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A Raisin in the Sun

3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  38,240 ratings  ·  1,412 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, 151 pages
Published November 29th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1959)
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Best Play Ever
28th out of 419 books — 354 voters
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Books that made you cry!
225th out of 2,472 books — 6,265 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
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
Ashley *Hufflepuff Kitten*
Weathervane Playhouse is putting on a production of this incredible show just down the street from my house, opening this weekend, and I'm running the sound board for a few shows. I went to my first (and perhaps only -- eek!) rehearsal last night and homg. I was excited because hello, this is a classic, but I was NOT expecting to be so enveloped in the story while half my brain was concentrating on learning sound cues. It's really a testament to Ms Hansberry's incredible dialogue, because 95% of ...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
Huda Aweys
الحياة الاجتماعية و مشاكل السود و حياتهم في امريكا الكتاب دا دخلنى لعالمهم .. بجد كتاب مذهل عايشت فيه آلامهم .. آمالهم .. طموحاتهم .. كاتبة مرهفه و موهوبة فعلا انها تقدر توصل كل دا و مترجمة موهوبة كمان و امينة :) على ما اتذكر لأنى قرأت الكتاب دا زمان من فترة طويلة الحقيقة
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
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
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
The absolutely electric dialogue of A Raisin in the Sun drew me in from the first scene. I’m in awe of Hansberry’s ability to conjure allegorical characters that are also individually rich in verisimilitude. I didn’t doubt the dialogue for a second. I also sensed the deep sympathy Hansberry must have felt for her creations, even as she was gently teasing them throughout the duration of their stage lives.

While reading this, I couldn’t help but draw comparisons between Hansberry and Flannery O’Co
Great play. Great film. Everyone should read can't say you truly love literature if you haven't read this one.
John Yelverton
An interesting story that was actually, surprisingly enjoyable.
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
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
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
“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
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
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
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 "
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
I enjoyed the play just as much as I did the movie. A wonderful lesson to learn from, Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun. Regardless, how you look at life, inevitably, the ultimate lesson still remains the same. A enjoyable read. Snagged it at Half Priced Books for fifty cents.
Apart from its importance on the black empowerment level, the story, the characters, the idea is universal: it emphasizes the family life, the value and weight of the bonds in within the family, the priority in preserving the relations, despite all the struggles and problems that come up: by trusting each other, by holding up to them and by constant forgiving of each other. Also talks about the importance of the mother, the wife; it glorifies the woman by all the strength a woman has, be it a "o ...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
This is the book that introduced me to African-American literature. It reminds me of the nice time I spent in the States; of the coffee shop I first sat down in to read it. I would love to see the play, too, someday. Through this book I learned about Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance; and I wanted to learn more.
My first rating was four stars; but it grew on me and now when I think of it, I realize it is the kind of book that needs time, and it will age well in your memory. Just like a
Cassandra 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
A true classic which has me thinking about how things have changed and how things have not changed. The title, A Raisin in the Sun, is taken from a Langston Hughes poem about what happens to dreams and aspirations that are delayed or not acted upon at all. This play is about a three generation African-American family living in a small apartment in Chicago. Life is not easy. Money is tight, work is hard. However, change is coming, for Mama is about to receive a $10,000 life insurance check from h ...more
Mindy Ledford
Hansberry reaches out to readers with a text about a family who, through a loss, achieves a little bit of financial freedom. Many readers will be able to connect with one of the many characters in the main family - sons, a daughter, a daughter-in-law and a mother who adores her family. There are conflicts in this text that readers who have had children will connect with. There are conflicts that readers who have experienced a tragic loss will connect with. There are conflicts of hatred, obstacl ...more
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
Aug 13, 2012 Rowena rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Rowena by: Zada
This was a quick read and I loved every page! I'm interested in watching the original version of the play with Sidney Poitier, looks good!
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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.”
“I want to fly! I want to touch the sun!"
"Finish your eggs first.”
More quotes…