A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun

Last Friday you were supposed to submit your revised Compound/ Complex Sentences, and 4.29.2019 your Harlem Renaissance Poetry work. If you have any of that please make sure it goes in the assignment box. For today, youll need a small orange and black

book called Raisin in the Sun on the shelf in the back, and blank sheet of paper. Label paper: Notes: Raisin in the Sun, and on that paper answer these questions about this poem: 1. Who is the speaker? 2. Why is it titled Harlem?

Harlem by Langston Hughes What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet?

3. What is a dream deferred? 4. Why is the poem structured this way? 5. Why does the speaker answer a question with Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. more questions? 6. What figurative language is used throughout

the poem? 7. Whats the theme of this poem? Or does it explode? A RAISIN IN THE SUN LORRAINE HANSBERRY A NOTE ON THE TITLE

Lorraine Hansberry took the title of A Raisin in the Sun from a line in Langston Hughess famous 1951 poem Harlem. Harlem captures the tension between the need for black expression and the impossibility of that expression because of American societys oppression of its black population.

In the poem, Hughes asks whether a dream deferreda dream put on holdwithers up like a raisin in the sun. MORE ON THE TITLE His lines confront the racist and dehumanizing attitude prevalent in American

society before the civil rights movement of the 1950s. Hansberrys reference to Hughess poem in her plays title highlights the importance of dreams in A Raisin in the Sun and the struggle that her characters face to realize their individual dreams, a struggle tied to the more fundamental black dream of equality in America.

THE PLAY A Raisin in the Sun can be considered a turning point in American art because it addresses so many issues important during the 1950s in the United States. The stereotype of 1950s America as a land of happy housewives and blacks content with their inferior status resulted in an uprising of social resentment that would finally find public voice in the civil rights and feminist movements

of the 1960s. Lorraine Hansberry CHILDHOOD Lorraine Hansberry was born on May 19, 1930, and she was the youngest of four

children. She enjoyed a comfortable middle class existence. CHILDHOOD She lived in South Side Chicago and grew up knowing some of the

greatest African Americans of her time, like Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington, Joe Lewis, and her mentor, W.E.B. Du Bois. TURNING POINT In 1938, Hansberrys father,

Carl, challenged the segregated housing pattern in Chicago when he purchased a house in an all-white neighborhood. TURNING POINT The family was threatened by a

white mob and forced to leave by a court order. Carl Hansberry took the case to the Supreme Court where he won a favorable judgment in 1940 (Hansberry vs Lee). TURNING POINT Despite the victory,

the experience left Carl Hansberry bitter and disillusioned, something Lorraine Hansberry would not forget. HANSBERRY VS. LEE The US Supreme

Court, on November 13, 1940, ruled in Hansberry v. Lee that whites cannot bar African Americans from white neighborhoods. EDUCATION

Hansberry attended the University of Wisconsin, but left after becoming dissatisfied with the curriculum. She moved to New York and became a reporter for the radical black newspaper, Freedom. Eventually she attended the Art Institute of New York where she fell in love with theater and playwriting.

LITERARY INFLUENCES As a child, Hansberry learned to love books, especially works of history and biography. Hansberry felt inspired by early activists and abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass.

LITERARY INFLUENCES Hansberry also had an early fascination with Africa. She later spent a year studying there with mentor, writer and activist W.E.B. Du bois.

LITERARY INFLUENCES Another literary influence and family friend was Langston Hughes. Hansberry used a line from Hughess poem Harlem for the title of her play, A Raisin in the

Sun. ACCOMPLISHMENTS In 1957, A Raisin in the Sun was completed and gained critical attention, not only for its content, but also for the fact that it was written by a young

African American woman. After successful runs in Philadelphia, Chicago, and New York, A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway on March 11, 1959, and critics raved. Hansberry is the first African

American woman to have her play produced on Broadway, running for 538 performances. ACCOMPLISHMENTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS Hansberrys play crossed social lines with

powerful grace, appealing to critics, activists, artists and theatergoers. It shed more light on the civil rights movement. ACCOMPLISHMENTS The play won the New York Drama Critics Award that

year, a first for any African American. ACCOMPLISHMENTS Hansberry wrote several other plays, including The Sign in Sidney Brusteins Window, and

Les Blanc. DEATH In 1965, Lorraine Hansberry died an early death from pancreatic cancer.

READING A PLAY AS WE READ YOULL NEED TO KEEP TRACK OF THE FOLLOWING Major Characters = Younger Family Lena Younger (Mama) grandma and matriarch Walter Lee Younger Lenas son, trying to

provide for his family Ruth Younger wife of Walter Beneatha Younger sister of Walter, daughter of Lena Travis Younger son of Walter and Ruth Characters Dreams Each of our major characters will have a

dream. Figure out what it is and keep track of mentions of their dreams. Note the page number, quote, and characters dreams READING ROLES EVERYONE HAS TO READ TWICE Large

Medium Small Ruth Walter Lee Beneatha (Bennie) Mama (Lena)

