Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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What does the house symbolize in A Raisin in the Sun?

The house in Raisin in the Sun symbolizes Lena's personal dream, social mobility, and hope for the family. It also symbolizes the family's unwillingness to bend to racism when they refuse to sell the house to the white community.

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The Younger family's new home in the white neighborhood of Clybourne Park symbolizes Lena 's personal dream, significant social mobility, and hope for the family. When Lena receives her husband's ten thousand dollar insurance check, she puts a down payment on a spacious home in Clybourne Park. It is her...

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dream to leave their tiny, outdated apartment in the South Side of Chicago and move into a comfortable home.

Once Walter Jr. discovers that his mother used some of the money to purchase a new home, he becomes deeply depressed and begins to drink heavily. Lena ends up sympathizing with her son and gives him the remainder of the insurance money to invest in a liquor business. Unfortunately, Walter's business partner steals the money, and Walter is forced to make a decision regarding whether or not to sell Lena's new home.

At the end of the play, Walter becomes a man by demonstrating integrity and refusing to sell the home back to the white community. The play ends with the Younger family preparing to move into the new home. The new home in Clybourne Park symbolically represents Lena's personal dream. She had always imagined moving out of their tiny apartment and has now fulfilled her dream.

The home also symbolically represents social mobility, as the Younger family climbs the social ladder and attains a new status in a wealthier community. The Younger family's new home also represents hope for their family and brighter days ahead. Although they must still overcome racial barriers, the Younger family is heading in the right direction and making small steps towards a better future.

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The house is a symbol of stability and social mobility. With it, the Younger family has a chance to move to a nicer place, to live a stable life, and to experience upward social mobility.

After Walter Younger dies, the family has an insurance check. Lena, the mother, decides to purchase a house with some of the money. She gives the rest to her son, who loses it. The only way he can recoup enough money to fix things is to sell the home and Lena purchased. The neighborhood association where they're planning to move would purchase the house to keep a black family from moving in.

However, the house represents the best hope for the family. It gets them out of Chicago and gives them a new place to grow from. It's a way for them to turn away from the negativity of their past and find a healthy, happier future. Moving doesn't guarantee success because of the threat of prejudice in the new neighborhood, but it is a chance to get something better for themselves.

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The home that Lena purchases symbolically represents a hope for a better future, a collective family dream, and the uncertain obstacles that they will face in the future. Initially, each of the family members has their own separate dreams of spending the ten thousand dollar insurance check that Lena receives after her husband passes away. While Lena wishes to upgrade the family's living situation by purchasing a home in the white neighborhood of Clybourne Park, Walter Jr. wishes to invest the money in a liquor business, and Beneatha dreams of using the money to pay for her college education to become a doctor. Eventually, Lena puts a down payment on the home and gives Walter the rest of the money, which he loses to a con man. Walter Jr. then makes the difficult decision to not sell Lena's home back to the white community, who is unhappy that a black family is moving into their neighborhood. After Walter tells Mr. Lindner to leave their apartment, their new home in Clybourne Park awaits them. With the family repaired and focused on living a comfortable, safe life in Clybourne Park, the home symbolically represents the renewed spirit of the Younger family, their collective dream of living comfortably, and a hope for a better future. Despite the many positives attached to the new home, there are also feelings of uncertainty about moving into an all-white neighborhood.

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The house represents the hope for a positive change, a hope which will keep the family together. 

Initially Mama and Ruth are the only two characters that see the house this positive way. Walter and Beneatha do not prefer the house as means of improvement for the life of the family early in the play. Later, they come to see the house as Mama and Ruth do.

The house that Mama buys stands in direct contrast to the small apartment where the family has lived for so long. Cramped, dark, and worn, the apartment symbolizes the family's history of material struggles. The new house, oppositely, represents new possibillities, a literal expansion of space. 

Additionally, the new house represents a significant risk. Mama is taking a chance on her family by putting a down-payment on the house, calculating that an improvement in conditions can lead to an improvement in relations. 

 It is apparent it is not going to be easy for them; it might be very dangerous. But the people are transformed, and not afraid.

She hopes the diginity of home ownership and the physical improvement of conditions will make life better for the whole family and help each of them to find value in themselves. 

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What does the new house signify to each of the Youngers in A Raisin in the Sun?

