Topics on Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun

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 1. Hansberry’s work shows many ways in which different generational values or ideas create conflict and tension between Mama and her children. What are some of the major generational differences that separate Lena from Beneatha and Walter? In what ways are these differences mediated or resolved by the play’s end? How do the family’s generational differences show both the progress and the continued oppression of African Americans in the US? 2. Focusing on either Walter or Beneatha, analyze how this character develops or changes throughout the play. How do the character’s desires, behaviors, values, and identity change from the beginning of the play to the end? What might be the catalysts or key turning points for the character’s changes and developments? 3. Choose two characters from the play and analyze the power struggles they engage in. How do they negotiate or resolve these power struggles by the play’s conclusion? You might consider Walter and Ruth; Walter and Beneatha; Mama and Ruth; or Mama and Walter, among other options. 4. Write an essay analyzing the different roles of dialogue, staging descriptions, and speaker directions in A Raisin in the Sun. What does each contribute to our understanding of the work and of its setting, themes, and characters? How do the different parts of the script work together with, as well as separately from, one another to tell us the story? Be sure to include specific examples from the text. 5. A Raisin in the Sun illustrates a common problem that many Americans go through: having to choose between making your family happy or pursuing your own individual dream that may not align with your relatives’ wishes or expectations. What do different characters’ dreams tell us about the different values that members of the Younger family have? Is there a way for characters to achieve a balance between their personal dreams/values and what is best for their family?

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