A Raisin in the Sun
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A Raisin in the Sun

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  32,815 ratings  ·  1,246 reviews
When it was first produced in 1959, A Raisin in the Sun was awarded the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for that season and hailed as a watershed in American drama. A pioneering work by an African-American playwright, the play was a radically new representation of black life. "A play that changed American theater forever."--The New York Times.
Paperback, 160 pages
Published November 29th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1959)
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Community Reviews

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Joel
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?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

I decided to assign this to my Honors American Lit class before I had even read it myself. I'm so glad I did! I really enjoyed the characters. And while students get a kick out of lines like "Why you always wear them faggoty white shoes?" it also deals with som...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
There are more than a few established classics that I had never heard of until I did my teaching degree here in Canada. Since everyone else had come through the Canadian school system, they were very knowing about "The Lottery", Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Raisin in the Sun. These established American classics got blank looks from me. Well, not so much Mockingbird; I'd heard of that one a couple of years before, and the name was familiar to me from before moving here.

But I'd...more
Jeffrey
Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun is very deservedly considered a timeless classic. Unlike many other works from around the same era, Hansberry provokes and moves her audience without writing of complete devastation. To explain how her style and choices are different than her contemporaries, is to give away the ending. The denouement of A Raisin in the Sun is like no other of its genre. This is what makes it a classic. It is timeless because of Hansberry's presentation of the familial in...more
Conner Zimmermann
I honestly think this was a very bad choice by Ms. E. I cannot think of a single person in our bell that was actually interested in this. This book might have even made me a little more stupid. This is by far the worst book I have read this year. The characters were imbeciles, just because they get some money doesn't mean that they go and spend it all on a house right away. This book was horrific, making me want to tear my eyes out of my head so that I would not have to continue to read this was...more
Thomas
A Raisin in the Sun details the story of a working-class family struggling to make ends meet. The Youngers are then faced with a difficult decision that brings their colored heritage and the lives of their ancestors to the forefront.

Although this book and Death of a Salesman have some similar themes, what makes A Raisin in the Sun much better is its dynamic dialogue and the conflicting desires of its characters. While not perfectly three-dimensional, each family member in the story had an idea o...more
sydney
Jul 02, 2007 sydney rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who live in cities, teachers, everyone
This is a great play. Part of the reason I loved it is because I saw some former students act out scenes from it last month, and they were amazing. But! One of the reasons they were able to be so amazing is because this is a great play. It touches on common themes-- the American dream, generation gaps, family, race relations, identity. Hansberry gets dialogue just right. Her characters are strong and relatable. It's funny and moving at the same time and still makes sense fifty years after it was...more
Lori
I read this a few years ago and just finished it again. I have seen the movie with Sidney Poitier and was interested in reading the play. I was impressed to read that Lorraine Hansberry, the author was only 29 years old when she wrote this thought provoking, well written play. I read at the beginning of my copy, a new one i just got, that each book depending on which one you get can be a bit different with scenes or a few lines that may or may not get.
A Raisin in the Sun is about an African Ame...more
booklady
Hansberry's death from cancer at 34 just six years after the publication and first production of Raisin in the Sun was a real loss to both the literary and dramatic worlds. Not everyone likes to read plays; I enjoy them. This one is exceptional. The characters are well-defined, real, memorable; the interaction among them vibrant, interesting, at times gut-wrenching, never dull. Raisin is a snapshot of black urban life on the eve of the sixties, just before the civil rights movement. And yet, we...more
Shanae
Great play. Great film. Everyone should read it...you can't say you truly love literature if you haven't read this one.
John Yelverton
An interesting story that was actually, surprisingly enjoyable.
Silvana
The story was brilliant! It was a story about love, sacrifice and family values. My favorite character was Mama Lena. She was the one that really maintain the family values and the respect within the family, which her own kids knew little about. I like the way she interacts with little Travis.

Mama always wanted a house for her entire family, but her dream never came true until her husband dies and because of his insuranse Mama Lena was able to buy the house, her children grew up and so did thei...more
Ivana
“Raisin in the sun” is a memorable, beautiful and powerful play. Despite the fact that it has some flaws, I think it is a successful play.

