The Tensions faced by the Younger family A Raisin in the sun by Lorraine Hansberry is a book about, the Youngers’, who are a poor African-American family. They live in a worn down apartment in the South side of Chicago. The family is going to receive a ten thousand dollar check from Mama’s husband’s life insurance. The check is an opportunity for the family to escape from poverty. Hansberry utilizes numerous tensions and conflicts to drive the plot. A Raisin in the sun is a great example of the struggles African- Americans faced in society during the 1950s through the 1960s.
How does the author use tension to drive the plot and fully develop the character? From the beginning of the book to the end the characters struggle with some kind of tensions for example, racial tension,socio-economic tension, and cultural tension. Each of these tensions make the plot more complex and enduring. And through these tensions the characters grow and develop, for some characters these tensions made them closer and got to understand them more and for other characters they matured through these tensions.
By the end of the book they became closer than ever and found new hope for Throughout the whole book, the fact that the Youngers’ were African-American came into perspective, because of this they faced many encumbrances. The whole book revolved around racial tension, through this the whole family developed and grew together. There are various examples of racial tension, for example, in Act 2 scene 2, when Mama reveals that she purchased a house in Clybourne Park, their American dreams. with the life insurance check. Ruth and Walter immediately turn around, in shock, reminding Mama that colored people do not live in that community.
Ruth says, “Clybourne Park? Mama, there ain’t no colored people living in Clybourne Park”(Hansberry 93) This hints to the reader that at that time, society would have separate communities depending on your race. Therefore, resulting the family to hesitate to move into the house in Clybourne Park. Another example of racial tension would be in Act 2 scene 3, when Karl Linder enters the play. Karl Linder is a member of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. He comes to the Youngers’ apartment to tell them the concern of them living in Clybourne Park.
He first tries to ugar coat it, but then later he says,”At the moment the overwhelming majority of our people out there feel that people get along better, take more of a common interest in the community, when they share a common background.. It is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities”(Hansberry pg 118). Karl Linder tries very hard to vindicate that this is not an act of racial prejudice, even though he knows this is.
He tries to sound like he is doing this for the sake of the Younger’s, but in reality he really is doing this for the Clybourne Park community. He persuaded them by saying in return of them not moving in, he will buy back the property. Karl Lindner, is a minor character, but the impact of his character is carried until the end of the story. The racial tension in this book impacts the characters in many different ways and although at the end of the book the family moves into the house,the fact that they were not welcomed to the community because of their skin color perturbed them. ajor role in the story.
Hansberry uses Walter to portray an ambitious man who yearns to be successful. Currently Walter is a chauffeur and he is very disconsolate it about. He tells George Murchison , “Listen, man, I got some plans that could turn this Socio-economic tension plays a city upside down. I mean, think like he does. Big. Invest big, gamble big, hell, lose big if you have to, you know what I mean. It’s hard to find a man on this whole Southside who understands my kind of thinking-you dig? ” (Hansberry pg 84). In order for Walter being a successful businessman, he needs money to nvest, but the Youngers’ are in poverty.
The life insurance check is their opportunity to get out of poverty, and this is why Walter is so anxious about investing the money. Walter remonstrates about not having anything to pass to Travis he says to Ruth,”I have been married eleven years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room — and all I got to give him is stories about how rich white people live. “(Hansberry p. 34). When Walter finds out that, his Mama used the check to pay the down payment for the house, he sinks to a new low. Walter is at his lowest point after he finds this out. Although Walter makes the worst mistakes he goes through one of the biggest transformation.
He is portrayed as a villain and as a hero. Another tension that drives the plot is cultural tension. In the book, Lorraine Hansberry touches on the rise of feminism. Beneatha Younger, is the sister of Walter Lee Younger and the daughter of Mama. She is a great example of feminism, with her ambitiously high dreams and aspirations . Beneatha Younger aspires to be a doctor, a profession mainly taken up by white men. Throughout the whole book she refuses to become the tradition, housewife, he continues to challenge the stereotypical female character of the 1950s.
This creates many conflicts with her brother and mother. Walter tells Beneatha “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 quiet.. “(Hansberry 38) Walter tries to belittle Beneatha, by telling her that women should stick to becoming a housewife. But she still continues to go against the stereotypes of women during the 1950’s, she searches for her identity. Feminism is another obvious theme, which is portrayed by Beneatha.
Even though her brother does not understand her and her aspirations, she still remains optimistic throughout the whole play. In the book, she gets a lot of pressure from Ruth and her mother to get married. Beneatha tells Ruth, “Get over it? What are you talking about, Ruth? Listen, I’m going to be a doctor. I’m not worried about who I’m going to marry yet – if I ever get married” (Hansberry 48). She is the only character that challenges the gender stereotype.
Throughout the obstacles and conflicts she faces she continues to stay optimistic and mbitious, even though people underestimate her. onclusion, Lorraine Hansberry’s book A Raisin in the sun uses various tensions to drive and develop the character. The characters go through many obstacles, but come out stronger than ever, they also stay united throughout the whole book. From the beginning of the book to the end the characters struggle with numerous tensions. These tensions not only drove the plot but made the characters more compile and relatable to the readers. The readers can very much relate to many of these tensions still to this day.