Exploding Dreams





Exploding Dreams

Lorraine Hansberry’s play  A Raisin in the Sun and “A Dream Deferred “  a poem by Langston Hughes’s converge to show the similar struggle that a man of color experienced in the pre-Civil Rights Movement era. The two writers both highlight the importance of dreams that the African American community has been denied to actualize. The two authors attempt to inspire social change through their art. They posit that dreams of these individuals cannot be ignored as they result in dire repercussions regardless the course of action taken. While Hughes the suggests a number of possible reactions to dreams deferred and its inevitable conclusion, Hansberry illustrates the financial and social constraints that result from this delay, the only way to remedy it.

All the characters in Hansberry’s play have individual dreams despite the obvious impediments. The institutionalized and overt racism inhibits the family’s capability to achieve their dreams. The money inherited from their deceased father is leveraged as they opportunity to advance closer to their dreams (Sutton 13). Although the father died before witnessing his aspirations for better living conditions for their family, it is going to occur. This shows the longevity of a dream deferred. Rather than die with its owner, the dream is passed on to the next generation in form of finances. In the same fashion, Walter hopes to live Travis a better legacy. Medeana, already in college, sees a chance to pursue a career in medicine. Walter wishes to emulate the lifestyle of the prosperous clients he chauffeurs; subsequently, resolving the social problems in his family. His relationship with his wife is plummeting, hopefully after investing in a liquor store; they will have a brighter future. Though Walter’s purpose is disillusioned by the allure of material success, he is an enterprising individual. He knows that the depressed Blacks are bound to drown their sorrows under the bottle making a liquor store a promising investment.

Enlightenment helps to solidify one’s resolve. The girl has exposure to both her cultural African heritage and the perspectives of the elite African American. She recognizes her true worth, the gravity of her purpose in more pronounced (Sutton 23). Her Nigerian love interest helps her to aspire for independence and shed off her unconscious chains of complacency. The matriarch of the younger family is the only one that exhibits the real meaning of an exploding dream. To her financial success is a mere means to their inevitable end, freedom. Her wealth of experience from two generations informs her intelligent worldview. Her lines corroborate Hughes’s theory of the dream evolving with time.

The main impediment to achieving their dream is epitomized by institutional racism and overt racism. Mr. Karl Lindner, the envoy from Clybourne Park’s White association embodies the overt racism that the family faces. The said man aims to capitalize on the desperation of the family to hinder their movement into their posh neighborhood (Sutton 26). The housing system has institutionalized discrimination to the extent that moving to a good neighborhood is a risk. The term good housing contrasts the dangers it accompanies as elucidated by the Younger’s neighbors. As Walter’s ending remarks suggest, fighting for a cause is considered a threat to the social stability. The family recognizes that to achieve their dreams they have to challenge the existing social order. Complacency facilitates the sun, racial discrimination, in drying the said grapes into raisins. Walter in a defining moment realizes honor is an enduring legacy than material wealth. Concomitantly, standing up one’s rights, good housing is the only path to self-actualization.


Works cited

Sutton, Gabriel. “Theme Analysis: Lorraine Hansberry’s” A Raisin in the Sun”.” (2011).



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