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A Raisin in the Sun

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  73,340 ratings  ·  3,398 reviews
"Never before, in the entire history of the American theater, has so much of the truth of black people's lives been seen on the stage," observed James Baldwin shortly before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway in 1959.

Indeed Lorraine Hansberry's award-winning drama about the hopes and aspirations of a struggling, working-class family living on the South Side of Chicago
Paperback, 151 pages
Published November 29th 2004 by Vintage (first published 1959)
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Catherine The son's name is Travis. …moreThe son's name is Travis. (less)
Paraskevi Wertz I am 14 and I am reading this for school, and it isn't inappropriate at all. It talks about abortion and the n-word which a 12-year-old should, in my …moreI am 14 and I am reading this for school, and it isn't inappropriate at all. It talks about abortion and the n-word which a 12-year-old should, in my opinion, know about. Also going in deeper and explaining the history of this time and the history of the author, is also a really nice learning opportunity for most 12-year-olds.(less)
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In 1959, 29 year old Lorraine Hansberry wrote A Raisin in the Sun, which went on to become "one of a handful of great American plays." Five years later she would succumb to cancer but not before Raisin penetrated the upper echelon of American plays. What is remarkable about Hansberry's rise to stardom is that she was virtually unknown and African American at a time when African Americans were just starting to make gains in society. And yet Raisin made to Broadway and television, cementing its pl ...more
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ten stars, please. All the stars for Ms. Hansberry's haunting, revealing play. As fresh in 2018 as it was in 1958. ...more
May 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
May just possibly be my all-time favorite American play*. The circuit is so taut, the story is so heartbreaking, life-altering and thought-provoking--I cannot wait to ever catch it live at the theatre.

At 29, Hansberry orchestrated something even Arthur Miller & Tennessee Williams wanted--a TRUE portrait of the American Family, how the roles are intertwined & dependent upon the others. The maestros don't come as close as she, I am inclined to think...

*Well... a more modern work, "Angels in Americ
First published in 1959, this play tells the story of a poor African-American family ruled by "mama" who has big plans to make a better life for her family, but must wait for "the check" and overcome a few obstacles along the way. (like her bitter and self-absorbed son Walter)

Set in a small rundown roach-infested apartment on Chicago's south side, A RAISIN IN THE SUN brings to light issues of racism and segregation, but also family pride and forgiveness.

Another surprisingly good play!

Apr 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: plays
What an outstanding play!

Recently I saw an excellent production of A Raisin in the Sun, and it was so good I decided to reread the play. I first read this in college during a course on African American Theater, and as part of the class we watched the 1961 film, starring Sidney Poitier in the role he debuted on Broadway in 1959.

The film is great, but this was my first time seeing the play performed live, and it was incredibly moving. The story follows the Youngers, a black family in Chicago's So
Feb 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: black-writers
A Raisin in the Sun (1959) is hands down one of my favorite plays. Usually, only Oscar (my smol son) can lure me in with his dramas but Lorraine might have snatched that crown from his hands. Where Oscar is witty and hilarious, Lorraine is ruthless and raw. She doesn't shy away from showing the harsh reality black people, especially black women, faced in the United States.
What happens to a dream deferred?

      Does it dry up
      like a raisin in the sun?
      Or fester like a sore—
      And the
Bam cooks the books ;-)
"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?"
~from Langston Hughes' poem 'Harlem'~

A family of African-Americans, living in a flat on the south side of Chicago, must decide what to do with a $10,000 life insurance check being paid out after the death of the father. Mama wants to realize her dream of having a real home with a garden; daughter Beneatha wants to go to medical school and become a doctor; son Walter wants to invest with friends and open a liquor store. Ca
Timothy Urges
Jun 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
It’s dangerous, son.
What’s dangerous?
When a man goes outside his home to look for peace.

A Raisin in the Sun clearly illustrates the motivations of each member of the Younger family in an empathetic and relatable way. I could be any one of these people, and yet, as the White cis male that I am, I will never experience the prejudice and hate that surrounds Black lives or experience the difficulty of reaching the dreams that are dragged out of my reach.

The play follows a small family that is att
Raul Bimenyimana
"An end to misery! To stupidity! Don't you see there isn't any real progress, Asagai, there is only one large circle that we march in, around and around, each of us with our little picture in front of us--our own little mirage of what we think is the future."

