A Raisin in the Sun Masterpieces of Women's Literature A Raisin in the Sun Analysis
by Lorraine Hansberry

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Masterpieces of Women's Literature A Raisin in the Sun Analysis

Hansberry, using the physical move from the ghetto as the fulcrum for the discussion of the African American place in the world of the 1950’s, has carefully avoided a number of pitfalls. Most important, although the white Lindner is far from an admirable character, it is a black man, Willy Harris, who is the real villain of the piece. In addition, it is Walter Lee’s overeagerness to move into a world he sees as the white man’s world which makes him such easy prey for Willy.

Furthermore, even Beneatha, who seems to be free from the restraints that the segregated society attempts to impose, has been lured into some imitative behavior, such as “expressing herself” through expensive hobbies that she drops in quick succession. Near the end of the play, Asagai accuses her of using her brother’s loss of her tuition money as an excuse for giving up her dream.

A major theme of A Raisin in the Sun is love, particularly love of children in African American families. Lena speaks of a child she and Big Walter had “lost to poverty,” and she appeals to Walter Lee to persuade Ruth that there is no need to abort her baby. Actually, everything Lena does she does out of love for her children, even if she is oblivious to the fact that exercising her rights as matriarch is not the best way to do so, particularly because of her son. After Walter Lee’s defeat, it is Lena who admonishes Beneatha that the time to love a person is “when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in hisself ’cause the world done whipped him so.”

In the scenes between Asagai and Beneatha, there is a sense of what Hansberry said in her play Les Blancs (posthumously produced in 1970) about black revolutions in Africa not always being...

(The entire section is 467 words.)