Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun – Mama


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A Raisin in the Sun – Mama

 

Mama has dreams for her family to rise from poverty and live in a better and bigger place and also for them to continue to grow together as a family. Mama has a plant that she also cares for. She takes care of this plant as if it was one of her own children. Mama's children also have their own dreams and their own plans on how to attain those dreams. The family's competing dreams are emphasized by Hansberry's recurring use of the motif--Mama's plant.

In the opening scene of the play Mama goes to her plant and nurtures it. Mama tries to instill the value of family importance to her children as she struggles to keep them together and functioning (Kohorn). The plant symbolizes Mama's dreams of owning her own house. She uses part of the money to put a down payment on a house in a white neighborhood.

 

Beneatha is Mama's youngest child. She aspires to become a doctor. Mama wants Beneatha to become what she wants so she decided to put aside some of the insurance money for Beneatha's schooling. Beneatha struggles as a young independent woman who has yet to find her identity. She finds herself trying new hobbies and dating two very different men. During a conversation with one of those men, Asagai, Beneatha is forced by Asagai to realize that she is not very independent at all. In fact she has been depending on the insurance money to get her through school. After this realization, Beneatha gains thoughts on how to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor (Kohorn). She presents her mother with her decision of getting married and how she "plans to find her roots in Africa" with Asagai (Silver).

 

Walter wants the insurance money so that he can prove that he is capable of making a future for his family. By doing well in business, Walter thinks that he can buy his family happiness. Mama cares for Walter deeply and hates seeing him suffer so she gave into his idea. Mama gives Walter the rest of the money and tells him to put half in a bank for his sister's schooling and he could do whatever he wanted with the other half.

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This made Walter very happy. When Walter found out that Willy ran off with the money, Walter's dreams were shattered and the family was very disappointed at what Walter had done. Walter is ready to give up so he calls Mr. Lindner. At this point the all of the family's dreams have been shattered. Mama tells Beneatha:

There is always something left to love...When do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easier for everybody? Well then, you ain't through learning - because that ain't the time at all. It's when he's at his lowest and can't believe in hisself' cause the world done whipped him so (Hansberry 1789).!

This is how she feels about her plant and her family. Mama believes that her plant will survive even at its lowest, withered state and that her family can do the same. Mama gives her family unconditional love even with the less than perfect environment for growth. Beneatha then finally sees Walter's strength and she becomes able to appreciate what her brother has been through.

 

Near the end Mr. Lindner shows up and Walter finally "comes into his manhood" by standing up and telling Mr. Lindner that the family is moving into the neighborhood (Hansberry 1792). They learn that the dream of a house is the most important dream because it unites the family. The family comes together and Mama's dreams come true.

 

In the end of the story, Mama brings her plant the new house. She believes that it will also bring their new home new hope and new dreams as it did with their old home. The family's competing dreams were emphasized by the recurring motif--the plant. In the end each family's competing dream came into one and that was the dream of uniting the family.

 


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