A RAISIN IN THE SUN: "The theme of the American Dream that pervades the play." Who? What are their dreams?*ALSO* Can someone describe to me the internal and external conflicts of Walter, Ruth,...

A RAISIN IN THE SUN: "The theme of the American Dream that pervades the play." Who? What are their dreams?

*ALSO* Can someone describe to me the internal and external conflicts of Walter, Ruth, Beneatha, and Mama?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The presence of the American Dream does permeate much of the play.  Each primary character in the play seeks to appropriate the "American Dream" in their own lives.  The challenge becomes the obvious social, psychological, and economic elements that must be navigated in order to fully embrace that which is theirs.  For Walter, his dream of owning a liquor store comes into conflict with what he knows has to be done for the welfare of his family.  Beneatha feels compelled to pursue her own vision of the dream despite the conditions of being a woman and possessing one foot in the notion of being "American" and another in the world of her own identity of being Black.  Ruth's vision of her dream of the best life for her family is challenged by her desire to keep the family together, while understanding her own needs.  Finally, Mama Younger must reconcile her own vision of a past that is quickly receding into the distance with a conception of reality that might not be supporting the family in the best way possible. Her cashing the life insurance check from her dead husband in order to purchase a house for the family is a representation of the challenge of holding on to the past while guiding the present into the future.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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