In A Raisin in the Sun, how does the lighting and sound effects help tell the story?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sound effects in this play, as in all drama, are used to compliment what is going on stage and to help capture the feelings and emotions that are being experienced by the characters. In many ways, they are audible representations of the mood that is being experienced by the characters on stage. For example, in Act II scene 3, after Walter has been given the rest of the insurance money by his mother to invest in the liquor business that he has dreamed of setting up, the sound effects convey the lightness of mood and the happiness that settles on the Younger family. Notice how the stage directions present Ruth's voice before the curtain rises as "a strident, dramatic church alto":

It is, in the darkness, a triumphant surge, a penetrating statement of expectation: "Oh Lord! I don't want to feel no ways tired! Children, oh, glory hallelujah!"

Significantly, as the curtain rises, the audience sees that she is packing up the last few belongings to get ready for their move, which explains her joyful noise. In the same way, when Walter enters, he is "singing and wriggling and snapping his fingers" and he puts on some "soulful and sensuous" music which captures his happiness about being able to invest in his business project. Although the reasons for both characters' happiness are different, it is clear that the sound effects in this particular section of the play help to convey their mood and their sense of excitement and expectation.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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