A Raisin in the Sun: The Foundation of Family Essay

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The idea of family is a central theme in Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun. Hansberry alludes to the Old Testament book of Ruth in her play to magnify “the value of having a home and family”(Ardolino 181). The Younger family faces hardships that in the moment seem to tear them apart from one another, but through everything, they stick together. The importance of family is amplified by the choices of Walter and Beneatha because they appear to initiate fatal cracks in the Younger family’s foundation, but Mama is the cement who encourages her family to pull together as one unit. The hardships of the family help develop a sense of unity for the Younger household.
Walter and Beneatha’s relationship is very complex. The spiraling
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Walter struggles in understanding who he needs to be for his family. He wants to take his place as the patriarch of the family, but he feels incapable of providing them with the lifestyle they deserve. This concern is always at the forefront of his mind, and it affects his attitude and outlook. The anxiety that Walter is dealing with creates confrontation with his sister. He fears that her dream will interfere with his own agenda of making a better life for his family. The severity of the tension becomes more and more apparent with Walter’s unwise investment. Walter is dealing with the burden that he has let his family down, while Beneatha is flabbergasted by the reality that her future has been snatched away from her, and she had no control over it. While reflecting on the situation, Beneatha remarks, “ I sound like a human who just had her future taken right out of my hands! While I was sleeping….things were happening in this world that directly concerned me and nobody consulted me—they just went out and did things—and changed my life” (Hansberry 3.15). Walter and Beneatha’s individual issues with the outcome of the situation cause them to find fault with one another during a time when their family needs to pull together to get through such a financial hardship. Walter is in an emotional pit; his turning to alcohol and music instead of his family for support expands the
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