A Raisin in the Sun Questions and Answers
by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What does the new house symbolize? How does that differ from the current Younger apartment?

Expert Answers info

price7781 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write668 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Arts

The small house that the Youngers are able to purchase through Mr. Younger’s life insurance policy symbolizes the American dream and their ability to get up and out of the situation in which they live. The apartment is cramped and small and is shared by five family members. The entire family is on top of each other, and there is very little privacy. These tight quarters have caused a lot of bickering and arguing between the five family members; Walter and Ruth are constantly fighting, and Beneatha and Mama disagree over Beneatha’s attempt to “find herself”.    It is only a two-bedroom apartment where Beneatha and Mama share a bedroom, and Walter and Ruth share the other.  Travis, Walter and Beneatha’s son, must sleep on the couch.  They also share a bathroom that is down the hall from their apartment with other residents of the apartment building.  We also find out that Ruth is pregnant, and Ruth is probably concerned about how they will fit a newborn into the small apartment. 

The apartment is located in the slums of the south side of Chicago.  Mama’s dream to move out of the slums drives her desire to find a small house where the influences of the inner city won’t affect the family.  To Mama, a house symbolizes success and a chance to improve their lives.  The small apartment is oppressive, much like the racist society the family must navigate to succeed.   The apartment traps and confines the family, and it symbolizes their inability to break out and achieve their personal dreams.   Mama just wants what is best for her family, and she feels that moving out of the slums is the first step to their happiness.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial