What literary device did the author use in A Raisin in the Sun?

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Perhaps the dominant literay device is allusion, for the author uses as the title of her play a line from Langston Hughes' poem "A Dream Deferred." This poem, which I quote below, presents the central problem of the play, which concerns the frustration and possible violence that results when black people are at once promised the American Dream by virtue of being an American but denied that dream because they are black.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sources:
sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

Perhaps the dominant literay device is allusion, for the author uses as the title of her play a line from Langston Hughes' poem "A Dream Deferred." This poem, which I quote below, presents the central problem of the play, which concerns the frustration and possible violence that results when black people are at once promised the American Dream by virtue of being an American but denied that dream because they are black.

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Sources:
bmadnick's profile pic

bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

One motif is the Younger apartment as the central setting of the family's unity. It is small with only one window and cramped. It's where the kids were raised. This is where the vital activity of the family occurs throughout the play where they struggle with all their conflicts. It's appropriate that at the end, Mama stays behind to take a last look at the apartment.

As far as symbolism goes, Mama's plant is the most obvious one, representing Mama's care and dream for her family. Her dedication to the plant shows Mama's hope that her dream for the family will come true. Just as the plant has struggled to survive, so has the family.

When Beneatha cuts her hair, she cuts it and dons an afro that represents her heritage. Her new hair symbolizes her beliefs of not conforming to white society's standards as she searches for her identity by looking at the past of her roots in Africa.

Foreshadowing is used at the end of Scene One when Ruth faints. She later confirms her pregnancy which causes the family members to react in different ways. Their reactions give us a look into how their struggles affect them, but mostly how having a baby, usually a happy event in most families, affects each one of them. Their reactions tell us something about each of the characters.

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