This play, by black, female playwright Lorraine Hansberry, tells the story of the Younger family who are all trying to achieve their individual dreams, and in the process find out what is really important to each one of them.
The play opens on a the only setting of the play -- the Younger family apartment where Mama Younger, her son Walter and his wife and son live, along with Walter's sister Beneatha. Mama has just received the life insurance check after Big Walter's death, and she tells that family that it is her dream to own a real house for the family. Along with that dream, she also intends to pay for Beneatha's college education. Walter has other dreams though. The play focuses on Walter and his maturation through he experiences in the play. He begs his mother for a portion of the money so that he can start his own business and have something to call his own. He wants to start of liquor store, which Mama doesn't approve of. Mama eventually relents and gives a portion of the money to Walter, but he ends up making a bad decision which jeopardizes all of the family's dreams. The play is about ultimately about Walter coming to a clear understanding of what being a man is truly about. The play uses Beneatha as a foil to Walter. She is someone who wants to embrace her Black heritage and better discover that aspect of where she comes from, while also taking advantage of the opportunities for self-improvement through education that are available to her. The play looks at all sides of the metaphorical question: What happens to a raisin in the sun? -- which is an allusion to a poem by the same name, written by Langston Hughes.