The American Dream
In the play, A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, one of the most important themes is the American Dream. With the pending arrival of an insurance check, Walter, Ruth, Lena, and Benetha all have their own dreams of how the money should be used. Walter wants to invest in a liquor store, Ruth is not sure what she wants, Lena wants to buy a house, and Benetha wants to finish college and become a doctor. They all want the same thing the American Dream. They all strive towards their goals throughout the play. Another theme is racism. Racism was rampant during the 1950’s and this often hindered African American dreams.
What is the American dream? In the play, A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, Walter is depicted as being a very ambitious and determined man. He works as a chauffeur during the day, and often goes out at night drinking with his buddies. He often had dreams of making a better life for his family and himself. One way of making a reaching his dream was to open a liquor store with Willy Harris. His wife Ruth doesn’t think it’s a good idea, Walter wants her to talk to his mother about it. “Mama would listen to you. She listens to you more than she do me and Bennie” (p. 984). “I got me a dream” (p.985). This is all Walter dreams about. A way for him to achieve this dream is to utilize the $10,000 insurance money from his father’s death.
Ruth is the wife of Walter. She tries everything to make her family happy. She tries to talk to Lena about Walter’s dream of opening a liquor store. She finds out that she is pregnant, and doesn’t know what she is going to do. Her relationship with her husband has become strained and she is considering an abortion. “Yes I would too, Walter. I already have her a five-dollar down payment” (p.1002). She realizes that her dream is also the same as Lena’s.
Walter’s dream conflicts with his mother’s, Lena’s (mama’s), dream. Lena, known as mama, is a strong, caring, and very religious woman....