This is the best book I've read this year, one of the best I've ever read. It did everything I think a great story should and did it exceptionally well, that is deposit the reader at the end more illuminated, stirred with a better understand
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don’t often read plays and find them difficult to read, the live experience is obviously much better. However this is a remarkable play and is well worth the effort. Hansberry was a talented writer who died far too young. Nina Simone wrote the song “To be Young, Gifted and Black” about her. This play debuted on Broadway in 1959 with Sidney Poitier playing Walter; a role he reprised in the film.
The play is about the Younger family: mother Lena, brother and sister, Walter and Beneatha, Walter’s
I’m deeply ashamed that I’ve only recently learned about this award-winning play while browsing lists of the best African-American literature.

My library had a copy, and I started reading as soon as I got home.

While this was a very quick read, there are so many universal themes. Anyone who has been an outsider, has experienced prejudice, or struggled with financial hardship will be able to relate. The family interactions and problems were realistic and no different than those faced by modern fa
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: three-times-read
This will always be my favorite stage play
Ivana Books Are Magic
There are many things I liked about this play, most notably the theme and the emotion behind it. When a work of literature moves your heart, you know it is doing its job well. I would describe “Raisin in the sun” as a memorable and powerful play. The writing isn't particularly poetical, but it feels quite authentic. The setting and the characters are well developed and convincing. Despite the fact that it has some flaws and that the ending might feel a bit sudden, I think it is, on overall, quit ...more
Meagan ✊🏼 Blacklivesmatter ✊🏼Blacktranslivesmatter
#10Books10Decades Challenge
This was my pick for the 1950's (I'm actually still working on my pick for the 1940's lol who said I had to go in order).

This was really good. will write a longer review later (maybe).
Apr 22, 2021 rated it liked it
The characters were two-dimensional and a bit too straightforward for my liking, having clear dreams and ambitions and very little depth. The themes were more surface-level than I was expecting, and I wished the book would have taken more time discussing civil rights, as it was mostly glossed over. The character development could be interesting at times, however.
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics, plays, 2010
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
Connie G
Lorraine Hansberry's 1959 play tells about a Chicago black family who receives a life insurance payment after the death of the father. Walter wants to use the money to invest in a liquor store, and his sister wants to put the money toward medical school tuition in her quest to become a doctor. Walter's wife is pregnant and worries that another child will put more pressure on the struggling family financially. Mama thinks the family should move out of the cramped apartment, and puts money down on ...more
This was so good, and I'm very glad I read it. So subtle and skillfully put together. To think about this woman dying at 34, and how many more great pieces of art she could have created. This is why I like to do Read Harder every year, because I probably wouldn't have gotten around to this without it.

This is a three act play that follows the Youngers, a black family living on the South Side of Chicago in the 1950s. Mom Lena, son Walter and his wife Ruth and son Travis, and daughter Beneatha all
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Wow! That packed a punch on so many levels! I'm still contemplating this family and their struggles, heartache, and strength. Highly recommend. ...more
Never Without a Book
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I didn’t mean to complete this so quickly😬. I enjoyed this book the characters are believable and heartbreaking, well-realized human beings, and their struggles against prejudice and hardship are as meaningful now as they were back then. I would love to see the play live.
Aug 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  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! ...more
Paul Haspel
A raisin in the sun can dry up – as can a dream deferred, according to the great Langston Hughes poem that inspired this classic 1959 play by Lorraine Hansberry. But in that same poem, Hughes evoked other possible scenarios of what can happen if a dream is forever deferred, always put off for another day. Hughes suggests that a dream deferred can fester, like an untreated sore; or it can come to stink, like unrefrigerated meat allowed to rot; or it can crust over, like a piece of candy left out ...more

Description: This ground-breaking play, set on Chicago's South Side in the 1950's, revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of an Afro-American working-class family. A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway. In this new production for radio, rarely produced scenes from the original play, which were cut from the original film and stage and subsequent contemporary stage prod
Ashley Marie
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
Oct 30, 2017 rated it liked it
3/5 Stars

Well, this play was pretty decent. It was entertaining enough and all of that ... and yet, I still don't like reading plays. Therefore, I wasn't about to give this anything more than an average rating. So while I appreciated how this took place in Chicago (so I could visualize everything that much better), and how I could relate to Beneatha and her struggle at becoming a doctor, when everyone was pushing her to become a nurse - because that's more of a "female" job - I lacked a connecti
laur gluchie
Apr 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: school, 2018
[11th Grade]

Out of all of the books I had to read this year for school, this one was the least boring.
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
Anabel (inthebookcorner)
Apr 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
loved it. I really want to go see this play at the Harlem theatre.
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Lorraine Vivian Hansberry was an American playwright and writer. Hansberry inspired Nina Simone's song "To Be Young, Gifted and Black".

She was the first black woman to write a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, the play "A Raisin in the Sun," highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. Hansberry's family had struggled against segregation, chall

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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.”
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