Identify how racial discrimination in the 1950s gives greater meaning to A Raisin in the Sun.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The original question had to be edited.  I would suggest that racial discrimination significantly enhances the meaning of Hansberry's play.  Racial discrimination is the force that strikes at many of the characters' dreams.  Their abilities to dream are directly impacted by racial discrimination.  If racial discrimination was absent, the challenge intrinsic to dreams would not be revealed.  It is here in which meaning is evident.

Consider the family's desire to move to Clybourne Park.  The entire premise of this move is based on the idea that their lives can be made better with a move out of where they live.  The aspirations for something better is challenged by Lindner's racism, and the hopes of the Younger family in a better tomorrow is directly opposed by racism.  Racial discrimination and the hurdles that come along with it represent the challenge to the family's ability to dream.  In seeing how it is portrayed through Lindner and what the Youngers have to endure, Hansberry is able to construct greater meaning behind what it means to dream.  The ability to dream is something praised and lauded precisely because racial discrimination threatens it.  The racial discrimination of the 1950s into the 1960s is a condition in which people's dreams could not be fully recognized. This is where racial discrimination gives greater meaning in the play. In illuminating this with the Younger family, Hansberry is able to construct a narrative in which the power to dream is something that might be threatened by racial discrimination, but. through the will of the Younger family, is not denied because of it.