Raisin in The Sun: Symbolism of Dreams and Resilience

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1243 |

Pages: 3|

7 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Words: 1243|Pages: 3|7 min read

Published: Aug 4, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Struggles and Dreams in the 1950s Society of Raisin in the Sun
  3. Symbolism in Raisin in the Sun
  4. Conclusion
  5. References


In 1959, takes place in a society where the black working-class family always struggles to deal with the oppressive circumstances that dictate their lives. It was a time when blacks and whites were still distressed by segregation. It shows the sacrifices people make to obtain freedom. Not everyone will achieve their hopes and dreams due to the difficulty’s hardships life throws at them. The play A Raisin in the Sun, focus on the economic trouble of migrating families. And, the challenges of the stereotypes that took place in 1959. The play focuses on the African American family that receives access to money because of the death of one of their family members. All the characters in the play have ambitions and desire to grow out of the struggle they have been dealing with. That is when the problems begin to occur when they cannot accept each other dreams. Lorraine Hansberry underlines the pride that enables the family to move beyond the limitations of their current environment. The way he describes the living conditions of the family in Southern and African literature gives the readers a better understanding of each character especially Mama who is the spokesperson of the family. The article also discusses Southern history and heritage, and the play shows how Mama wants her children to be brave and fight to reclaim their dignity and their history, incorporating Raisin in the Sun symbolism. The critical approach that William Murray utilizes in his article is African American and ethnic literary studies. He points out every detail discussed of the role of African American place in American society and their issues such as slavery, freedom, and equality. 

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Struggles and Dreams in the 1950s Society of Raisin in the Sun

In the play, it opens when the family is about to receive an insurance check. That is when each of the members began to think about what they wanted to do with their life. William describes how Mama is the main spokesperson who shows the family the importance of southern history. He also claims that Mama always gives her children the confidence needed to get through the challenges. He does this by letting the readers know we often forget about African American history and they realize they had different points of view. Mama wanted to buy a house to fulfill the dream she once made with her husband. It was a resolute dream she wanted to achieve one day. Walter wanted to use the money to invest in a liquor store with other friends. Walter's wife Ruth had the same dream as Mama, she wanted a bigger house to be able to give her son better living conditions. Beneatha, mama's daughter wants to use the money to enroll herself into a medical school. William states that “the connection between Mama's desire to nourish her family and the south is developed further through the use of southern foodways” She kept bothering Ruth about the living conditions of her grandson Travis. She wanted him to be fed with food that speaks to his history. Mama wants to use food from home to take care of those around them and make them feel like they belong. Beneatha was frustrated her family wanted to fit into the white society. Later, Mama becomes violent because she wants Beneatha to respect her religious heritage which becomes an important scene in the play. The confrontations show how different the mom and the daughter relate to the past. This situation begins to confuse her identity and starts to change her appearance by looking at the way Africa would dress in the past. Even though Ruth's only desire is for a new home, finding out that she is pregnant complicates things for them financially. She wants to abort the child because she knows the family cannot provide for another life.

Symbolism in Raisin in the Sun

The growth of the plant is an important symbol because it symbolizes the vigorous work Mama does to provide for her family. She way she cares to the plant is like the way she cares for her children. The plant also symbolizes the dream of buying a big house and give the plant a garden with sunlight and a better environment. She makes it clear that for her children to prosper they need a garden. The plants are important because she relates to her southern roots. Another symbol portrayed in the play is how Beneatha hair changes after Asagai's visit. Her hair used to be long but after he leaves, she cuts short in an afro way which represents how she finally accepts her heritage. It becomes a powerful social statement that shows one true nature is important. She trying to reshape her identity by looking back to the way they would dress in the past. The food Is also an important aspect in the play because it the way they greet their guest and family by giving them a sense of belonging. Money is one of the crucial issues in the play. It represents the dreams of each character. When they buy the house, the children give Mama gifts. Travis gives her a gardening hat and the rest view the hat as inappropriate because it links her to the south. Willian explains how Mama defends the hat simply because “she does not want her grandson to see their southern past as something to be ashamed of or denied” it symbolizes the family past that extends through the south. Even though her family does not agree, she sees her family who carry the family name to the future.

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After buying the house from a white neighbor, Mama entrusts the rest of the money to Walter for his liquor store and to save for their sister's tuition. But Walter loses all the money to defraud his own friends. Beneatha becomes angry telling him he was not a man. The critical approach used helps us understand the way Mama felt toward her ancestry. She does not see slavery to be shameful but instead, as something that gave her strength. The history and people who were able to overcome the hardship and oppression. She wants her children to embrace their roots. As well as remembering the pride it took to resist and understand the Southern history of black men and women. When they buy a house, they face racial discrimination. When a white man, Karl comes to buy them out, Walter realizes that if he accepts the offer it will be the only way to obtain money to support his family. He must decide between standing up for his family or accepting the money. But he decides to side e with his family's rights. He begins to understand his self-worth as a part of a legacy resistance. He embraces his history and having pride in the South. When Walter makes this decision the relationship between him and his sister improves. They unite and resist the white man's racist offer. This shows to stand up to discrimination and must face challenges instead of ignoring them. Throughout the play, Mama wants to teach everyone a lesson about how important family is. Even after facing a traumatic event, they become a stronger family as they learned to listen to each other wishes.               


  1. Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Vintage Books, 2004.
  2. Murray, William. 'The Signifying Monkey: Toward a Theory of African-American Literary Criticism.' Callaloo, vol. 20, no. 4, 1997, pp. 761-777.
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Raisin in the Sun: Symbolism of Dreams and Resilience. (2023, August 04). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
“Raisin in the Sun: Symbolism of Dreams and Resilience.” GradesFixer, 04 Aug. 2023,
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