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The title of A Raisin in the Sun is an allusion to Langston Hughes' poem "Harlem." In the poem, the speaker is asking what happens to a dream that is not realized. One of the images Hughes uses to convey the effects of this experience is that of a raisin drying and shriveling up in the sun. In this simile, the raisin represents the dream. The dream, like the raisin, slowly starts to evaporate until all that is left is a withered shell. Hansberry's play is about a family full of dreams and hopes that too often don't come true. Her characters mirror the examples in Hughes' poem. For one, Mama dreams of a home, yet she is living in a small apartment with her children and grandchildren. She has grown old yearning to achieve this dream.
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