What do you think accounts for the continuing popularity of A Raisin in the Sun?
In 1959, this play was considered a realistic portrayal of a contemporary problem, yet it has continued to be produced on stage and film.
One of the lasting impacts of this play is the idea that the notion of "America" is a different one to different people. Part of this play's power lies in the idea that it examines "the dream" from the point of view of the economically challenged and individuals who might not be featured in the upper echelon of American society. The Younger Family's trials in both economic and social frames of reality are experiences that are felt by many families from different walks of life. Hansberry's work was so powerful because it broke through in its discussion of the "American neighborhood." The belief of what constitutes a "neighborhood" was brought out in this play, as individuals were forced to reconsider their notion of racial acceptance and being open to inclusive diversity as a part of what "America" is seen as.
While some of the segregation and racial tensions from Raisin have mostly disappeared, the play still addresses universal human issues which allows it to appeal to a wide array of audiences. For example:
1. Beneatha's search for identityas a college student is one that most humans have experienced. Consider how many college students switch from one major to another, just as Beneatha changes from one interest to another.
2. Walter and Mama's struggle for authorityis also a conflict with which most sons can relate, especially if they have ever lived in their parents' home as adults. Walter's struggle for recognition as a man is even more evident because he, as the head of his household, still has to live under his mother's roof.
3. The desire to have a place of one's own appeals to most humans--whether it's a home with no landlord telling you how to live or owning a business with no boss breathing down your neck.
Finally, Hansberry includes a great deal of humor in the play which provides comic relief while allowing the audience to ponder serious issues.