Essay on A Raisin in the Sun vs. The Glass Menagerie

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A Raisin in the Sun vs. The Glass Menagerie

America is known around the world as the land of opportunity, a place where you can follow your dreams. No matter how selfish or farfetched ones dream may be, their goal will always be available. Whether it be the pursuit of the woman of your dreams, like that of Jay Gatsby, or the hunt for something pure and real, like Holden Caulfield. A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, and The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, exhibit the various types of American lifestyles and the aspiration that surface among each character. The dreams between the characters in the two literary works differ in selfishness, and availability.

Tom is a young man bearing the responsibility of
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Another means of Tom’s escape are his outings to the movie, which are aided by the fire escape. Tom goes to the movies for several reasons; to satisfy his need for alcohol, to escape his home life, and to experience some adventure. Walter is a black man in the 1950’s supporting himself, his wife, son, sister and mother in a small apartment in Chicago. He and Tom are both treated less than what a human is worth.

“…I open car doors all day long. I drive a man around in his limousine and I say, ‘Yes, sir; no, sir; very good, sir; shall I take the Drive, sir?’ Mama that ain’t no kind of job… that ain’t nothing at all…” (Hansberry 60).

The Younger family has not been able to experience the finer things in life, and Walter, being the authoritative male figure, feels he is at fault knows that a change is needed. Walter’s solution is to use his father’s life insurance money to fund the acquiring of a liquor license. The women of the household are always ordering around Walter. It’s Ruth, Mama, or Beneatha telling him how to run things, and when he gets a chance to take the initiative by using the money to invest in his liquor license, his friend betrays him, and his dreams are crushed.

Tom and Walter are in similar situations. They are living almost in poverty, and they are denied authority. Walter’s goal is not selfish, in that it is not just for him, but also for the benefit of the entire family.
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