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The Social Issues Depicted in a Raisin in The Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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Raisin in the sun by Lorraine Hansberry is truly moving piece that takes its readers into lives of an African American family in the 1950s. The Younger’s are an impoverished African American family that struggles to make ends meet. But see a chance to escape the lifestyle in the form of a $10,000 insurance check that questions their morals and dreams. Hansberry uses the social issues such as racism, sexism, and discrimination of socio-economic status to symbolize what African American families faced and continue to face till today.

The social issues of racism that are seen in the play are very realistic and relate heavily to the times of today. In the play racism is felt by everyone in the family whether it’s from one to another or from someone outside. In the play Walter is a character who is portrayed racist and is the victim of racism. Early on in the book we see Walter talk to Ruth about how coloured women are not capable of supporting their husbands. “This is just what is wrong with the coloured women in the world … don’t understand about building their men up and making’em feel like they somebody”. This clearly shows the stereotypes that are placed upon African American female and how they lack the capacity to support their males. This quote is racist as it is made blatantly clear that Walter is talking about coloured women implying white women are always supportive. Nowadays this stereotype of how coloured women aren’t able to support males is used more often than ever as males constantly degrade the value of coloured females. Another part in A Raisin in the Sun where the social issue of racism is shown is when Mr. Lindren is indirectly saying the Younger’s that they do not belong in a neighbourhood that is predominantly white. “Well you see…People of Clybourne park believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the families are happier when they live in their own communities…in their own communities”. This is a clear example of segregation and how at that time the white community was unopen to integration and open to the idea of a coloured person living amongst them was just absurd. Even today we see this segregation take place as all the white communities often trying avoid integration and this is not just visible in housing but in everyday commutes as well. People of colour nowadays are often looked at in a weird way when they enter a predominately white neighbourhood. This social issue that is see very much seen in the play is still readily seen in today’s world even if it is indirectly or not.

Another social issue that is seen in the play is sexism, women in the play are heavily downplayed against when it comes to this problem. Beneatha and Ruth are some prime example of women being put down. In the play we see Walter telling Beneatha that see should just give up on her future and become married. “Who the hell told you you had to be a doctor? If you so crazy bout messing round with sick people – then go be a nurse like other women- or just get married and be quite…”. Walter is clearly trying to demoralize and figuratively pull her down from her aspirations. This is even seen in everyday life where women are constantly being limited. We can see that in stereotypes people set like how women belong in the kitchen and how women are just incapable of becoming great things. It is more mainstream now than ever as some of the most famous people are becoming more sexist than ever. One prime example of this is Donald Trump who has referred to females as nothing more just “pieces of ass”. Also we can even see this problem when it comes to wage gaps where men are paid astronomical higher than women .We can see how the people of today and people of the past don’t value the life and personality of females and constantly continue to degrade them. So this issue of sexism is still just as if not more relevant in world today.

Lastly the issue of that the Younger’s faced was socio-economic inequalities that many of today’s African American individuals face today. In the play the Younger’s are economically unstable life and have a tough time just making ends meet. They live life where are penny pinching and this is visible when Travis asks for 50 cents. ‘Well, I ain’t got no fifty cents this morning…I don’t care what the teacher say. I ain’t got it. Eat your breakfast, Travis’. The life is though is for the Younger’s and this is a very real problem in the world today. When people have a tough time financially people often lose their sense of morals and think of doing things they wouldn’t have thought of before. We can see this when Walter is fed up with their situation so he intended to join into a business where they would acquire a liquor license illegally. “Couple hundred you gotta pay so you don’t spend your life just waiting for them clown to let your license get approved”. People in real life are often forced into doing thing unfavourable when forced into poverty and this is a very important social issue as the government does not even bat an eye towards the problem just ultimately abandoning the people who are in need.

As seen from the essay, the social issues in the book “A Raisin in the Sun” are very similar to the issue that everyday African American people face. Whether it is racism, sexism or even economic issues people of colour have been oppressed all their lives. The ban of slavery might have stop people from chaining coloured people but the modern day segregation just show that instead of real chain they use invisible chains to control the people and force them into a life where all they grow up knowing is poverty. This is true for people to this day and it continues to be a serious problem that seems to keep growing. 

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