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Three Major Dreamers

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Three Major Dreamers An essay to compare and contrast the beliefs and values of the three main characters of the play "A Raisin in the Sun" 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? Like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags Like a heavy load. Or does it explode? -Langston Hughes What happens when a dream dies? Like Langston Hughes pointed out, does it dry up or run away? Does it rot, sag or explode? These are some of the questions analysed by Lorraine Hansberry through the three prinicipal characters of the play: Mama, Walter and Beneatha. They all have very contrary attitudes towards life and this essay will explore these opposing opinions and explain some of these conflicting views. Walter Younger "is a lean, intense young man in his middle thirties, inclined to quick nervous movements and erratic speech habits and always in his voice there is a quality of indictment"; he is, in fact, the character who has the greatest variety of personalities and who undergoes the most dramatic change (evolves the most during the course of the play). For instance, he can be called pugnacious when referred to as Beneatha's brother, but caring as Travis' father and audacious as Ruth's wife. For having these quite adverse characteristics, Walter can be judged as either the protagonist of the play or the antagonist. One can analyse him as a materialistic ("No - it was always money, Mama. We just didn't know about it,"), egotistical and unforgiving family man, whose pride is greater than the love he has for his relatives. However, one can also see him as a man who loves his family so much to a point where he'll do anything, even go against them and hurt their feelings, just so they can have the best, just so to secure their economic prosperity ("Just tell me, what is it that you want to be - and you'll be it...Whatever you want to be - Yessir! ...read more.


"Well - neither is God. I get sick of hearing about God." "I mean it! I'm just tired of hearing about God all the time. What has He got to do with anything? Does he pay tuition?" Even if she does not believe in God, it is more than disrespectful to call him "just one idea" that she doesn't accept and to say He's "not important" to her religious mother. What dismays Mama the most is the fact that she didn't raise her dauther to become an atheic; she and her husband "went to trouble" to get Beneatha "and Brother to church every Sunday" (referring to Walter). "I'm not going out and be immoral or commit crimes because I don't believe in God. I don't even think about it. It's just that I get tired of him getting credit for all the things the human race achieves through its own stubborn effort. There is simply no blasted God - there is only man and it is he who makes miracles!" "I also see that everybody thinks it's all right for Mama to be a tyrant. But all the tyranny in the world will never put God in the heavens!" Both these remarks are just a couple of examples to illustrate how Beneatha can be exceedingly self-centered at certain times. Nevertheless, Beneatha's strongest quality is that of hating "assimilationist Negroes" and believing that "the only people on the world who are more snobbish than rich white people are rich coloured people." At the beginning of the play she did 'mutilate' her hair so as to make it look prettier than when it was 'raw', but comprehends it was not part of her African identity. As a result, she decides to cut it all off ("Enough of this assimilationist junk!"), in order to become more like "a queen of the Nile" than a "Hollywood queen". This is just the start of her search for her 'black' identity, which she is able to find and takes pride in it. ...read more.


Mama can be, actually, considered the best type of black person there is; "coming from five generations of people who was slaves and sharecroppers", she will do whatever it takes to fight for her family's rights and although she can sometimes see her son as "a disgrace" to his "father's memory", and think she should sometimes "slow down and see life a little more like it is", she'll never give up on any of her family's dreams, even if they are too high, for they are the most precious things in the entire world. Besides, she knows they "ain't never been that dead inside." One of Mama's best saying was directed to Beneatha after she says there is nothing left to love, regarding her brother, Walter. Lena immediatley responds, "There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing. (...) Child when do you think is the time to love somebody the most; when they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well, then 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 it hisself 'cause the world done whipped him so." As you can observe from Mama's character, there is a slight reference to Martin Luther King, who said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. (...) I have a dream that one day, (...) little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. (...) I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together." Isabela Goulart -9A- ...read more.

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