Conflict In A Raisin In The Sun

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A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry is set in a period where traditional roles of men and women were prevalent in how society functioned. This can be seen in their attitudes towards themselves in relation to society, gender norms, relationships and racial attitudes. However, the characters in the play faced conflicts trying to reconcile the expectations of society compared to their personal wants and needs. During the time period set in the play, 1940 - 1950, the social climate of the United States was vulnerable to major issues such as equal rights for women/minorities, and overseas wars. These issues plagued the consciousness of the American public. This conflict is represented in different forms throughout the play. One extensive…show more content…
These responsibilities make them feel like they are the leaders of the household. However, this leadership comes with a price. These struggles include getting a job and taking care of the whole family, which is not always what they had dreamt about. This normally leads to depression and annoyance which they end up taking out on the family. Walter is a chauvinist who is always frustrated with his job, a chauffeur, and a irresponsible man who runs away from his problems. The character Walter epitomises this reality, which can be seen when he “was lookin' in the mirror and thinking about it. . . . I'm thirty-five years old; I been married eleven years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room.” (34). This represents his struggles with his own needs and what is expected off him as a father and provider of a family. Unfortunately his dream and his reality do not reconcile. Walter vents his anger on money and lack of opportunities in life. The reader can see this when he tells his wife that “I got me a dream” (33) and she replies “Your eggs are getting cold!” (33). This shows his family don’t recognise his own personal goals and needs which is a major struggle for him as he feels he is being…show more content…
These roles restricted the women’s space in the household where they were cooks, mothers and wives. These roles that society assigned to them, made them dependent on their husbands which meant the sacrifice of their own dreams. “When the world gets ugly enough - a woman will do anything for her family. The part that’s already living” (75). This was a sacrifice done by Ruth, Walter’s wife in the play, where she had to have an abortion. It was a very painful sacrifice which she felt was necessary for the survival of her family. This is a good example of the traditional role women played in society as they were the ones who had to make certain unpleasant discussions for the sake of the family, but not for their own good. Furthermore, this sacrifice was not appreciated and acknowledge by Walter, who was too consumed by his own issues. This relationship is reflective of society as a whole, where men’s issues are considered more significant than women’s issues. Another character that follows the traditional roles very closely is Mama, the mother of Walter. She is the typical example of what a mother should be in that era and she felt that women’s roles should be restricted as that was her reality and the only reality she knew. One of her belief’s was that “we give children life, not who destroy them” (75) and this shows that she was against the abortion that Ruth had. This defied her
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