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Raisin in the Sun - Dreams Deferred

Uploaded by Galaghard on Sep 24, 2002

What happens to a dream when it suspends in time? Does it stay suspended within a man through his lifetime, dormant, unreachable, and far away? Does its power grow and ultimately force him to act to make it happen sometime in the future—if not in his lifetime then in the future members of his kin? On the other hand, does it eat away at him, crystallizing and internally segmenting his own derived purpose and meaning of life until it is indiscernible from its original state of grandeur and grace? Those are some of the questions that Lorraine Hansberry poses for consideration in her play, A Raisin in the Sun. It is no accident that she chose Langston Hughes’ poem as a gateway into the incredible experience of true life, living, dreaming and working for a better tomorrow as enacted and emoted by her play’s characters, the Youngers. More specifically, she uses Mama Younger to echo the poem’s style of thought-provocation to at least partially surmise an answer of whether dreams deferred do, in fact, dry up, crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet, or sag like a heavy load.

Langston Hughes’ poem begins with a deceptively innocent question: “What happens to a dream deferred?” (Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun 1). From the opening line, the reader is left to contemplate an infinite number of possible outcomes, among them if it partially dies, if it continues to live into the next generation, if it matters what kind of dream it is, and many others. And then, suddenly, he adds to it to further focus the question and thusly to compound and raise its complexity. He asks, “Does it dry up / Like a raisin in the sun?” (Hansberry 2-3). Now, whereas the reader could initially answer the first question in whichever way he wished, he now finds himself confined and struggling to formulate an answer and justifications to a closed-ended question. And, in dealing with Mama Younger, he is, at minimum, left at level ground. It is because, on the one hand, her dream when she first moved into that place in Chicago’s Southside to buy a house, fix it up, and make herself a little garden in the backyard didn’t happen (Hansberry 45). Or, as she says, “didn’t none of it happen” (Hansberry 45). She became too busy and occupied rearing her then-young family. For her, the initial...

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Uploaded by:   Galaghard

Date:   09/24/2002

Category:   Literature

Length:   11 pages (2,511 words)

Views:   2462

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