What does the word "raisin" in the title "A Raisin in the Sun" symbolize?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title itself comes from the Langston Hughes poem, " A Dream Deferred."  The poem articulates the conditions of dreams that have been silenced and examines how this impacts individuals who must deal with these implications.  The poem opens with the question, "What happens to a dream deferred?"  From this point, it examines the different ways dreams are set aside and refuse to be acknowledged and nurtured.   One of the postulations that seek to articulate the nature of the question is "Does it dry up- like a raisin in the sun?"  The image present in such an analysis is that at one point in time, a grape was on the vine, soaking up the rays and heat energy of the sun.  However, if one does not take care of this grape, and at some point, provide some respite from the constant and consistent heat, pressure, and intensity of the sun's rays, it will dry up and shrivel away, no longer the ripened and succulent fruit filled with juices, as much as something that is a hollow shell of what once was.  The drama of the Younger family, seeking to navigate their own vision of success and happiness in a social setting that is applying its own sense of pressure on economic, racial, and cultural grounds helps to illuminate the idea that all dreams and all people, at some point, need to have shelter from the intense elements that seek to defer and deter the accomplishment of dreams.

Read the study guide:
A Raisin in the Sun

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question