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Dreams, Pride, and Loyalty: A Raisin in the Sun

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Essay title: Dreams, Pride, and Loyalty: A Raisin in the Sun

In Chicago, in the 1950’s, black families were confronted with many challenges, faced much racial prejudice, were typically poor, working-class families, and were not wanted in white communities. In A Raisin in the Sun, the Younger Family is different, they are poor, but they are able to overcome that fact and fulfill their dreams, despite the prejudice that comes with them. Because the Youngers have a strong sense of pride and loyalty their dreams are achieved by prevailing over their challenges and staying together through the end.

Walter Younger plays both the protagonist and antagonist. Walter dreams of being like the rich people he drives around, becoming wealthy, providing for his family the rich people do. He seems to feel that he didn’t have much in his family, besides the family itself and he wants to give his family what he never had. Economic hardship make walter feel enslaved and also the economic hardship has deferred his dream. His character evolves throughout the play and with it does the pride and loyalty of the family. Walter is unsure of his position as the man in charge of the household at first. In the beginning most of his actions hurt the family, however his sudden rise to his position “made him sort of a hero in the last scene.” This “heroism” is what showed the families pride in order to complete a dream. “He speaks of his father’s hard work and the dignified way in which he conducted his life. Then, drawing Travis to him, Walter rejects Linder’s offer and his and his family’s pride is so overwhelming that it is like a headlamp of a car in the darkness.” Throughout the play Walter understands material wealth more and more and he eventually doesn’t place it as high on his list.

Mama’s character is compounded with “old virtues and the strength of suffering” and these qualities help hold the family together. Mama helps her family achieve their dreams by running a moral household. In this quote Beneatha had just viciously rejected Walter as “no Brother of mine” and Mama is reprimanding her, “in one of the most recognized passages from A Raisin in the Sun, telling her that she must “measure him right” and love Walter when the rest of the world cannot.” Because of Mama’s morality she believes that it was very wrong of Beneatha to say that and that Beneatha needs to learn to love others when they need it most. The insurance money is directed to her, and so what the family does with the money is up to her. To Mama dreams seem more important than material wealth. Mama’s dream is to move her family out of the ghetto and buy a new home with a garden for herself and a yard for her grandson Travis to play in. This dream seems to have been deferred since the time she and her husband moved into the Apartment they live in now. This was because she could not scrape enough money up for it. Her “scraggly little plat trying to survive on the one windowsill in the apartment” is symbolic of this dream. Mama’s tending of the plant shows her dedication to her dream. Her plant and her dream seem to be the highest in priority to her. The plant is also symbolic in that Mama is also trying to survive with what little she has and

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