A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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What two major social issues do you see emerging in the play "A Raisin in the Sun", and how do they affect everyone in the Younger family?

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Kristopher Parisian eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The question of pride and the difficulties of finding pride in poverty, against systematic disenfranchisement, and cultural erosion is central to the complexities of this play.

Pride, for Beneatha, is a definite goal made especially complex for race and gender issues.

For Mama, it is something taken for granted, inherent in her sense of self yet embattled. For Walter, Pride is hypothetical until the end of the play, contingent on the attainment of a new financial station which is related to racial limits and ideas of poverty.

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Lori Steinbach eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Everyone has listed the most significant social issues of the play; the one I'd like to add is not as prevalent in the story, but it's important nonetheless. Ruth has discovered she's pregnant and it's not the happy news it is for most expectant mothers.  She understands this means one more mouth to feed, one more sleeping space to find, and one more child to worry about growing up in this rather depressing environment.  She visits a female "doctor," and she has put a deposit down on an abortion procedure.  This was a social taboo, of course; but more importantly, this went against her own cultural, family, and personal beliefs.  This was obviously not an easy decision for Ruth, but she felt trapped in a way few of us understand.  We're thankful right along with them when the Youngers are able to find some hope--which means Ruth can do what she wants to do rather than what she felt she must do.

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#4 is right in identifying some of the main social issues that are referred to implicitly or explicitly in the play. Certainly in my mind the two issues that stand out most are that of gender roles. Bennie in the play is a woman who is not content with merely fulfilling the role that society would have her play. She would be happy to marry a man like George Murchison if she were and certainly would not be trying to achieve the post of doctor in such a white-dominated and male-dominated society.

Likewise the racism expressed mainly in the form of Karl Linder was highly topical, and yet in this as in gender stereotypes the Younger family seem determined to fight for a better life, even going against the advice and warnings of both white and black communities.

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Certainly racism is the largest social issue in this play.  It appears in a variety of ways.  First, consider the jobs that the characters hold;  Walter Lee is a chauffeur, and Mama and Ruth are domestic workers.  For poor African-Americans, who lacked education, these were the only options - working in...

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