Dreams are important to everyone. Some little girls dream of being a ballerina while some little boys and even teenage boys dream of being a major league baseball player for their favorite team. In the famous drama A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, dreams have a prominent role. The title, even though there’s never a raisin in the drama, is important because: it refers to a poem written by famous poet Langston Hughes and it relates to the dreams of each of the characters. In literature, an epigraph is defined as a phrase, quotation, or poem that is set at the beginning of a document or component.Sometimes, an epigraph can be treated as an abstract, a beginning, and even sometimes, it can link two pieces of literature together.
In A Raisin in the Sun, it does just that because the epigraph in the drama is actually the poem “Harlem” or “Dream Deferred” by poet Langston Hughes. In the poem, Hughes asks: “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” While we don’t see a single raisin in the play, the reader sees a lot of deferred dreams – and at the end, one dream that is fulfilled. In this drama, each character has dreams which are basically raisins that shrivel up basically like raisins do in the sun when those dreams are deferred. This is why the drama is titled A Raisin in the Sun because only one of these raisins is saved from being shriveled up in the sun when the characters dream is fulfilled.Beneatha (dropping to her knees): Well – I do – all right? – thank everybody! And forgive me for ever wanting to be anything at all! (Pursuing him on her knees across the floor) FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE ME! (1.
1.123)In the drama, we learn that Beneatha dreams of being a doctor and Walter thinks she is crazy. In this quote, Beneatha it seems as if Beneatha is apologizing to her brother Walter but if the reader or viewer of the drama reads between the lines or sees the actors in dialogue, they would see that she is actually being sarcastic. For Beneatha, she is determined to prove to herself, her brother and others that her dream is not impossible and that she is going to follow her dreams no matter what.Ruth: Mama, something is happening between Walter and me.
I don’t know what it is – but he needs something – something I can’t give him anymore. He needs this chance, Lena. (1.1.187)In this quote, Walter is incredibly dissatisfied with his life, and he’s taking it out on everybody around him.
Because of this, Ruth feels the most of her husband’s unhappiness. Because of all of this, Ruth seems to be afraid of what will happen between them if Walter doesn’t get the chance to attain his dream.Mama: Big Walter used to say, he’d get right wet in the eyes sometimes, lean his head back with the water standing in his eyes and say, “Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams – but he did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile.
” (1.1.206)In this quote Lena’s life dreams are not for herself but for her family’s future generations.
Big Walter’s mention in the play serves as a reminder of the sacrifices parents make for their children.I want so many things that they are driving me kind of crazy… Mama – look at me (1.2.222)In this quote, Walter’s desires have become so complex they are to the point of becoming a hazard to him. In this quote, it is always good to remember that to dream big can be dangerous if one’s dreams are not given a chance.Walter: Just tell me where you want to go to school and you’ll go. Just tell me, what it is you want to be – and you’ll be it… Whatever you want to be – Yessir! (He holds his arms open for Travis) You just name it, son… (Travis leaps into them) and I hand you the world! (2.2.
131)In this quote, Walter wants to encourage Travis’s dreams. Because of this, he is willing to give his son everything he has just as Lena is for him. This dedication to his son is what makes it impossible for him to give in to Lindner at the end of the play.Walter: Gone, what you mean Willy is gone? Gone where? You mean he went by himself.
You mean he went off to Springfield by himself – to take care of getting the license – (Turns and looks anxious at Ruth) You mean maybe he didn’t want too many people in on the business down there? (Looks to ruth again as before). You know willy got his own ways. (looks back at bobo). Maybe you was late yesterday and he went on down there without you. Maybe – maybe – he’s been callin’ you at home tryin’ to tell you what happened or something. Maybe – maybe – he just got sick. He’s somewhere – he’s got to be somewhere.
We just got to find him – me and you got to find him. (Grabs Bobo senselessly by the collar and starts to shake him) We got to! (2.3.180).In this quote, Walter desperately holds onto the possibility of his dreams coming true, denying the fact that he has been swindled. He knows that he has not only ruined his own dreams by trusting Willy Harris, but he’s also put a damper on Beneatha’s plans of going to medical school.
In this drama, the title A Raisin in the Sun relates to each of the characters dreams. Only one doesn’t get shriveled up and that dream is fulfilled. Maybe dreaming up dreams is worthwhile.