A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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What literary terms relate to the theme of A Raisin in the Sun?  Identify a quote that helps to illustrate the work's theme.

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In a subplot of A Raisin in the Sun, which involves Beneatha's character development, she is defined for the viewers by two separate men who are prototypes: the well-educated and wealthy boyfriend, George Murchison, who is a model of the new black man who has attained a certain level of sophistication and financial prestige; who also mocks those who lack his advantages; and, who denies his African heritage. He is, thus, the type of black who wants to become more like the jewish or white businessman. On the other hand, there is Joseph Asagai, who embraces his African heritage and traditions, and he tries to instruct Beneatha about her history and heritage while she imitates white people, he accuses, as she straightens her hair. Also, through these two characters, the author is able to link two themes: the African struggle for independence with the African American struggle for self-identity and self-determination.

Another literary device that is employed by the author is allusion. In her play, with the futile attempts of the Younger family to move to a neighborhood marked as white only, Hansberry alludes to Hansberry v. Lee, 311 U.S. 32 (1940), a suit brought by her family because of racially motivated covenants restricting the sale of property.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Literary terms can relate to the very title of Hansberry's drama.  The title is taken from Langston Hughes's poem entitled "Harlem."  The poem begins with the fundamental question of "What happens to a dream deferred?"  From that point, Hughes uses figurative language to illustrate what he sees as the consequence of blighted hopes. A simile that Hughes uses to illustrate the painful condition of denied aspiration is the question, "Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?"  Hughes's...

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