Lorraine Hansberry:

A Raisin in the Sun (1959)

  1. Did you find this play engaging or interesting? Why or why not? What makes it specifically an urban play? A "minority" play? In what ways does it transcend these categories?
  2. Describe the relationship of Mama (Lena) with her daughter, Beneatha, and with her son, Walter. What expectations does she have for the future of each? Why?
  3. Give two explanations for the primary conflicts of the play. What precipitates the various arguments and battles the characters wage with one another?
  4. Explain the roles of Joseph Asagai and George Murchison. Does either have any thematic significance? Explain.
  5. Identify and discuss a major theme of the play. Support your ideas with references to specific events and speeches.
  6. Name two important stage props and comment on their role in the play. Discuss whether either or both may be symbolic, and why.
  7. Select a scene you find compelling and describe how to stage it.
  8. Are you satisfied with the play's ending? Why or why not? How do you envision the future of the family, particularly of Ruth and Walter and of Beneatha?
  9. Some readers consider this play a modern American classic. What do you think may have led them to such an assessment?
  10. How is Hansberry's play a comment on the Langston Hughes poem that she uses as her epigraph?