A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry:
Harlem: A Dream Deferred
By Langston Hughes
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?
1. Relate the title of the play A Raisin in the Sun to Langston Hughes’ poem, “Harlem” (above) that inspired it. How does the title reflect the deferred dreams of the family members?
2. List adjectives to describe the play’s main characters with corresponding quotes from the play.
3. What basic values does each main character seem to express during the arguments that occur in the family?
4. Who is the play’s protagonist? Who (or what) is the antagonist? Is the central conflict within the Younger family? Explain.
5. Who or what is ultimately at fault for the family’s troubles?
6. Choose a scene in the play in which a character most clearly reveals his or her true nature. Explain how the character’s behavior in the scene is most characteristic of him or her.
7. Which character in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun do you empathize with most? Least? Why? 8. Discuss the relevancy of the play’s topic in light of the nation’s recent unrest and protests against racial discrimination. What kind of progress has been made over the past sixty years since the play was written in addressing the problem of race relations in America? 9.Besides racial conflict, what other some of the other social conflicts inherent in the play?
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