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A Raisin In The Sun: Does The Title Fit The Play Essay


Internal Explosion of Frustration

Lorraine Hansberry is the playwright for, A Raisin in the Sun. The title was inspired by a poem, Harlem (A Dream Deferred), by Langston Hughes. The poem fits the content of the play very well, in particular, it captures the attitude and inner turmoil of one of the main characters, Walter. Walter has dreams of being rich, but his current living situation inhibits him from obtaining this dream. As Hansberry reveals, throughout the drama, Walter is a man on the verge of exploding. He feels as though his whole world is against him. From the beginning of the play, the audience is shown the intense frustration Walter is experiencing.

Walters dream has become so elusive to him that it is somewhat like a festering sore, as is suggested through Langston Hughes poem when he writes, What happens to a dream deferred?/Does it dry up/ Like a raisin in the sun?/ Or fester like a sore- (Hughes 1-3). He desperately wants someone to hear him out and understand his desires. He tries to portray this to Ruth, his wife, but she has heard it all before. She doesnt give Walter the response he is hoping for, therefore, he damns his and all the eggs in the world before storming out of the house. To Walter, his hope for the fulfillment of his dreams is drying up, and he doesnt think anyone in his life cares.

Further proof of Walters anger over being ignored is seen when George, Beneathas date, comes to pick her up. In his poem, Hughes, describes a deferred dream as a heavy load ready to explode. Walter can definitely relate to this sentiment. Walter tries to talk business and investment with George. Sadly, George snubs Walter and even goes so far as to call him bitter. Walter replies, And you- aint you bitter, man? Aint you just about had it yet? Dont you see no stars gleaming that you cant reach out and grab [] Man, Im a volcano (Hansberry 2.1). Walter only threatens to explode when he is talking to George, however, his anger shows in physical form when his Mama informs him that she used a chunk of her money to put a down payment on a house for the family.

Walter becomes so frustrated, after hearing his mamas news about the house, that he breaks a glass in his hands. His whole family is excited about finally having their own home, unfortunately, all that Walter sees is the chance of his dream becoming a reality slip away. Walter is angry over her decision to buy the house, and when she asks him to say she did good he uses his bitter words to hurt her: What you need me to say you done right for? You the head of this family. You run our lives like you want to. It was your money and you did what you wanted with it. So what you need me to say it was all right for? So you butchered up a dream of mine-you-who always talking bout your childrens dreams (2.1). As angry as Walter is with his family, he doesnt truly explode until after Willy Joe steals from him.

Once Walter explodes he is able to purge some of his bottled up emotion about his life. The audience is able to see the festering sore, which was once his dream of being rich, become more realistic. Walter is able to realize, after many hardships, that family is the most important dream in life.

Works Cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. 1958 ed. New York: Random House, 1994. Print.

Hughes, Langston. Harlem (A Dream Deferred). A Raisin in the Sun. William Morris. New

York: Random House, 1994. 2. Print.

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