A Raisin in the Sun Essay: Importance of Deferred Dreams

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Importance of Deferred Dreams in A Raisin in the Sun

A dream is a hope, a wish, and an aspiration. Young people have dreams about what they want to be when they grow up. Parents have dreams for their children's future. Not all of these dreams come true at the desired moment - these dreams are postponed or "deferred". A deferred dream is put on the "back burner of life"(Jemie 219), and it matures to its full potential, and is waiting when you are "ready to pursue it"(Jemie 219). It is assumed that the deferred event, though later than hoped for, will eventually come true.

Deferred dreams are a significant component of "A Raisin in the Sun"; the word "dream" is used a total of fourteen times throughout the play. Mama,
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Walter is furious with Mama for "butchering up his dream" (Hansberry) and when she entrusts him with the money leftover from the down payment, he is irresponsible and losses it. The white residents of Clybourne Park also attempt to defer the dream. Mr. Lindner, a representative of the residents, even offers to buy back their house for more money than they put down. Tempting, but no thanks! Her dream of home ownership seems to be dead until Mama, Ruth, Beneatha and Walter cooperate to achieve to goal. The goal even shifts slight to encompass standing up for themselves by moving into an all-white neighborhood. Even Walter does his part by refusing Mr. Lindner's offer of money.

Langston Hughes, author of the poem, Dream Deferred, made the most quoted observations on deferred dreams. Hughes was the first to ask the question: "What happens to a dream deferred"? "All African-Americans have had a dream deferred"(Wintz 179). Their dream was for the abolishment of segregation and the outlaw of discrimination. Slavery had come to an end with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, "but one hundred years later,...the Negro is still not free" (King). "America has defaulted on this promissory note" (King). But the African- Americans refused to accept the "bad check" (King). Martin Luther King, Jr. conveyed the "urgency" (King) of the situation that had been sizzling