Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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What are some thesis ideas about deferred dreams in A Raisin in the Sun?

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The idea of deferring one’s dreams applies to almost all of the characters in Lorraine Hansberry’s play, so each writer’s choice of thesis will vary. Many readers consider Walter to be the protagonist, as he dreams big and is often frustrated. For Beneatha, the play’s ending leaves many issues unresolved, so the question of deferral applies to her very differently than to her brother. Mama is the character whose dream seems to be fulfilled, so another type of thesis could emphasize the earlier deferrals that had led up to her ability to realize her dream,.

Another way to approach the play is by focusing on the entire family rather than any one character. An effective thesis could address the ways that deferral of individual dreams contributes to the realization of the family’s dream. Mama is central in this approach in that she succeeds in reaching her dream because it included everyone; more than anyone else, she seems to consider the family as a cohesive unit. Home ownership is only part of what she hoped to achieve; having a large, secure space where all the Youngers could live together was what really mattered to her. In this regard, Walter succeeds as well, in that he assumes his place as head of the family. When he starts thinking about what is best for the family, not just getting what he wants, he achieves aspects of a dream that he had set aside: being a better husband and, especially, a good role model and inspiration for his son. The family’s new situation suggests that Travis’s dreams may not need to be deferred.

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