I liked the theme and the emotion behind this play. I think Hansberry was successful in creating the atmosphere and the setting, although she does not use much description. Yes, plays don't really have descriptions in a sense that a novel does, but what I mean to say is that she "shows" rather than "tells", i.e she is a decent dramatist. For instance you get...more
Jaimee Downes
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is one of my favorite books and this was my second time reading it. I have also seen the movie which really brought it all to life. Before I read it for the first time I was scared that I wasn't going to understand it because I usually have a hard time reading books that are in the form of plays. I was wrong; this book is easy to understand on the surface and enjoying to dig deeper to find the deeper meaning. It is also a quick read that kept me laughing...more
Adira
For a play vs. movie review please visit my blog ...On The Shelf

I have often heard people gush over Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin In The Sun and told myself there was no rush to read it on my own because I would eventually have to read it for some class. Sadly, this book never actually made it onto the required reading list for any of my classes so it was left up to me to read it at my leisure. This summer, I finally had a chance to pick the play up from my mother's collection while I wait...more
Marcus Streeter
The theme of this book is universal, and applies to every minority in the world. The author's purpose could be more difficult to find. Hansberry gives us views of overcoming racism and discrimination. She also gives us views on getting over tragedies. Walter Lee Younger is the epic center of all of the pain going on in the family. Hansberry has a lot of reasons for writing this book. Lorraine Hansberry wrote it because she wants minority to know throw any tragedy, you can be prosperous.

The purp...more
J. Trott
I didn't finish this. It was good writing. It had okay characters, a bit typish, but whatever.

The reason I didn't finish it is because even if the title didn't give it away, it became clear that it would end badly. I don't want to teach my kids about how hard life is, and the probability problems people from the ghetto have. They know that shit.

It got me thinking about American Classic Drama. I went on a Eugene O'Neil kick back in college, and he was another great fatalist. We all know about "...more
Donna
Dec 14, 2012 Donna rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Donna by: Kathy
My only hesitancy (and it is a minor one) about giving this book 5 stars is that I have no intimate connection with the African-American community, not now and certainly not when this play was written in the late-1950s. While I absolutely loved it and while it gave me much to think about, I do not know how well it reflects the black community of that time, nor now. Assuming from the accolades and commentary that it does accurately portray what is revealed in the play, it is amazing.

The bare plot...more
Stacy Saunders
Sung to the tune of the “Good Times” theme song:


The Youngers!

Will be getting a big payment

The Youngers!

From an insurance policy

The Youngers!

Walter Sr. passed some years ago

Now they’ll get out of the ghetto with the money he left them

Mama takes some of the money and goes out and buys them a house

But Brother buys a liquor store—Mistake!

The money then gets ripped off—Heartbreak!

A white man doesn’t want them buyin’ ---No Doubt!

In an all white neighborhood—Stay Out!

Will they stay in or move out of th...more
Irene Lê
I am ashamed to concede that I thought lowly of this book before I even read it. I thought it was about some random boring family stories of African American people, but I was so wrong. I was very wrong that I want to slap myself in the face.

Characters: They are awesome. We can easily distinguish their own incentives and personalities. They have their own beliefs, they react, and they conflict. It was bloody exciting to read the interaction between each member - how Lena slapped Beneathea becau...more
Ryan
The play A Raisin in The Sun takes place in Chicago during the 1950's.The play is written by Lorraine Hansberry, who was the first Black writer to write a play that was performed on Broadway.The play is high on my list when it comes to plays I've read recently. It revolves around an African-American family of five, known as the Youngers. They struggle to find a better life and get harassed by rich white folks. One of the main conflicts throughout the play is family values. For example, some mem...more
Logan Erdmann
I thoroughly enjoyed this play. I liked how it portrayed the real life situations of a black family in Chicago. Money and family is the main issue in this book. The family is headed by the grandmother that has an extremely headstrong son named Walter. The family is about to receive a life insurance check from Walter’s dad but everyone has their own idea of how the money should be used.

The main characters are Walter, Ruth, Lena, Travis, and Beneatha. These characters are all family. Walter and R...more
Shannon
Mar 10, 2014 Shannon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Love it, love it, love it! I watched the original play starring Sidney Poitier on television just a couple of years ago. I hadn't planned to read the book until I found out the play would be back on Broadway in March 2014. So I was familiar with the story when I started reading but even so, I couldn't put the book down. Enjoyed every page.