Travis Everyone will read twice, reading more earns you two points of extra credit for each additional role you take. The italicized text are stage directions are not to be read aloud by the actors. They instruct the actors on how to deliver a line. Hansberry uses a lot of colloquial speech she does this purposefully to characterize her characters. HISTORICAL INFORMATION

TO BE YOUNG GIFTED & BLACK Although her life and career were cut short, an informal autobiography by her ex-husband was put together. It was called To Be Young, Gifted and Black. It is a tribute to Hansberrys literary, social and personal vision. HISTORICAL CONTEXT

CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT The play A Raisin in the Sun is set during the 1950s. This was a pivotal time during the civil rights movement and changes in history. During this time period, it was legal to discriminate against people based on race or sex, in terms of employment, education, and public accommodations. GREAT NORTHERN MIGRATION

Many African Americans continued to move to northern cities, from the South. Chicago was one of the cities that grew most from southern black immigration. Between 1940 and 1950, the number of African

Americans living in Chicago grew by 80%. The number of whites grew by .1%. CITY LIFE Many of the African-Americans living in Chicago were living in run-down neighborhoods which became all-black public

housing projects. Most units were overcrowded and shared bathroom facilities between multiple families. EMPLOYMENT Jobs were increasingly hard to find for both black men and women after WWII. Many women worked as

domestic help and the men were working in plants. MAJOR CHARACTERS LENA YOUNGER (MAMA) A recent widow, and years of hard work are catching up with her. She is religious, compassionate, and strongwilled. She worries about her family

and wrestles with decisions about insurance money. WALTER LEE YOUNGER Mamas thirty-five-year-old son, works as a chauffeur but dreams of owning his own business. He neglects his marriage, drinks to excess and betrays his mother.

RUTH YOUNGER Walters wife and the mother of their son, Travis She is desperate to see her family in a home of their own. Ruth is torn between her disgust with Walters

present behavior and her love for the man he once was. BENEATHA YOUNGER Mamas college-age daughter, dreams of becoming a doctor but pursues other interests as well. She is attracted to both

George Murchison and Joseph Asagai. TRAVIS YOUNGER 10 year old son of Ruth and Walter who plays the adults against each other. MINOR CHARACTERS GEORGE VERSUS JOSEPH George Murchison-

College student and the son of a wealthy businessman which separates him from the Youngers. Joseph Asagai-A politically active college

student from Nigeria. MRS. JOHNSON Neighbor who tells family what will happen if they move into a white neighborhood. KARL LINDER Spokesman for the white neighborhood who provides a business proposal for the Youngers. BOBO AND WILLY

friends of Walter DREAMS Do all Americans have access to the same dream? Does everyone have an equal right to the dream? How do race, gender, and class affect dreams? IMPORTANT DATES 1865 Post Civil Wart reconstruction begins; Thirteenth Amendment to the US

Constitution outlaws slavery 1865 The first Ku Klux Klan is formed in Pulaski, Tennessee 1868 Fourteenth Amendment defines African Americans as citizens, guaranteeing due process and equal protection under the laws 1870 Fifteenth Amendment extends suffrage (the right to vote) to African American males 1892 Record number of lynchings recorded at 230 (Ida B. Wells begins an antilynching

campaign) IMPORTANT DATES 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson ruling institutionalizes racial segregation by allowing separate but equal facilities 1910s The Great Migration 1917-1918 US participates in WWI 1919 Red Summer race riots break out

1920 Nineteenth Amendment grants women the right to vote 1922 The US House of Representatives passes an anti-lynching bill sponsored by Missouri's Leonidas Dyer, but the bill fails in the Senate under a threatened filibuster; over the next two decades , subsequent attempts to pass anti-lynching legislation fail IMPORTANT DATES 1929 Great Depression 1931 In Scottsboro, Alabama, nine African American youths are falsely accused and

arrested for raping two white women; the case becomes an international symbol Jim Crow injustice 1941-1945 US participates in WWII 1944 Smith v. Allwright US Supreme Court case outlaws whites only voting primaries 1948 President Truman desegregates the military IMPORTANT DATES FROM THE 1950S 1954 Brown v. Board of Education outlawed segregated public schools; however,

it was left to local officials to decide when theyd like to start desegregating. 1955 AUGUST In August, Emmett Till, is murdered in Money, Mississippi, an all white male jury later finds two local white men not guilty

in his death and, afterward, the men confess to killing Till, because he supposedly made advances towards one of the murders wife. 1955 DECEMBER I was tired and sat in the first available seat.

Rosa was tired of the mistreatment, racism, segregation, and Jim Crow laws she and other African-Americans had endured for years as she sat looking out the window The only thing Rosa Parks thought about was the boy, Emmett Till.

1955-1956 1955-1956-Montgomery Bus Boycott 1956 Congressmen from Confederate States called on their states to refuse to comply with Brown v. Board. President Eisenhower also opposed

Brown v. Board. 1957 The governor of Arkansas refused to let nine black students enter a local high school. The U.S. Army was called to escort and protect the nine students.

