1. Reading: Act Two


  • 1. Quiz Act Two
  • 2. Discussion Questions

ACT TWO: Questions to Think About

  • Critical Thinking:
  • 1. On p.857, Walter asks, “Ruth, what is it gets into people ought to be close?” When they try to talk about why they are having such problems, they reach no conclusion. What do you think the playwright wants us to understand as the cause of their problems?
  • 2. What creates the conflict between Beneatha & George?
  • 3. Scene 3 is full of reversals, in which sudden shifts take place in the fortunes of the main characters. Discuss the reversals in this scene. What is the mood at the beginning of this scene and at the end?


Discussion Question #1

  • How does the play A Raisin in the Sun mirror the social, educational, political, and economical climate of the 1950’s and how does the play illustrate the impact this climate had on African Americans' quest for "The American Dream?"

Discussion Question #2

  • The movie director Spike Lee writes “We all have to ask ourselves, have things gotten any better than when the play was written? I have to say that I think they’ve gotten worse.”
  • Tell why you agree or disagree with Lee’s statement.
  • Are the issues raised by the play still pertinent in the United Stated today or are the issues raised in the play outdated?



  • 1. Movie

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