A Raisin in the Sun
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.
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The highlighted lines contain similes. Watch the video to learn more about similes and metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
As you read, keep in mind that you are able to define any words that you have difficulty with. Select a word and choose the "Define" option to see the definition.
Who or what might the family's furniture represent?
Read more about this interesting figure in Chicago's history. (This annotation contains a link)
The location of Travis's bed is integral to the story's theme and the overall mood that the Younger's living conditions creates in this story. Where does Travis sleep?
What is Walter, Willy, and Bobo's plan?
Explain, using evidence from the text, what the highlighted statement symbolizes in this story.To aid your explanation, look back at Walter's initial response to Ruth's request.
The following video will teach you about the types of characterization. Keep direct and indirect characterization in mind as you read the text. (This annotation contains a video)
Using the highlighted piece of text, explain what we learn (indirectly) about Walter and his feelings about women.
Describe the conflict, which has multiple layers to it, that is revealed in the highlighted text. Consider what Walter is saying to Beneatha, as well as his motivations for his suggestions to her.
The highlighted text contains a metaphor. The Younger's living conditions are being compared to a rat trap. Unlike a simile, a metaphor compares two things without using "like" or "as."
What was Mama's dream when she and her husband first moved into their apartment?
The highlighted word means someone who is often on edge and very sensitive about what other people say/think about him/her.
In this discussion, Beneatha is indirectly characterized. After learning about Beneatha's feelings about God, what can we infer about her character?
The highlighted text contains a hyperbole. Travis is using exaggeration to describe the rat.
What "way" is Mama referring to in the highlighted text?
What does Beneatha mean by the highlighted statement?
For what reason is Asagai laughing at Beneatha?
The highlighted text contains an example of a simile. Travis's actions are being compared to a "little dancer." It's easy to tell that it's a simile because the text contains "like" to make the comparison.
Make an inference about why the author would place this plot development (Ruth seeing a "woman") in this portion of the play. Consider the fact that the check has just arrived and how that might change the story for the characters.
In the highlighted lines, Mama speaks about her thoughts about Walter's and Beneatha's dreams. Summarize her thoughts.
Watch an excerpt from the 2008 version of this play. While watching, consider if this depiction is true to the play version. (This annotation contains a video)
Act I Quiz
What elements in the play are NOT in the scene you watched from the movie?
Using context clues, choose the word that is the best synonym for the highlighted word.
How is the mood in the beginning of Act II compare to the mood at the end of Act I?
Watch the video below, in order to learn more about allusions in literature. (This annotation contains a video)
The highlighted text is an example of an allusion. George is referring to the novel whose description is linked below. While reading the character analysis of Uncle Tom, consider how it relates to George, Ruth, and Beneatha's discussion. (This annotation contains a link)
Using what you learned in the character analysis of Uncle Tom, explain how he falls under Beneatha's definition of an "assimilationist Negroe."
In what way is Beneatha actually subscribing to her definition of an assimilationist?
The highlighted text contains an allusion. Explain what makes this true.
Read about the god who is named in the highlighted text. (This annotation contains a link)
Choose the option that best describes the shift in Walter's character.
After hearing the news about the house, what fears begin to emerge in the family?
In your opinion, are these statements/questions fair for Walter to make to his mother? Be sure to support your answer with evidence from the play.
What can we infer Beneatha means by the words, "I see"?
Relate what you learn from Lorraine Hansberry's biography (linked below) to the current conflict in the story. Why might an author choose to infuse his/her life experiences into his/her writing?http://www.biography.com/people/lorraine-hansberry-9327823
What does Walter mean by the highlighted text?
Act II Quiz
What does the "gray light" most likely symbolize?
Make an inference about why the author chose to include the highlighted text into this portion of the play.
Take notice in the fact that Beneatha is speaking about God. Earlier in the play, she told Mama that she did not want to speak about God because He was not the reason for their successes.
In the highlighted text, Beneatha is using personification to mock Asagai's dream to stop the majority in America from taking advantage of the minority.
Relate the highlighted text to our current government. Did we finally "get there"? Be sure to cite evidence from the text to support your point.
Why does the author choose to italicize the highlighted word?
The illiteracy rate in Nigeria in 1950 was at about 84.4%. The number is staggering, considering the fact that the illiteracy rate in America during the same time period was about 3%.
What "New World" is Asagai referring to?
Below is a map of Africa, which points out the location of Nigeria. (This annotation contains an image)
The highlighted text marks a shift in Walter's character. What change has been made to Walter's outlook on life?
The highlighted line contains hyperbole. The speaker is using exaggeration to make his point.
What is ironic about the highlighted text spoken by Lindner?
Throughout this play, the plant stands as a symbol for the care that Mama shows toward her family. Her care for this plant mirrors how she cares for her family. Under her close nurturing, her family is able to flourish and overcome its less-than-perfect circumstances, just as the plant does.
Read the poem "Mother to Son," and consider how it relates to the play's themes and ideas. The link to the poem can be found below. (This annotation contains a link)
Using evidence from both the play and the poem, explain how Mama can relate to the poem's message. Also, explain how her views on the world would contradict the poem's message.
Act III Quiz