What is a real-life example of each theme and an example from A Raisin in the Sun for each theme?1. Dreams can either says or destroy a person. 2. Values & ideals are worth fighting for. 3....

What is a real-life example of each theme and an example from A Raisin in the Sun for each theme?

1. Dreams can either says or destroy a person.

2. Values & ideals are worth fighting for.

3. We do not simply live for ourselves, but for those who came before & will come after us.

4. It is never too late to start over.

5. Only through self-respect & self-esteem can people live with themselves.

6. Materialism & money, in themselves, are worthless.

7. Families can survive any catastrophe if the members love one another & share a common goal.

8. Dreams are necessary & important, even if we don't completely realize them.

Expert Answers
jerseygyrl1983 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To find real-life examples, I would encourage you to look at your own life, or those of family members and friends. One of the best ways to relate to literature is on a personal level.

1. Dreams can either save or destroy a person:

Walter's ambition to be as well-to-do as one of the men whom he chauffeurs leads him to disregard the people who love him the most. He is upset by the news of Ruth's pregnancy because he sees another child as another hindrance to his dream of opening a liquor store. He takes a large part of the life insurance from his father's death and puts it toward the liquor store without telling his family and loses it when Willy runs off with it.

2. Values & ideals are worth fighting for:

Both Beneatha and Mama Younger are excellent examples of this, representing different generational values. Mama refuses the suggestion that Ruth should have an abortion, noting that theirs is a family that welcomes new life, no matter what. Her values are her family and her faith. When Beneatha declares that there is no God, her mother slaps her, saying that as long as she is alive, her daughter will acknowledge the existence of God. Beneatha's atheism is the result of her education, which has allowed her the opportunity to consider ideas and develop her own. Her value is to get an education and to become a doctor to rise above her poverty and, what she perceives as, her family's backwardness.

3. We do not simply live for ourselves, but for those who came before & will come after us:

Mama Younger's reaction to Ruth's pregnancy, which was positive and supportive, is evidence of this.

4. It is never too late to start over:

When Walter realizes that he has lost the life insurance money to Willy's thievery, he thinks that he has spoiled everything. However, his mother reveals that she has kept a portion and that that money will go toward a down payment on a house.

5. Only through self-respect & self-esteem can people live with themselves:

Walter is easily threatened by those who have more than him—more money, more education, more access to things in the world that seem inaccessible to him. His mother and his wife, Ruth, make decisions without him—Ruth to have the baby, his mother to buy a house with extra money she has squared away—because they know that he means well, but does not have self-respect.

6. Materialism & money, in themselves, are worthless:

Walter is excited by his scheme to open a liquor store—a plan that is easily foiled by Willy. Money can disappear just as easily as it appears due to circumstances beyond one's control.

7. Families can survive any catastrophe if the members love one another & share a common goal:

There is no "catastrophe" in this play, only the daily difficulty of living in poverty and overcrowding. They endure the lack of space and the clash of values between family members because they love one another.

8. Dreams are necessary & important, even if we don't completely realize them:

All of the characters strive for something more beyond the tenement and are willing to work very hard and to sacrifice in exchange for more space, for success, or for happiness. The family moves into Clybourne Park, knowing that they are not wanted there, because they want to buy a house at a fair price (which was elusive to most black people in Chicago and other major cities at the time, due to the practice of redlining). Their dignity prevents them from accepting a financial offer from the community to buy another house in a black neighborhood. Ideally, people are welcomed wherever they move, but this is not always the case. The family accepts that its dream of owning a house is bittersweet, due to the racism of their future neighbors, but they are grateful to have a space that is theirs.

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Check some current events for real-life examples; here are brief examples of these themes from the play.

1. Dreams can either save or destroy a person.--Walter is saved by his dreams because they indirectly allow him to have a better relationship with his family.  Bobo, on the other hand, seems to be destroyed by his dream because he loses all his life savings.

2. Values & ideals are worth fighting for.--Beneatha believes that she should have an emotional connection with a significant other, so she stops seeing George even though her family believes that he is a good choice for her.

3. We do not simply live for ourselves, but for those who came before & will come after us.--Mama believes that she must honor her husband's memory and make her children's dreams come true.

4. It is never too late to start over.--Although much of the money is lost, the family still moves to Clybourne Park in search of a better life.

5. Only through self-respect & self-esteem can people live with themselves.--Mama tells Travis that his father will speak for the family when Mr. Linder arrives, and Walter changes his mind when he knows that he needs to show his son a lesson in respect and pride.

6. Materialism & money, in themselves, are worthless.--The money is so easily lost that in itself, it is worthless.  The strength of the family unit is much more important.

7. Families can survive any catastrophe if the members love one another & share a common goal.--Mama tells Beneatha that she should love people when they go through bad times, not only when they prove good.  Mama says that people need love most when there are hard times.

8. Dreams are necessary & important, even if we don't completely realize them.--Walter never realizes his dreams of owning a business during the course of the play; however, his dreams keep him spirited and looking for a brighter day.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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