Play Critique: 'A Raisin in the Sun'

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PLAY A. Brief Summary/Synopsis of Play? Set in the aftermath of World War II, the Younger family is facing its own war against racism in the Chicago slums. America’s complicated history of racial tension between black Americans and white Americans is ingrained into the Youngers’ everyday lives. Single mother (and grandmother) Lena Younger, her daughter Beneatha, and her son Walter (plus his wife Ruth and their son Travis) squeeze into a run-down two-bedroom apartment. According to our count, that’s five people in a space built for three. But the Youngers have a chance at a new beginning. Ten thousand dollars is coming in the mail, and Lena must decide what to do with it. Bennie hopes for tuition money, Walter hopes for the down payment on his liquor store, and Ruth just wants her family to be happy. Then three huge events happen: 1) Lena decides to buy a house for the family…in a white neighborhood, 2) Lena entrusts the rest of the money to Walter, advising him to save a good amount for Beneatha’s schooling, and 3) Walter loses all the money in the liquor store scam. Morale goes from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. B. Structure: How was the play organized? Was it effective/ineffective? C. What was the author’s purpose in writing the play? Did he/she succeed as far as writing? The author’s purpose was to shine the light on black families in America trying to achieve the “American dream” in segregated/ Jim Crow America. PRODUCTION D. Description of Visual Elements of the Play 1. Setting: When was the play supposed to have occurred? How did you know? What visual elements of the play told you so? 1959. The refrigerator used as a set piece was from the time period. 2. Scenery: Describe the appearance of the stage. How did it fill the stage? Was it aesthetically appealing? Did it support the story? Overall, did it work? Why or why

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