A Raisin in the Sun Questions and Answers
by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun book cover
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Does A Raisin in the Sun ultimately answer Langston Hughes's question, "What happens to a dream deferred?" Does A Raisin in the Sun ultimately answer Langston Hughes's question, "What happens to a dream deferred?"

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Bruce Bergman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It seems to me that reading the play as an extension of the poem and an exploration of the questions posed therein might be a bit more helpful than reading the play as an answer to the questions of Hughes' poem.

The poem presents us with the notion that a dream can be a challenge, a burden, a weight when it is not fulfilled. The Youngers have a dream of moving out of poverty in a very literal way. This dream presents a very real challenge to the family as many road-blocks emerge as they move toward achieving this dream.

Walter cannot see past his own limitations. Beneatha cannot find any redemption within the confines of the family. The neighborhood where the Youngers plan to move is resistant to that prospect. The dream of moving out of poverty is certainly deferred.

The characters are embittered by this deferment. They are beaten. They are hopelss, at points. But they don't give up in the end. And they decide that it's time to stop holding on to a dream. It's the dreams that have eluded them...

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There is no distinguished answer to the question, though the play dives deep into the elements of this question.