Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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Act 2, Scene 3 Summary

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The next Saturday, Ruth sings happily as she continues packing the Youngers’ belongings. It is moving day, and everyone is in good spirits. As Beneatha enters, Ruth shows her the curtains she bought for the new house. She reflects joyfully on the change in Walter’s mood, telling Beneatha how they went out to the movies together and held hands for the first time in years.

Walter enters the apartment carrying a large package. He cannot contain his “newfound exuberance,” putting on a “soulful and sensuous” record and convincing Ruth to dance with him. Beneatha playfully teases the couple, but the mood is light and jubilant. When the doorbell rings, Beneatha answers it, only to be shocked by the presence of a middle-aged white man in a suit. He says he is looking for Lena Younger.

The Youngers invite the man inside. He introduces himself as Karl Lindner, a representative from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. He nervously explains that the purpose of the organization is to maintain the block, organize special projects, and greet new residents. Beneatha remains skeptical of Mr. Lindner, but Ruth and Walter listen intently to what he has to say.

Mr. Lindner explains that sometimes his association deals with “special community problems,” alluding to the bombings that Mrs. Johnson pointed out in the newspaper. The Clybourne Park Improvement Association wants to “do something about it.” This genuinely intrigues the Younger family, who all listen attentively. Mr. Lindner further explains that he feels people need to listen and talk to one another more, coming to understand the “other guy’s point of view.” The people of Clybourne Park have a “dream” of the kind of community they want to raise their children in. While Mr. Lindner admits that some of the things the residents want may be “wrong,” he asserts that they nonetheless have “the right to want to have the neighborhood [they] live in a certain kind of way.” The overwhelming feeling of the community is that Black people are happier when they live “in their own communities.”

The shocked Youngers listen on as Mr. Lindner further reassures them that “race prejudice” is not a factor and that he simply wants everyone to feel happy and comfortable. Mr. Lindner’s speech is met with derision by Beneatha and Walter, but Walter tells Mr. Lindner to continue his speech nonetheless. Mr. Lindner then informs the Youngers that the association is willing to buy them out of their house “at a financial gain.” A disgusted Walter tells Mr. Lindner to leave. Mr. Lindner asks the Youngers what they hope to gain from moving to a neighborhood where they “aren’t wanted” and remarks that “You just can’t force people to change their hearts, son.” He leaves his business card before departing.

Lena and Travis arrive home soon after, and Walter, Ruth, and Beneatha tell Lena about Mr. Lindner’s visit. They jokingly refer to him as “the welcoming committee.” Lena asks if he threatened the family, but Beneatha remarks that they “don’t do it like that anymore.”

Walter and the rest of the family then present Lena with a series of gifts: the adults have bought her brand new gardening equipment so that she will no longer have to use kitchen utensils. Travis has bought her a comically elaborate and oversized hat. When the other adults laugh at it, Lena puts it on and reassures Travis that she loves it. Lena is touched by the gifts, this being the first time in her life she has received presents that weren’t for Christmas.

Another knock at the door comes, and Walter answers it...

(This entire section contains 808 words.)

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this time. Bobo—one of Walter’s business partners—nervously greets Walter and Ruth. Walter excitedly asks Bobo about how his business trip to Springfield went. Bobo admits that there was no trip, as Willy—the mastermind behind the liquor store plan—never showed up at the train station. Confused, Walter begins speculating as to why Willy wouldn’t have shown up, wondering if perhaps he was sick or just decided to go by himself. Bobo, however, states that Willy has run away, taking both Walter’s and Bobo’s investment money.

Walter breaks down, crying out blindly for “Willy and looking for him or perhaps for help from God.” Bobo quietly apologizes before taking his leave. Lena then approaches Walter and wearily asks him if he has truly lost all of the money, including Beneatha’s portion. He admits that he never went to the bank and that it truly is completely gone. Lena begins furiously beating him, stopped only by Beneatha’s intervention. She laments that she watched Big Walter “killing himself” day after day doing backbreaking work only for Walter to lose all of it “in a day.” She folds over, begging God to give her strength.


Act 2, Scene 2 Summary


Act 3 Summary