comparison essay: A RAISIN IN THE SUN and THE PIANO LESSON

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Many times, the daily oppression of African Americans back in slavery times made being their own persons extremely hard to do. Many times, families were seriously affected by the mental, physical, and emotional abuse inflicted by their slave masters, thus, causing rifts between family members. This is evident in both Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. Both authors tackle the issue of identity and family ties in their plays. Both families in the two plays are forced to deal with the economic, social, and moral pressures imposed upon them since slavery. Each family handles and deals with the pressures in very different ways, while at the same time share some similarities that tie them both together in their fight for freedom. In A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, there are many issues that the Younger family deals with pertaining to their economic status. There are so many economic pressures, being African American, which they are forced to tackle. Take Walter Lee Younger and his wife, Ruth Younger, for instance. Walter Lee truly wants to be the man of his house and provide for his entire family, but being an African American male at that point in time just would not allow it. Thus, Ruth is forced to work as well to help provide for the family. This makes Walter feel like even less of a man than his mother already makes him feel like. Walter’s inability to grow up and be the man that he wants stems from his mother. He still lives under his mother’s roof, adding to his inability to provide for his family, and be the man of the house. When Ruth becomes pregnant, the tension of not being able to provide for his wife, son, sister, and mother weighs on their marriage even more, because one more person in the house will constantly remind Walter about what he can not do because he is a Black man in a White man’s world.

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