A Raisin in the Sun Generational Differences Essay

Submitted By keishathebaeshark
Words: 585
Pages: 3

The African­American experience of growing up in America changed dramatically throughout the course of the twentieth century, thus leading to differing views between the older and younger generations. In Lorraine Hansberry's play,
A Raisin in the Sun
, the character Mama was raised during a point in time when racial prejudice was prevalent and blacks had virtually no opportunity to live out their dreams. On the other hand, her children,
Walter and Beneatha, and her daughter­in­law, Ruth, grow up in a world where slavery exists only in history books, and although they still face financial hardship and racial discrimination, it is possible for African­Americans to become successful business men or even doctors. The younger generation's concept of the American dream reflects the changing times and the new opportunities that are now available for African­Americans, showing the theme of generational differences. As a result of this generation gap, Mama and her children view the issues of dreams, morals, and their futures from extremely different angles, leading to much tension and anger in their relationship.

By viewing the dreams of Mama in comparison to the dreams of her children, one can clearly see the generation gap that exists between them. As a result of the changing time period, their dreams greatly differ. Beneatha dreams of becoming a doctor and believes that she should have the right to express herself, a concept foreign to the other women in the play.
Though Walter Lee and Ruth often serve as middle ground in the generational differences seen in the Younger family, Walter Lee’s views on Beneatha’s dream is extremely different.
He feels that she should “...go be a nurse like other women – or just get married and be quiet
. . .” while Mama is much more supportive of Beneatha’s dream, and was strongly against
Walter’s dream. Walter hopes to use the insurance money as an investment in a liquor store, because he finds his dead­end job as a chauffeur to be emasculating. Walter fantasizes about the way in which money would increase his social standing and allow him to acquire the material markers of class. Without room for advancement in his low­paying job as a chauffeur,
Walter is continually frustrated by his inability to fulfill the masculine role of financial