A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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What are the conflicts in A Raisin In the Sun?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One of the most pressing conflicts that the Younger family are facing is socio- economic.  Simply put, the money is not there to facilitate their dreams.  All of the Younger family experience this, to a great extent.  Walter is trapped in a job as a driver that he hates and seeks to embrace his dream of opening up a liquor store.  Ruth's job as domestic help is not sufficient to take care of the family, with a child on the way.  Beneatha moves from endeavor to endeavor, utilizing her freedom each step of the way, but recognizing that freedom costs money.  Even Travis feels the economic pinch in the opening scene when he asks for money for school.  The money that is coming to Mama Younger through the insurance check from her husband's death dominates the opening of the play because the family members see this check as helping to alleviate some of their economic challenges.  This sets the stage for most of the conflicts in the play because it represents the reality against which dreams are formed.  Hansberry constructs a setting where being a person of color and a person of challenged economic means help to develop a setting where dreams are formed.  These dreams can be denied or deferred, causing conflict and agony in the lives of the protagonists.  The ending of the play shows that these dreams might be achieved, with a sense of struggle and challenge being evident, as well.  Conflict is inevitable in these conditions.  The best that Hansberry suggests one can do is to recognize it and act with an eye fixated on the conditional and another set to what is.  Economic reality and its social construction is a part of this, causing conflict.