A Raisin in the Sun
From plot debriefs to key motifs, Thug Notes’ A Raisin in the Sun Summary & Analysis has you covered with themes, symbols, important quotes, and more.
A Raisin in the Sun (1982) | Written by: Lorraine Hansberry | Published by: Barnes & Noble
A Raisin in the Sun
Thug Notes Summary & Analysis
Wut Wut WUT IT DO bruthas? It’s black history month and this week we dreamin’ a dream wit A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry.
It’s round 19-fiddy and da whole Younger family crammed in to a stuffy two-bedroom apartment up in the south side of Chi-town. Da man of da house, Walter strugglin to stack change wit his scrub-ass job as a limo driver, and he barely cuttin it.
There’s hope that they might get outta dat trap, tho, cuz Mama Younger bout to get PAID: her hubby bit da big one, and now a phat insurance check fo’ 10 Gs is on it’s way in da mail. Thing is, Walter actin’ a fool thinkin dat money his- he wanna use it to open a licka sto’ wit some of his boys. But Mama ain’t down wit dat devil’s bidness- She wanna use dem stacks fo’ what really matter- sendin Walter’s sistah Beneatha to med school, and buyin a house so Walter’s boy Travis can live his life right, naw I’m sayin? Later, some brutha name Joseph Asagai drop in to chop game at
Beaneatha. He give Benny all sortsa shit fo actin’ white and not reppin her African heritage. So he throw her some Nigerian threadz and call her a Yoruba word- Alaiyo. When dat check finally come, Walter start fiendin fo’ those ends and mama gotta put him in his place tellin him dat licka sto’ ain’t neva’ gonna happen.
Sh** gets real when mama go on to tell him he best sit his ass down
and talk to his woman Ruth bout da abortion she thinkin bout havin’. But when Walter don’t say nuthin, mama gets crunk on his ass and he jus’ pick up his shit and bounce.
Then some rich busta named George Murchinson come in to holla’ at Beneatha. Cept when he see her all decked in African swag, he like “nah girl: go change.” Then Mama swang in wit da most tho’d news eva: she put some money down on a swoel crib in a hood called Clybourne Park. There’s just one catch- it’s an all white neighborhood.
Couple weeks go by and Georgie boy drop by to see Beneatha again. This fool get his nuts in a bunch when Beneatha keep tryin to talk to him instead of just puttin’ out. He lay it out real wit her: “Stop trippin girl, jus’ look good, and keep yo mouth shut.” but afta realizin he ain’t gettin nowhere, he jus’ peace out.
Not long afta, the phone ring and mama find out Walter been skippin
work and walkin round town like an emo piece o shit. So mama decide to let him put on da big boy pants: she toss him da rest o dat insurance money sayin dat as long as he save 3Gs fo Benny’s schoolin, he can look afta’ da rest.
Da whole family gettin’ geeked bout movin to tha new spot when some honk-asaurus named Karl Linder come to the door. He tell em da white folk of Clybourne park don’t want no blacks movin in. He try and bribe em with some money but da Youngers tell him where he can stick it.
Things change when errybody get word that Walter spent da rest of his daddy’s money on dat licka store. Not only dat, but he got played by his business padna who skipped town wit da cheddar. Now Beneatha cain’t go to med school and da Youngers all cashed out AGAIN!
Now dat errything lookin down, Walter call up dat Linder honkie so he can take him up on dat cash. But mama say “Look if you gonna bend ova’ fo da man, you gonn have to do it in front of yo son.” Walter think long and hard bout if his pride got a price. When Linder show up again, Walter grow a pair and send his white- ass packin one final time. Despite da mess da Youngers gonna have to deal wit up in Clybourne,they gonna do it wit their heads held high. Ungh!
One of da biggest questions dis play axin is: How’s a brutha gonna go on livin afta’ his dream no longa possible? Fo da Yonger family, da dream of buildin a righteous life fo their family been tripped up by all sorts a mess: mostly racism and oppression. They learn da raw truth dat there ain’t nothin realer than dreams not comin true. Like Ruth sayin “life can be a barrel of disappointments.”
But fo’ Walter, when yo dream die, it don’t just dry up like a raisin in the sun, it rots and festers… mo like a turd in the sun.
All dat pain and rejection he experienced tryna make it in da land of the American dream jus’ turn this fool in to a bitter hater:
Sparky reads quote: “And you – ain’t you bitter, man? Ain’t you just about had it yet? Don’t you see no stars gleaming that you can’t reach out and grab?”
But no matta how much dreams can burn a brutha, you gotta have em yo. Hannsberry droppin images of food all up in dis text to show dat grub ain’t da only thing dat keep us going- we need dreams too.
Walter: “That’s it. There you are. Man say to his woman: I got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs. (Sadly, but gaining in power Man say: I got to take hold of this here world, baby! And a woman will say: Eat your eggs and go to work. (Passionately now) Man say: I got to change my life, I’m choking to death, baby! And his woman say (in utter anguish as he brings his fists down on his thighs) – Your eggs is getting cold.” (I.i – 33-34)
We got da same thang goin on wit Beneatha- she dreamin real big like her brutha. Das why Asagai call her Alaiyo, which mean “One for Whom Bread- food- is not enough” Beneatha ain’t only tryna beast through racism, but also the oppression she face fo’ being a woman.
Man, you could even say dem three Younger women reppin a different side of womanhood in the 19- fiddies, each wit their own beef to rough through. See, Beneatha da modern woman tryna do her own thang and get her education on- but she gotta put up wit weak-ass bustas like George who jus’ want her to look good and stay quiet.
Whereas mama keepin it OG wit her old school views on God, marriage, and what it mean to be a family, so she get all tore up watchin’ all this change round her… Not to mention Walter almost sellin da family pride for a lil bit of scratch. Mah girl Ruth somewhere in da middle.
And that’s where da play’s ending leavin us too: somewhere in da middle. One da one hand da Youngers gonna roll up on Clybourne Park with their middle fingers in da air, makin it REAL clear what they think bout da haters. But on da otha hand, they got some true-blue heartache to overcome. This thug like to think it all gonna be alright in the end, especially since Walter finally realize yo family’s dignity is priceless.
But not as priceless as hittin dat subscribe button, padna. See yall next week. Deuces.