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Why does the author go to such lengths to describe the furnishings of the Younger...

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jpmcas | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM via web

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Why does the author go to such lengths to describe the furnishings of the Younger family’s apartment in A Raisin in the Sun and what do these furnishings and the state they are in say about the family’s lives?

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e-martin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 15, 2013 at 1:26 PM (Answer #1)

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The furniture and the conditions of the small apartment where Youngers live both literally describes the family's life and symbolizes the spiritual and emotional difficulties they face.

Worn down by poverty and cramped by limited professional opportunities, the Younger family can no longer pretend that their family life is sustainable in this dark place. There are too many people to share such a small space.

"Its furnishings are typical and undistinguished and their primary feature now is that they have clearly had to accomodate the living of too many people for too many years."

Literally, the living conditions in the small apartment are disappointing at best. Dark, small, and crowded, the apartment offers little comfort to the family.

Symbolically, the legacy of Walter Sr. is worn thin as well, in terms of the dignity, the material accumulations, and even the insurance payment the family is awaiting. The family relies on these things, but by the end of the play they come to see that the wear-and-tear they have put on the old rug matches the wear-and-tear that they have suffered in their emotional lives. 

...though everything is regularly cleaned, the furniture is simply too old and worn to bring joy or beauty into the Youngers' lives...(eNotes)

The description of the apartment is important also in that it clearly demonstrates exactly what the Youngers hope to leave behind by moving into a new home. 

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