What do the worn furniture and worn carpet in A Raisin in the Sun's setting most likely reflect?

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price7781 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Because the play, A Raisin in the Sun, is a story about the inability and hardships of a black family trying to live the American dream, the worn furniture and carpet are symbolic of the struggle they have endured in trying to achieve their dreams.  The family is poor, however, all attempts to better themselves have failed due to poor decisions and to the discrimination and oppression of blacks during this time period.  The family has not had much success, and it shows in their relationships as well as the condition of their small apartment.  Mama just wants a small house to call home, an American dream for many families.  Walter wants to become the man of the house who is able to take care of his family's needs. It has been a long, hard struggle for the Younger family, and they have almost given up.  Like the carpet and furniture, their self-esteem and motivation have been worn down by missed opportunities and the inability to get ahead.  Walter's father does leave them a $10,000.00 life insurance policy which will help fulfill a lot of the family's dreams.  Walter, unfortunately, gives the money to a friend to invest in a liquor store.  The friend runs off with the money, and Walter is once again left hopeless and emasculated.  The Youngers do end up buying a small house, and their future looks brighter, but their existence and family problems in the past are best symbolized by the condition of the furnishings that surround them.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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