Langston Hughes: The Raisin in the Sun

Rebekah Meyer, Writer

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The Raisin in the Sun

Dreams are one of many things that everyone has in common and there is one poem by Langston Hughes called “Harlem”  and a play called A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry which both talks about dreams and how they are not all easy to get. A dream is the idea of being able to do something of your own desire or wants. Although said by Robert James Waller “Life is never easy for those who dream” and “It is, that a world is full of possibilities if thought up into dreams” said by Rebekah Meyer. What happens in the play is seen in the poem and can also be easily connected together. The lives of the Younger family in the Hansberry play can be seen in Hughes poem. Every member of the Younger family has a dream that they want to reach but none of them knowing if they are going to get to their desires in life.

Hughes poem is about dreams that seem unreachable and that are not easy to keep or go towards. Hughes askes, “What happens to a dream deferred?” (1). Is he right for saying that dreams are “like a raisin in the sun?” (3) “Or a crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet?” and what does it mean? For a raisin to be in the sun a once juicy fruit and nutritious item now seen as a dry and useless creation. Although as the raisin sits there getting worse by the sun it does nothing just as most people would do with their dream. What about an infected sore, a wound or illness that if it were to sit there becoming something horrible or even harmful to a person. Too late to do anything about the sore you let it harm you more and you fix nothing about it just as a human would do to a dream that is being taken from them yet not able to keep because of their own pure laziness. The image or idea of rotten meat left and forgotten and beyond able to have around or even use. There is something rotten or fowl in the idea of forgotten dreams of humans who just get to busy or lost in society of today. A syrupy sweet makes a person energetic and full of life but one that has been out to long and has gone hard and crispy. A dream being sweet at a point but a has gone cold, hard, and crispy maybe even too much too handle for one being to withhold. Even a heavy load is such a burden to have and is straining to any human willing enough to pick it up and carry it. In many ways dreams or like heavy loads uneasy to carry on your back or even the thought of having that dream but never being able to touch it but yet your fingertips are so close.

Just like in the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry dreams have come across many times by the Younger family and especially by Walter Lee Younger. Walter is the head of the family and his dream is to be the best that he can for them. He is trying to make a profit and run his own business so he can support his mother, wife, sister, and son. In the play Walter tells us ”Yeah. You see, this little liquor store we got in mind cost seventy-five thousand…” (pg 36) and even “That’s it. There you are. Man say to his woman: I got me a dream.” (pg 37) which no one is listening to because it’s foolish act. The only issues that Walter has in reaching his dream is that he doesn’t have the funds to start up his business and the only person who is going to receive that kind of cash is his Mama. Bennie, Walter’s sister tells him “That money belongs to Mama, Walter, and it’s for her to decide how she wants to use it.” (pg 40). Walter easily connects to being like the sore in the poem because the sore if not taken care of is harmful to the person. His dream is harmful to him and his family yet he still believes that this dream of his will help his family so he is letting the dream or sore sit there and get worse.

Another character in the play that has a dream is Mama who someday wants to have her own house so she could grow her very own garden in the backyard. Mama is the only character that is getting the funds to be able to get to her dream yet she has troubles in deciding on what she wants to do with her money. Mama even tells Ruth “ Well, I always wanted me a garden like I used to see sometimes at the back of the houses down home.” (pg 55). She eventually decided to get a house and try to make everyone happy with the fact that they were not going to be living in a dumpy apartment anymore. Mama told Travis that she bought him a house “She went out and she bought you a house!” (pg 92). Mama being the one of the few people to receive her dream she reminds me a lot of the  sugar crusted sweet because she is trying to hold onto something that was once sweet but is now hard and crusty. Her dream has become the same crusty and hard to keep creation that she wants to keep unfortunate events keeps her from that.