A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun book cover
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How does the title "Raisin In The Sun" apply to the story? Raisins are grapes that shrivel up, right?

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The title of A Raisin In The Sun comes from the third line of Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem." "Harlem" is a free-verse poem comprised of six possible answers to the question posed in the first line:

What happens to a dream deferred?

The first answer offered, which contains the title of the play by Lorraine Hansberry, is this:

Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?

From the very surface of the subject matter, we can see that the two works are related—Hansberry's work centers on a family of people attempting to achieve their dreams and being beaten down by circumstance. The context of the poem makes the title still more significant against the play's depiction of the hardship imposed on Black people and families by American white supremacy and racism.

The Harlem Renaissance was a period in the 1920s characterized by its enthusiastic celebration of Black history and life, and resulting in a multitude of artistic works made by African American people, for African American people. Langston...

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