The American Dream and Identity Explored in "A Raisan in the Sun"

4214 Words Dec 23rd, 2009 17 Pages
The American Dream and Identity Explored in Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”

Dreams are the very essence of individuality. While we live in a world that tries to shape us into becoming what they want us to be, we have our dreams that guide us to follow our own tendencies. The American Dream is one that everyone understands; the notion is practically synonymous with the United States. Hundreds of thousands of individuals come to America to pursue this dream because they know that when they are working toward something positive, they become better individuals. The idea of identity is closely linked with the American Dream because to have a dream, one must have some sort of idea of what one likes to do. In addition, success generally
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While racism is a theme in the play, it is not emphasized as heavily as the search for significance through identity. Domina suggests that racism is important to the structure of the play because it “considers racism specifically within the context of a particular family’s dreams. Mama Makes her decisions . . . based on her love for her family rather than primarily on an ideological opposition to segregation.” (Domina) She is simply selecting the best neighborhood for her family to live. Domina maintains, “It is eventually the family members’ ability to live by their own decisions rather than to simply react to the decisions of others which affords them their greatest dignity.” (Domina) This is significant to understanding the play’s theme because the Youngers are living in a world in which they have needed to react to many circumstances. To have the chance to make a decision based on something other than their environment provides a sense of stability and pride.

Walter becomes the central focus of the play because it is through him that everyone learns a valuable lesson. He must suffer through this horrible event in order to
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