A Raisin in the Sun was considered a realistic portrayal of a contemporary problem, yet it has continued to be produced on stage and film. What do you think accounts for its continuing popularity?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are a couple of reasons that the play is as relevant today as it was when it was first produced.  The most jarring of these is that we still live in a world where socio- economic stratification is still a reality. The historical context in which Hansberry first writes the drama is not that different from where things are today.  There are still "bad" parts of urban centers and people wish to move into the "better" parts.  There is still resistance to such a move and while the pronouncement of this reality might not be on the level of a Lindner warning that "you people" should be aware of "what you're getting into," there is still resistance to the betterment of one's life and the life for one's family.  While this is still relevant, the collusion of race and class as barriers that help to make mobility difficult is another reality that has not changed.  This also helps to make the play almost timeless in its articulation of how both social conditions are still present in the lives of the modern individual. I think that another reason why the drama continues to find an audience is because Walter's choice lies at the heart of this struggle.  He must choose to take Lindner's money and be disrespected in the process or accept difficulty and have his dignity in the process.  While there is much in the drama about barriers that challenge hopes for the future, there is a resounding message that one's dignity becomes the basis for all such action and the more one acts in accordance to this, the better off one will be.  This adds to the fact that the play has resounded with audiences since its initial production.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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