American Dream in A Raisin in the Sun

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Lorraine Hansberry brings out the American dream theme in her book, A Raisin in the Sun. Through her characters, she is able to portray the American dream and its effect on an individual. The play is set at a time characterized by racial discrimination in the United States, making it extremely difficult for these people to achieve the American Dream. Beneatha’s character is used to portray the dream of succeeding in what one does, while Lena’s dreams of the peace and comfort of her own home. Each character portrays a different interpretation and representation of the American dream. All these dreams portrayed by the characters contain an aspect of the American dream, which is the belief in oneself and their ability to rise to the higher social class in an environment that fosters growth and that is suitable for everyone.

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The Dream to Succeed

Lena’s daughter Beneatha portrays the American dream of succeeding in any given field. She wants to become a doctor, and this is the dream which drives her since she is tired of not being respected. She desires to become independent and take care of herself and her family (Hansberry, 1984). To many, this dream is valid as many people are working to grow in their careers and become successful and relevant in society. Each one wants to succeed in their field and become the best so that the rest of the society respects them. Essentially, many successful people in various fields who have modeled the American dream have become role models to others who strive for this dream (Neupane, 2022). Through Beneatha’s character, the author has been able to portray the American dream of success as something that inspires and drives many.

Peace and Tranquility

Lena heads the household and is referred to as mama. Her version of the American dream is to have a good home where she can stay with her family in peace and tranquility. Living in a cramped apartment has become tiring, and she dreams of owning a home where she can have her space (Hansberry, 1984). The apartment does not have enough space, and Trevor is forced to use the couch as a bed, while the family does not have a bathroom and has to share with others from the complex. From Lena’s perspective, the author portrays the American dream as one where an individual owns their home and can live peacefully with their family (Khaleel, 2021). This is true for many people in the country as everyone desires peace and wants to live without any limitations.

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Hansberry portrays the American dream through the dreams that the characters of her play harbored. These dreams drive these characters and become the propelling force that gives them hope to live and see the next day. Lena dreams of having a peaceful home where she can live with her family, while her daughter Beneatha dreams of becoming a doctor so that she can become independent. In summary, the American dream is a dream to succeed in any particular field and in one’s overall well-being. Each of these characters strives to reach a place where they have succeeded and are comfortable. They all do what is in their power to try and make their dreams a reality, regardless of the numerous obstacles that stand in their way.

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  1. Hansberry, L. (1984). A Raisin in the Sun. Concord Theatricals.
  2. Khaleel, A. S. (2021). The Representation of the American Dream in Lorrain Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. المجلة الدولية للعلوم الإنسانية والاجتماعية, (28), 147-157.‎
  3. Neupane, D. (2022). Racial and Cultural Tension in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Cognition, 4(1), 16-20.
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