I was sure that after seeing the original play and then reading the book, seeing the show live show on Broadway would be just, okay. WRONG! It was just as awe...more
Suzanne
I surprisingly liked A Raisin In the Sun. When I first read the plot and found out what the story was about I thought, "This is going to be boring, I don't like stuff from this era, it just doesn't interest me." But I started to read it and I really got into it. The stage directions really helped me get a better feel for the play, helped me set the stage in my own mind. It really helped me to picture Mama, Beneatha, Ruth, and even Walter, even though he ain't the most pleasant picture in the wo...more
Lennie
The Younger family is poor and they live in Chicago. Mama does domestic work in people’s kitchens while her grown son, Walter, works as a chauffeur. She always wanted the best for her children and so when a life insurance check arrives in the mail she has to make a decision about what to do with the money. It is her dream to buy a house, fix it up, and make a garden in the back but Walter has other ideas. He wants his mother to give him the money so he can own a liquor store. This creates confli...more
Kimberly Tardy
The play presents us with three generations of the Younger family: the widowed matriarch Lena; her son Walter Lee and daughter Beaneatha; and Walter's wife Ruth and their son Travis. The family resides in a semi-slum apartment building on the south side of Chicago in the 1950s, where each tries to rise above the difficulties of their enviroment and the many social limitations imposed upon African-Americans at that time. But there is hope on the horizon: Lena is about to receive insurance money f...more
Luke
Jan 01, 2014 Luke rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of the Harlem Renaissance
Without a doubt, a great story: important in its own time and relevant today...can you already feel the "but" coming?

It's a wonderful story, but the writing isn't strong. In any writing class, dating all the way back to middle school, writers are told to "show" and not "tell." There are a great number of writing rules that can be ignored or played with for stylistic reasons, and those deviations from the prescriptivist route can enhance one's appreciation for a writer's skill. Not this one. The...more
Ms. Bridget
Well, I can honestly say that I enjoyed the book tremendously!

My favorite version of the play was with Sidney Poitier, so, while reading, that's the cast I kept picturing (as I could best remember them all).

Throughout the play, and the book, the one person that really agitated me most, was Walter Lee. In the first two acts, Walter Lee was bothersome, annoying, just plain disrespectful and stupid. But by act three, he totally redeemed himself and proved that he is the wonderful, father, son, and...more
Sarah Fessler
I really liked Raisin in the Sun mostly because of Mama and Beneatha. They were such hilarious and strong characters. Mama's character was so generous and loving, I especially liked how independent she is. Mama's independent side definitely shows through in Beneatha. Beneatha is so great because she wants to make a difference in the world instead of just being a stay at home wife. In that time, that would be hard to do, especially since there is both racial and gender prejudices, but I think sh...more
Walfi Regalado
An African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. This money comes from the deceased Mr. Younger life insurance policy. Each of the adult members of the family are fighting about what would like to do with this money.Mama, wants to buy a house for a dream she shared with her husband. Mama son, Walter Lee, would rather use the money to invest in a liquor store with his friends. He believes that the investment will solve the families financial problems forever. Walter’s...more
matt
Works equally well as a domestic ('living room') drama, problem play, and social realism. It's durable enough to sustain any number of readings and carries with it a connecting thread of verisimilitude. The other day a student asked me when it was set. I said 'early sixties', which was close enough (1959) but it was intentionally left a bit open- "any time from the end of WW2 to the present" says Hansberry's own stage directions. I love this as an example of its universality (it's set in the Sou...more
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Books2Movies Club: 2014/08 - A Raisin in the Sun 1 3 Aug 14, 2014 01:14PM  
how to read one of this sites books 3 16 Mar 20, 2014 10:06PM  
Beneatha younger 2 27 Dec 05, 2013 10:56AM  
Mrs. Cook's Engli...: Weigh in on Walter Lee! 1 5 May 06, 2013 04:55PM  
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To Be Young, Gifted, and Black: An Informal Autobiography A Raisin in the Sun and The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window A Raisin in the Sun: The Unfilmed Original Screenplay Les Blancs: The Collected Last Plays: The Drinking Gourd/What Use Are Flowers? Sign In Sidney Brustein's Window

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“Beneatha: Love him? There is nothing left to love.

Mama: There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing. (Looking at her) Have you cried for that boy today? I don't mean for yourself and for the family 'cause we lost the money. I mean for him: what he been through and what it done to him. 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, 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! when you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is.”
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“I want to fly! I want to touch the sun!" "Finish your eggs first.” 20 likes
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