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What was the writing style of the author in A Raisin in the Sun?

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mellyybee123 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 1, 2011 at 12:57 AM via web

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What was the writing style of the author in A Raisin in the Sun?

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mstultz72 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 1, 2011 at 11:09 AM (Answer #1)

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Because A Raisin in the Sun is a live play, Lorrainne Hansberry uses multiple writing styles, depending on her characters and settings.  Overall, she uses oral/aural rhetorical conventions to appeals to her actors' voices and her audiences' ears.  She blends everyday speech with elevated language to show both the frustration and pathos of urban civil rights era daily life.

Mama's style is full of symbolism as she references her domestic life (the plant is a major symbol here).  She also makes allusions to Booker T. Washington and the Bible.  Most interestingly, she speaks to herself a lot, almost as if her dead husband is still there.  Even though she is uneducated, her speech is filled with reflection and wisdom.  Ruth's style is also filled with domestic references, although she is much less reflective.

Walter's style is more direct and macho.  He is more concerned with his own wants (to own his own liquor store) and less about the memory of his father or his wife's pregnancy.  For most of the play, his speech is that of a whining child; then, he finally finds his voice when he proudly takes a stand against Mr. Linder.

Beneatha's style is more outspoken, because she is the only one who has gone to college.  She represents the burgeoning feminist and Black Nationalist rhetoric of the civil rights era, even singing and dancing wildly.  In the end, though, her style is mostly a mouthpiece for the movements that she idealizes and not for the actions she takes.

Taken together, Hansberry achieves an ensemble of diverse voices and styles, deftly blending them to comment on Civil Rights, the American dream, and gender roles within a family.

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