1957 1957-Martin Luther King formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 1960S 1961 In May, Freedom Rides begin in DC; riders persevere through Alabama violence until they are arrested

in Jackson, Mississippi 1962 Race riots occur at University of Mississippi 1963 March on Washington (August 250,000 marchers converge in DC where King delivers I Have a Dream Speech) 1964 Freedom Summer young adults meet in Mississippi to register black voters 1964 Congress passes the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, and national origin 1965 Malcolm X assassinated

1965 In March state troopers beat back voting rights marchers in NYC, later President Johnson signs Voting Rights Act of 1965 which outlaws discriminatory practices in voting 1965 In August race riots erupt in LA 1966 James Meredith organizes March Against Fear in Mississippi and is shot on the second day 1967 Race riots erupt in Newark, New Jersey, and Detroit, Michigan, after Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first black US Supreme Court Justice 1968 MLK Jr. Assassinated

1970S 1980S 1990S 1971 Congressional Black Caucus is formed 1973 Roe v. Wade women have the right to an abortion in the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, the last American troops leave Vietnam 1974 Violence erupts in Boston over busing 1977 Robert Chambliss become first of several men to be tried and convicted for his role in 1963 Birmingham, Alabama, church bombing that killed four girls 1987 PBS airs documentary Eyes on the Prize

1989 Virginias Douglas L. Wilder becomes first African American elected to any state governship 1992 Race riots in LA break out after police officers beat African American Rodney King 1998 In June, African American James Byrd is chained to a pickup truck and dragged to death in Jasper, Texas; in October, gay white man, Matthew Shepard is beaten to death and left hanging on fence in Laramie, Wyoming; both incidents draw national attention to hate crimes 2000S

2000 - Thousands of African Americans are prevented from voting in Presedential election in Florida because their names have been accidentally purged from voting lists 2001 Coordinated plane attacks bring down World Trade Centers in NYC, renewing national debates on the meaning of freedom and civil liberties 2003 - In the most important affirmative action decision since the 1978 Bakke case, the Supreme Court (54) upholds the University of Michigan Law School's policy, ruling that race can be one of many factors considered by colleges when selecting their students

because it furthers "a compelling interest in obtaining the educational benefits that flow from a diverse student body. 2005 - The ringleader of the Mississippi civil rights murders (see Aug. 4, 1964), Edgar Ray Killen, is convicted of manslaughter on the 41st anniversary of the crimes. 2007 - Emmett Till's 1955 murder case, reopened by the Department of Justice in 2004, is officially closed. The two confessed murderers, J. W. Milam and Roy Bryant, were dead of cancer by 1994, and prosecutors lacked sufficient evidence to pursue further convictions.

2010S 2014 - The Justice Department opens a civil rights investigation into police practices in Ferguson, Mo., where a Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9. The Justice Department investigation is in addition to the FBI's civil rights inquiry. 2015 - After the release of a Justice Department report in March documenting civil rights violations by the Ferguson Police Department, Ferguson officials reach a deal with the

Justice Department, avoiding a civil rights lawsuit. The agreement will necessitate the levying of new taxes to pay for the planned improvements and require local vote. MONEY What role does money have in the acquisition of the American dream? Is money really the root of all evil? If you agree explain why, If you disagree explain how the expression became so well

known. Another saying claims that every man has his price which is no more or less true for women. Do you agree? What does this mean? What would you do for $1,000,000? $500,000? $1,000? $50? THEMES THE AMERICAN DREAM

The plays introduction asks, What happens to a dream deferred? That establishes the major theme. For the most part, the dreams of the major characters have been put on hold for a long time, but, ironically, when the chance for their dreams to come true does arrive, it creates conflict. Ultimately the characters do find out that dreams can come true, but not always with ease. THE POWER OF PREJUDICE

The Power of Prejudice-Set before the rise of the civil rights movement, A Raisin in the Sun reveals a social undercurrent of racial tension. The Youngers know discrimination; in large part it is the reason their dreams have been deferred. Prejudice in an all-white community helps drive the play to its climax, and at the plays resolution the Youngers seem likely to face prejudice again. FROM DEFEAT TO VICTORY Years of doing without have taken their toll on the Youngers, but the

insurance money seems to be the key to victory. The family also accomplishes a moral victory at the end that empowers the entire family. SYMBOLS SUNLIGHT VS DARKNESS Sunlight represents goodness and darkness represents evil. The sun nourishes and allows

everything to grow and develop. All that darkness nourishes is dark thoughts; plants and people wither in darkness. LENAS PLANT Symbolizes her perpetual hope for a better life. By constantly caring for the plant, however feeble it becomes, she

shows the audience that she is keeping her hope alive. BENEATHAS HAIR When Beneatha cuts her straight hair, she is rejecting the social norms of the time.

INSURANCE CHECK/MONEY For everyone in the play, money is the symbol of their dreams. All of them believe that money will be the key to their dreams coming true. GEORGE MURCHISONS WHITE SHOES Symbolizes the discrepancy between the Youngers poor lives versus Georges privileged

life. Rich blacks worked very hard to separate themselves from poor blacks as represented by his dress. ASAGAIS NIGERIAN ROBES Symbolizes African heritage and the fight for freedom from colonial rule and their importance to Beneatha to

find her roots.

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