Initially, the new house in Clybourne Park represents an obstacle that impedes both Walter Jr. and Beneatha's dreams. Walter Jr. wishes to use the money from Lena's insurance check to invest in his liquor business and opposes her plans to buy the home in Clybourne Park. While Beneatha does not overtly reject her mother's dream, she expresses her desire to enroll in college to become a doctor. One could surmise that Beneatha would rather use Lena's money to enroll in college instead of buying a new home.

Both Walter Jr. and Beneatha are portrayed as relatively self-centered individuals, who have their own dreams and plans of spending the insurance check. While Beneatha at least recognizes that the money belongs to Lena and is hers to spend, Walter Jr. sees the money as the key to his family's financial freedom and happiness. Essentially, Walter Jr. views the home in Clybourne Park as a significant obstacle deterring his dream of entering the liquor business.

In contrast, Lena and Ruth view the home as a new beginning and fresh start to life. Both characters believe that the new home will uplift the family's spirit and inspire hope. Lena sees the home as a comfortable environment for her family to enjoy their lives while Ruth sees it as a cure for her depression. Both Lena and Ruth feel cramped and stressed in their small South Side apartment and see the new home in Clybourne Park as an escape from their tired lives.

At the end of the play, Walter Jr. experiences a significant inner change as he is about to sell the home back to the white community. He decides to keep the home and illustrates his integrity by refusing to sell the home to Mr. Lindner. By the end of the play, the entire family sees the home as a new chance at life and a new beginning to achieve their goals.

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What does the new house signify to each of the Youngers in A Raisin in the Sun?

The house does not mean the same thing to each member of the Younger family initially. However, by the close of the play the house comes to have a single meaning for the whole family, ultimately representing a chance to come together as a family. 

Walter and Beneatha are both more interested in achieving individual success and in finding some personal dignity through individual achievement. They each feel that looking outward for success is the surest way to build up a pride. They do not look at family as being a source of pride. 

This outlook carries over to the views that Walter and Beneatha initially hold regarding the prospect of buying a house. As the house is meant for the whole family, it does not seem to satisfy the individual needs of these two characters. 

For Walter, in particular, the house represents an alternative to his plan to buy a liquor store. By extension, the idea of buying a house serves to undermine his authority in the household. It is not what he wants to do. The house offers no possibility for moving up in the world financially. The house will not change Walter's position in the world as he sees it. 

For Mama and Ruth, who see the family falling apart, the house does represent a kind of possibility. The apartment is worn out, small and dark. The family is following the same arc as the apartment. 

"Its furnishings are typical and undistinguished and their primary feature now is that they have clearly had to accommodate the living of too many people for too many years."

A larger house will offer comfort to the family and may ease some of the inevitable tensions of living in a cramped space. Additionally, the new house will take the family out of the impoverished environs where they currently live. The house represents a chance for the family to remain intact.

When the family's pride is put on the line, both Beneatha and Walter begin to see the house as a means to achieving dignity. Choosing to move into the house will not only please their mother. It will demonstrate their own view of who they are and what value they hold as people and as a family.

Walter is able to prove that he has pride and dignity by refusing to be kept out of the new neighborhood. This course of action also allows Walter to choose to define himself through his family. The same is true of Beneatha.

The house, finally, becomes a symbol of hope and faith in the family structure, in the unity of the Younger family, and in the potential of the family unit to be a generative source of individual value and positive identity. Mama had worried that Walter would not be able to find this value and this pride in his family. 

As the play ends, Mama talks to Ruth about the change in Walter that happened that day; both women are very proud.

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In A Raisin in the Sun, what does the house symbolize that the Younger family hope to move into?

This question can be answered in a number of ways. First of all, consider the way in which their present abode is compared with the house that they hope to have. The place they live in at the time of the play is small, cramped and infested by insects. It has no yard. Mama's plant, which is another object with massive symbolism in the play, is not thriving in this home, because it does not have enough light and space to thrive.

By contrast, the house that they hope to move into has more space, and has a yard, which is particularly important for Mama, as she is the nurturer of the family as its matriarch. In particular, her plant symbolises her desire to see her family live in an environment where they can thrive, rather than just survive. So, in a sense, the house symbolises a fruitful future for the Younger family.

However, it also symbolises something else, too. Consider how Walter refuses the offer made by Mr. Lindner on behalf of the community where they are about to move:

We have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick. We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that’s all we got to say about that. We don’t want your money.

Therefore the house also symbolises the hard work of Walter's father and his hope of having a home for his family. Because this money has been gained through the death of Walter's father, and it has been earned through years of hard, solid labour, the house symbolises a right that the Younger family fully deserve.

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