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The American Dream and a Raisin in the Sun, Essay Example

Pages: 3

Words: 923

Essay

Everyone’s Dream (Events)

The Raising in the Sun is a screenplay that addresses stigma, racial and social problems in the 1950-s American society. It is about disappointment, despair and hopes of people living in the Chicago Ghetto. With the philosophy of making the future better, they are hard working people with a dream. Everyone has their dreams in the play: Lena Younger looks at his son with pride and his grandson, trying to teach them pride, belief and hard-working life. Walter Lee has greater dreams than that. He sees the society being divided into “poor and rich” as well as “black and white”. He wants more from his life than being a white rich person’s chauffeur, and certainly wants more for his family. Ruth lives for her family, her dream is a better home with more sunlight and no cockroaches. She would be happy to get out of the ghetto. Beneatha wants to be a doctor, help people and have a social standing. All these dreams seem to depend on the insurance check Lena is receiving after his husband’s death. However, when all the money is gone, dreams seem to be shattered, there seems to be no way out.

When Dreams Get Shattered (Narrative)

Disappointment and despair in the play is present all the way through; the family does not see a way out; even when the money arrives. As Walter Lee puts it: “money is life”. He interprets the American Dream as chasing money and equality. He does not understand what his mother does: hard work and gaining respect, family and pride are above money, even when one is trying to achieve their goals. In the 50-s it was extremely hard for colored people to break out of the stereotypes of the society. The time when the play is set is before the Civil Rights Movement gained a significant position in the politics. People simply accepted that just because they were colored, they had to live in the ghetto, mix with their own race and do the jobs “intended for them”. Some families, however, aimed for a better future; not for themselves but their children. Lena Younger wants his daughter to become an educated woman and has high hopes for Travis, too. She does not think that change is possible for her and her generation.

Is the American Dream Out of Reach? (Dialogue)

The American Dream, according to the play was restricted to people who had high standing in the society; either by position or financial status. Walter Lee assumes that it is all for the “takers” and Black will always be “tooken”. Until his mother makes him realize the importance of pride and hard work, he is willing to settle for the position the society provides him. He gives up his dream. He feels like there is no more hope in the world for people and looks for solutions from the outside. He relies on the money to save the family, and when it is gone, he feels like there is no way out. However, he and his family later realize that the American Dream is about more than money, wealth and position. It is about pride in hard work, family values, seeing children do well and creating something of nothing. Self-made men in America often started out with no money to invest, and ended up making their own dreams come true. Once the family realizes this, they have enough courage to go on and face prejudice, stigma and move into a “white” neighborhood with their heads held up high.

REFLECTION

There have been many times in my life when I felt like all my dreams were shattered. When applying for a course, thinking that it is the perfect one and not getting it, people feel like there is a conspiracy against them. I have felt the same many times. Just like Walter Lee, I also thought that there was nothing else to do; giving up the ideas and my dreams was the only solution. Indeed, just like Asgai tells to Beneatha: I was waiting for something to happen to find an excuse to peruse my dreams. He is right; people often like choosing the easiest path to fulfilling their dreams, and the easier it is to obtain them the more they lose of their value. That is the idea behind the statistics showing that people who win the lottery lose most of their money in the first few years. They do not feel like they earned it with hard work. Therefore, the American Dream – unlike Walter Lee states – is not about money; it is about the path one takes to fulfill the dream.

The only person who really found the American Dream is Asgai. He does not try to find excuses; he finds the ways. Coming from Nigeria, he is proud of his heritage, as well as his achievements. He is on the path to fulfill his dreams. I have recently understood that the importance of the American Dream is not what we want to achieve but the action and involvement. I have recently applied for a course I really wanted to get into. Instead of assuming that it would be handed for me, I asked around, did my research and submitted a well researched application essay. I got in because I understood what I needed for making the dream come true. I feel good about the achievement because I have had an impact on the outcome. For me, that is the real American Dream.

References:

Hansberry, L. (1959) A Raisin in the Sun. Klett Ernst /Schulbuch, 2008

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