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A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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What exciting moment in A Raisin in the Sun is developed using a specific literary device?

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Many exciting moments occur in A Raisin in the Sun, though not all of them are exciting in that they are positive, rather they are exciting because they are dramatic.

For example, the author, Lorraine Hansbury, begins to develop the conflict in Act I, scene ii when Walter comes...

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home and asks his mother, Mrs. Younger, for money to invest in a liquor store with his friend Willy Harris. Walter's mother and wife,Ruth, both know that this is another "get rich quick" scheme and that it is unlikely to pan out. Walter's mother would rather invest the money more responsibly and refuses to give Walter a share to put into what she thinks is a sinful business.

The scene becomes heated rather quickly. Walter feels he is being emasculated (not respected as a man). His mother feels like she is doing what is best for the family. Mean while, Ruth has just come back from a consultation with an abortion doctor. She is pregnant and afraid that her and Walter will not have enough money to care for the newborn child.

The whole scene explodes when Walter threatens to go out drinking again and Ruth tries to go with him. He tells his wife he doesn't want her near him and he storms out of the house leaving his wife in despair. As he leaves, his mother tells him he is a disgrace to his dead father's name.

Exciting? Absolutely. The drama keeps the audience on the edges of their seats.

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In Act 1 of Raisin in the Sun, Walter and Ruth argue about giving their son Travis money for school.  Walter wants to give his son money and does so in opposition to his wife's wishes. This might seem like a rather insignificant scene in the play, but it is pivotal to establishing the familiar relationships in the play.  Hansberry uses foreshadowing in this scene because it suggeststhat Walter and Ruth will have a more serious disagreement (especially in regards to children) later in the play. The scene also demonstrates indirect characterization.  The audience perceives through Walter and Ruth's conversation that Walter is a man struggling with his desire to be the man in a house "ruled" by women.  He is defiant and likely to oppose anything that his wife, mother, or sister tells him.  Similarly, Hansberry portrays Ruth through the scene as a wife who is practical but does not know how to trust her husband as a leader because he seems to make foolish decisions about money.

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