Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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What is the genre of the play A Raisin in the Sun?

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A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is often considered to be a realist drama.

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A Raisin in the Sun, in broadest terms, is a drama (as contrasted with a comedy). It can also be considered within several related variants of drama. These are realist drama and Modern American Realism, specifically African American Realism.

Realism, established as a strong theatrical current in the late nineteenth century, takes as its subject contemporary social problems. It also generally expresses them in media that aim for verisimilitude, the approximation of reality.

Modern American Realist drama, developed in the early to mid-twentieth century, continues in the realist tradition but expressly focuses on US social issues. In the post–World War II era, this genre is most closely associated with Arthur Miller.

African American Realism in literature is associated with Richard Wright, among others. His novel Native Son was adapted for the stage. Many plays about Black life that were staged on Broadway, however, were written by white playwrights.

A Raisin in the Sun is widely considered the pioneering work in African American Realist drama.

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A Raisin in the Sun belongs to the genre of realistic drama and was written by by  Lorraine Hansberry.  The drama was written while she was in her early twenties and performed on Broadway in 1959.

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What type of drama is A Raisin in the Sun?

Realism as a genre of literature became immensely popular in the mid- and late-twentieth century; many playwrights and novelists incorporated numerous realist themes and elements in their works, mainly to showcase the various social, economic, political, and cultural issues they witnessed in the world, especially during and after the Second World War. Realist dramas and novels usually focus on the lives of ordinary citizens—especially the working class—and often portray everyday people's struggles and worries, as well as their attempts to resolve their problems and overcome the challenges of life; A Raisin in the Sun perfectly fits this description.

Because of the play's narrative and socially relevant themes (such as the importance of family, racial discrimination, and the true meaning of home), many literary analysts agree that Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun is actually one of the first realist dramas written and preformed in America; in this context, the play is also considered to be one of the first dramas to realistically portray the daily struggles of a Black family.

A Raisin in the Sun is also sometimes considered a family or domestic drama, as the plot focuses on the dynamics of the Younger family, including their financial issues and the complicated relationships between family members. The play also showcases how these issues affect the characters' daily lives, as well as their emotional and mental states.

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