A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the significance of the 30 pieces of silver in A Raisin in the Sun

Expert Answers info

Bruce Bergman eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseCollege Professor


calendarEducator since 2011

write3,640 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Business

In referring to thirty pieces of silver, Beneatha suggests that Lindner's offer to buy the family's new house from them is a bribe or "ransom" akin to the one that Judas accepted as payment for betraying Jesus Christ to the Romans. 

At this point in the play (Act II: iii), Mama has purchased a house in a "white neighborhood."

"Lena Younger uses her insurance money to buy a house. She has bought it, however, in a segregated area, and though she is willing to face that battle when it comes, the ominous appearance of Lindner, who wants to buy out the Youngers to avoid their moving it to Clybourne Park, threatens future difficulties" (eNotes).

Residents of the Clybourne Park neighborhood have collectively decided to make an offer to the Younger family.

Lindner is sent to deliver the offer from his "people" and to deal with the Younger family, which he repeatedly addresses through the play's last acts as "you people," objectifying the family in this way and underscoring the categorical, impersonal, race-oriented point of view that he and his offer represent.  

"Our association is prepared, through the collective effort of our people, to buy the house from you at a financial gain to your family."

Throughout this scene, Lindner defines his community as being hard-working and decent and relatively understanding. When he finally suggests that these qualities have led that community to make a "generous" offer that will collectively serve to maintain racial barriers, he does not realize either the irony of his statement or the fact that the neighborhood's decision expressly mimics the systematic racism that the family is struggling against. 

His neighborhood group seeks to unify against change in racial dynamics in Clybourne Park. The racism inherent in this point is lost on Lindner, who feels that somehow his hard-working community should not logically or effectively include other hard-working families like the Youngers. The fact that this discriminatory action is intended to be undertaken via purely financial means underscores the troublesome economic reality of a society that would keep one demographic down or excluded by utilizing its major advantage - wealth (and access to wealth).

Lindner's proposed action functionally betrays both the neighborhood's avowed virtues (by repeating racist exclusion-ism) and the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 785 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

lynnebh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2010

write1,203 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences


check Approved by eNotes Editorial