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Black Lit 2 - A Raisin in the Sun

by: Kimberly Burke

Black Lit 2 - A Raisin in the Sun EH 304

Marketplace > Jacksonville State University > English > EH 304 > Black Lit 2 A Raisin in the Sun
Kimberly Burke
Jacksonville State University
GPA 4.0

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About this Document

These are my in class notes on A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry.
Survey of Black Literature 2
Dr. Felgar
Class Notes
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kimberly Burke on Wednesday September 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EH 304 at Jacksonville State University taught by Dr. Felgar in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 5 views. For similar materials see Survey of Black Literature 2 in English at Jacksonville State University.

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Date Created: 09/21/16
Black Lit 2 – Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun  Hansberry was 1 successful African American Broadway writer – appeared in 1950s o Gay – kept quiet b/c audiences wouldn’t come if they knew  Revolutionary play, but very much with the times in terms of hiding certain elements and truths b/c of audience reactions o Writes with control – sees a lot of points of view  Only recently that a black playwright was recognized o need: money, white investors, economics o now there is funding for African American  extremely resonant play o you can move up if you play by the rules  Title – poem by Langston Hughes “Harlem” o What happens to a dream deferred – explode, dry up like raisin in the sun o Hughes’ “The Mother” – cast light on play  Mother talking to her son about how she has it harder than him b/c she is a black woman  Doubly difficult being a mother st  1 performed – tremendous reviews – 2 years on Broadway  many members of audience praised the play for the depiction of Mama o Motherhood is sacred, never criticize a mother o Dominant character o No critical questions should be raised about her  Mama/ Lena Younger o Does she ever move far from her throne? o Does she like/enjoy power? Willing to share with her son especially with how insurance money will be used?  Walter Lee (her son) wants to open a liquor store – Mama disapproves  Sister could have gone to medical school, could have paid the mortgage in white neighborhood, Travis could ask for money o When Beneatha challenges Mama about religion, Mama slaps her & forces her to say in Mama’s house God rules  Slapping is not an argument o She calls Travis unto living room where the play’s only white character comes to give money back to them to not move to white neighborhood  Wants Walter to conform to what she thinks b/c he has to swallow his pride to get the money to be able to provide for his family  Liberty & family or money  Mama thinks he’s worried about fancy things; she worried about being lynched when she was younger o Tries to tell Walter & Ruth how to raise Travis o Mama sleeps with a gun in her lap b/c of the bombing of black owned homes  White audiences didn’t want to hear that  Not 1 specific central character – the family is a central character more than 1 person  Sources of Tension o Race – back from living among whites o How to spend $10,000 – on what? Who gets to choose? o Gender – Walter doesn’t want Beneatha to be a doctor, threatens her, wants her to stay home b/c men should make money o Afrocentricity vs. Assimilation  Assimilation – minority moving into & with majority culture  Character from Africa interested in Beneatha, wants her to move to Africa  Fight in her head: being Afrocentric or Assimilating into white class  Mama thinks Beneatha should be with him so she can be home  Mama stirs every pot, likes to dominate o Generational tension  Questions to consider: o Who is a bigger threat to young ones: white people or Mama? o Is it Mama’s business to tell Walter & Ruth to have an abortion or not? o Are Mama’s motives Mixed? o Which source of tension is most important?  Hansberry/author says the most important passage is when Joseph Asagai says “eventually people like me will be overthrown by other Africans”  Looking way into the future o Key Question: what is a man?  Mama thinks Walter is not a man  Walter – being a man in money  Overwhelmed when Mama gives him $6500 & keeps $3500 for mortgage  But how will they keep the house without liquor store  Gives Travis a quarter b/c it proves to Travis that Walter is man o Even though they can’t afford it  Without money you’re nothing o What is the importance of the plant? o


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