What role does race play in A Raisin in the Sun?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Lorraine Hansberry's celebrated play A Raisin in the Sun is set in the South Side of Chicago during the 1950s, which was a time when African Americans suffered from racial discrimination and the Civil Rights Movement was gaining traction. Hansberry's play illustrates the struggles many black families experienced in America during the 1950s and explores the deferred dreams of black citizens, who were unable to attain their goals and aspirations due to significant racial bias and prejudiced obstacles. The title of her play also alludes to Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem," which explores how African Americans cope with their deferred dreams in a prejudiced society.

Racial discrimination and oppression play a significant role in the lives of Lena, Walter Jr., and Beneatha. The main characters live in poverty and struggle to attain their seemingly rational goals due to racial prejudice. For example, Walter Jr. is forced to work as a lowly chauffeur because he is a black man, who is economically...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 965 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team