Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Raisin In the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965)

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore-
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat
Or crust and sugar over-
Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

~Langston Hughes

One word to describe this play is simply powerful. Family is intertwined with a group of individuals. That is what we are first, an individual. Lorraine Hansberry illustrates this beautifully in her play, A Raisin in the Sun. As circumstances of family life arise and offer hardship the differing personalites handle each situation differently. Screenplays amaze me as through only words exchanged between people, I develop a sense of character of each. Not only that but I gain a feel for the emotional atmosphere and surroundings from whence they are either living in or have come from. This play lives up to that classic standard in so many ways.
As the first few lines, of Hughes' poem, graces the introductory page, it gives a feeling of resonance foreshadowing what will be read. This is one of those plays that is not only inviting to read but one that would be good to see in its LIVE theatrical version. This is a cast of entertaining characters but not only because they are lively, it is one that can be related to as well.
Struggling deeply and challenged by their meager efforts to recover financially what they do not have, the Younger's, a Chicago family, Walter, Ruth, Mama, Beneatha and Travis each pursue their own course and worry about their dreams. It's compelling to feel how heartwrenchingly real these struggles are for the Younger's. As a reader, I found I was interested in each act of the play to see how this will turn out. It felt like I was dreaming along with them and rooting for them to overcome their challenges, rise above and find a way to maintain their dreams. I wanted them to keep going and let the future come into their field of vision.
After all, considering the Younger's in comparison to the plant that they carefully attended to, a plant without sunshine is one that will not see Spring again.

160 pages
First produced in 1959
My rating: 4 stars

"a woman who has adjusted to many things in life and overcome many more, her face is full of strength. She has, we can see, wit and faith of a kind that keep her eyes lit and full of interest and expectancy. She is, in a word, a beautiful woman. Her bearing is perhaps most like the noble bearing of the women of the Hereros of Southwest Africa - rather as if she imagines that as she walks she still bears a basket or a vessel upon her head." Act 1, Scene 1, pg. 22


A beautiful exchange ~

Mama: (Moved, watching her happiness.) Yes, honey?

Ruth: (Looking off) Is there-is there a whole lot of sunlight?

Mama: (Understanding) Yes, child, there's a whole lot of sunlight.

(Long pause)
Act 2, Scene 2, pg. 94


"Sometimes you just got to know when to give up some things...and hold on to what you got." Act 3, pg. 130

"There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing." Act 3, pg. 135

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Hamilcar Barca said...

oh wow, Julie. i just read the wiki article about Lorraine Hansberry. what a fascinating life she lived! but tragically brief.

Julie said...

Nice to hear from you, Hamilcar. I need to go look this up on wiki because she does sound fascinating. Thanks for your interest. :)

Trixie said...

Nice review, Julie. I particularly like the quotes you include. I have to check this one out.

Julie said...

Thanks, Trixie! I'm glad you liked the quotes and it's nice to hear from you again too. I hope you enjoy reading this one.