Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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Write a short analysis of the beginning of A Raisin in the Sun to the end of act 1, scene 2.

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An analysis of act 1, scenes 1 and 2 of A Raisin in the Sun could include attention to the play’s central problem, the characters’ relationships and their apparent connection to this problem, the elements of plot development, and the literary qualities.

The entire play is set in the Youngers’ small apartment; this setting is very important and is closely connected to the central problem. An analysis of the first two scenes could also address the setting as Lorraine Hansberry describes it. An assessment of the literary qualities would include her stage directions as well as the dialogue.

During the first two scenes, the crowded conditions in the apartment are immediately established and then connected to the family’s limited financial resources. As the adult characters appear, their differing attitudes are revealed toward the central problem: how best to spend Walter Senior’s insurance policy proceedings.

Ruth, Walter, Lena, Beneatha, and young Travis are introduced, and the differences in their personalities are apparent. Walter Junior’s scheme for using the money is established. In scene 2, the negative aspects of the larger setting of their neighborhood are also conveyed by Travis playing with a rat. Other significant characters, such as Bobo and George Murchison, are discussed, and Joseph Asagai comes to the apartment.

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