In Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, when characters quote from or reference the Bible do they tend to allude to a consistent theme?

Expert Answers
kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think one thing that you need to consider is the specificity of your question. When you say "The Bible", do you specifically mean the religious text, or do you generally mean the Christian religion and God? 

Some general themes that are present through biblical allusions are ultimatums and betrayals. I would encourage you to find evidence for these big ideas and to explain how/why quotations from the text actually feature them. Some suggested areas for you to look: 

  • Walter and Ruth's first conversation in I.ii, when Ruth disparages Walter's dreams
  • Beneatha's comments about George Murchinson and whether or not she would marry him in III
  • Beneatha's demanded price of Mr. Lindner when he offers to buy the house from Mama in II.iii

To be able to fully answer this question, here is my suggested format for you: 

  1. Find evidence in A Raisin in the Sun, either the quotations I suggested or others. 
  2. Do some research on Biblical quotations whose words or ideas match those referenced by Hansberry. 
  3. Explain how, through this connection to the Bible, the line from ARITS displays the theme of betrayal or of ultimatum. When I say explain, I don't just mean identify the fact that it is "there". Actually prove that the idea's presence in ARITS is made stronger or better by the biblical allusion. 
kcoleman2016 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Characters do tend to allude to the themes of betrayal and ultimatum when referencing or directly quoting the Bible. Each of the bulleted examples above features these themes:

  • Ruth quotes the Bible, insinuating that Walter, like fraudulent prophets of the past, would lead them to a worse place than where they are now.
  • Beneatha would not marry George if he were Adam and she were Eve.
  • Beneatha asks for 30 pieces of silver for the home, the same amount paid to Judas for betraying Jesus.

Be sure that when you answer your teacher, you don't just say "Yes, the theme is [x]". The numbered steps I gave you below are a helpful tip on how to format your response.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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