A Raisin in the Sun study guide contains a biography of Lorraine Hansberry, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
A Raisin in the Sun essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry.
Critical reception to A Raisin in the Sun was not all positive when the play first came out. One of the major points of contention was that the play was pro-integration. Some segments of the African-American community felt that integration actually was not the end-all answer to America's race problem. Discuss the ways in which the idea of integration is presented throughout the play. Is Hansberry's presentation one-sided, or does she raise issues relevant to both viewpoints?
Written in 2009, “Clybourne Park” by Bruce Norris takes up the story where “Raisin” leaves off — in 1959 with a white couple selling their home to the Youngers and causing uproar among their middle class neighbors. The second act fast-forwards 50 years with neighborhood demographics radically shifted and the first family of gentrifying whites about to move into what is now a predominantly black community. Times have changed, but what about the no-holds-barred conversation about race and the politics of community?
Show times will be 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Saturdays (except Jan. 26) and Sundays (except Jan. 27, which is at 7:30 p.m.) There are opportunities to see both plays back-to-back on Feb. 2, 16 and 23 and March 2. On these dates, boxed dinners from Whole Foods Market will be available for purchase. On Feb. 2, a wine dinner at Bin 54 with transportation to and from the theater between “Raisin” and “Clybourne Park” will also be available. Pre-ordering dinner when purchasing show tickets is recommended.
A Raisin in the Sun, written by and produced on stage in 1959, marks a watershed moment in American theater. On the face of it, A Raisin in the Sun was not destined for success. With only one white cast member, an inexperienced director, and an untried playwright, Hansberry had difficulty finding financial backing for the play at a time when theater audiences were overwhelmingly white. It was an immediate success, however, and after several tours, it opened on , making it the first-ever Broadway play written by an African-American woman.
What makes Hansberry’s writing remarkable is not only her accuracy in capturing the racial dynamics of her time, but her foresight in predicting the direction black culture would take in subsequent years. The play's setting covers a pivotal time period for race relations in America – after WWII and before 1959. When Americans fought in World War II, they were fighting to uphold equality for all…which exposed the hypocrisy of the very unequal conditions for blacks back home. Americans were only beginning to address these inequalities at the time Hansberry was writing, and she did a great job at capturing the mood of her time through only one family.
As discussed in the "" section, the Younger family’s fulfillment/non-fulfillment of their dreams mirrors how black Americans as a whole had gained some concessions while still being oppressed in other respects. A character like Beneatha, however, is way ahead of her time. The play opened in 1959, remember, which is before all the feminists started demanding their rights, and before black Americans began embracing Africa as part of their identity. Beneatha embodies both movements before they ever existed.
One last note: A Raisin in the Sun is part of broader shift in black art towards depicting working-class, ordinary African-Africans. Previously, black intellectuals did not use literature, art, or the stage to portray working-class African-Americans for fear they would perpetuate undesirable stereotypes. Both poet and Lorraine Hansberry thought this was ridiculous; they felt that writing about lower class African-Americans would actually debunk the stereotypes. By focusing on the dreams and aspirations of one particular working-class black family, moreover, Hansberry was able to show audiences the universality of black aspirations while also demonstrating that their race posed a significant barrier to achieving those goals.
offers audiences two insightful looks at race and the meaning of home in productions of “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Clybourne Park,” to be performed in rotating repertory Jan. 26 to March 3. PlayMakers is the professional theater in residence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
George, thoroughly confused, addresses Beneatha and asks her to change out of her "costume" and get ready for their theatre date. Beneatha, in a moment of indignation, removes her headdress and reveals to George Murchison her hair in its natural...
In the groundbreaking story, proceeds from a life insurance policy give the Younger family hope for a better life. Can their “dreams deferred” be realized by moving into a home in an all-white neighborhood when they are confronted with conflicting desires within their family and racial prejudice outside their door?
Lorraine Hansberry is often viewed as a visionary because of her ability to predict many of the relevant issues to the African-American community today. Identify some of these issues and explain how they are the same or different from how Hansberry portrayed them.
For a complete performance schedule, to purchase tickets and to learn about community activities scheduled in connection with the run, call (919) 962-PLAY (7529) or visit .
PlayMakers will host a series of special events under the banner, “A Dream Deferred: Urban Development and Gentrification in Contemporary America,” focused on themes of gentrification and displacement raised by the plays.
The American dream means something different to each character in A Raisin in the Sun. Discuss these differences and how they conflict with one another.
and the “Dream Deferred” outreach series. The award was the largest given by the NEA to any professional theater for a production staged during the 2012-2013 season.