Comparing Light and Growth in A Raisin in the Sun and Death of a Salesman

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Light and Growth in A Raisin in the Sun and Death of a Salesman.


In A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, both authors use motifs of light and growth within their settings to convey messages about the intrinsic values and potentiality of their characters. A Raisin in the Sun begins with a faint little light, filtering through the kitchen window. It's not much of a light, but it is successfully kindled by Lena Younger to keep her little plant alive and to help sow the seed of human dignity in her children. In Death of a Salesman, the physical light is blocked by the encroaching concrete jungle of New York City and the spiritual light is extinguished by Willy Loman's misguided
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As more light appears we see a solid vault of apartment houses around the small, fragile seeming home." This juxtaposition of the two settings mirrors the battle in Willy Loman's mind. The wide open potential of the true American spirit which he thinks he represents is opposed to the confined reality of his superficial values and narrow viewpoint.



Willy demonstrates his two sides in the first scene of the play. In one line he says of Biff, "How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life?" then he contradicts himself by commenting



"There's not a breath of fresh air in the neighborhood. The grass don't grow no more, you can't raise a carrot in the backyard. They should have a law against apartment houses...More and more I think about those days, Linda. This time of year it was lilac and wisteria. And then the peonies would come out, and the daffodils. What a fragrance in this room!" ( Miller, 737 )





It seems as though Willy Loman might well have unearthed who he was on a farm. He and his family live fairly comfortably in a house which is almost paid for, but the light of the sky, and of hope, is cut off by the real world that is closing in on Willy.



On the other hand, as Hansberry…