A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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Look closely at Karl Lindner's speech when he talks to the Youngers in A Raisin in the Sun. What do you notice about the way he uses language?

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Lindner's speech to the Youngers is characterised by euphemisms, hesitations, and verbal utterances, which reveal both his character but also the rather delicate nature of the task that he has been entrusted with. Note that the text introduces him as "a gentle man; thoughtful and somewhat laboured in his manner." This is something that is shown through the use of hesitations, indicated by dashes, that slow down his speech and show he is trying to pick his words carefully. Note the following example and how dashes and euphemisms are used to convey the rather sensitive nature of his visit to the Younger family:

And we also have the category of what the association calls--(He looks elsewhere)--uh--special community problems...

This is a classic example of Lindner's speech. He is approaching here the heart of the matter, and thus uses the euphemism of "special community problems" followed by an elipsis to hint at the real reason of his visit. Note also the verbal utterance, "uh," which again shows his nervousness and how it is difficult for him to find the right words. The stage direction likewise supports this, suggesting that Lindner is almost ashamed of the offer he is about to make.

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