A Raisin in the Sun Acts 1 and 2

“What happens to a dream deferred?


Does it dry up


Like a raisin in the sun?”


I am sure that “A Raisin in the Sun” is the best example that this is what it happens to a dream deferred. But this is just a speculation, because till the end we can’t know how the dreams of the different characters will evolve. In Act 1 we are introduced to the life of the Younger family and in Act 2 the dreams and issues arose. Though we can’t be sure that the dreams will “dry up” till the ending, the title of the story makes us foreshadow how the story will end.


Every character has an integral part in the book. Lena (Mama), the head and spirit of the house; Walter Lee, the man of the house, who last to be one; Ruth, her wife, who despairs in the house, while discovering she is pregnant; Beneatha, Mama’s daughter who strives to be a doctor; and Travis, the son of the marriage. Each member of the family wants to do something different with the money, and because of that, they wait anxiously their new lives.


The play opens as the Younger family anxiously awaits the arrival of a check. It is the life insurance check of $10,000, made payable to Mama, because of the death of her husband. The entire family lives within the walls of a tiny apartment and the play takes place entirely in the living room.


Mama tells the family that she had buy a house in Clybourne Park with the insurance money. Walter is upset and wonders why he can never be the one in charge of all actions. The entire family is concerned about the location because it is an all white neighborhood.


Karl Lindner, a businessman from the neighborhood they are moving on, comes to the Younger house, and offers to pay them off so that they will not move into the house. They throw him out with proud.


Other key situations appeared in these acts. Beneatha has to face a completely different situation. Two men court her: George Murchison, a wealthy black concerned with appearances and material, and Joseph Asagai, a native African that inspires her. Their ways of getting Beneatha’s love are very different. The Younger family is in favor of George because they believe his money will help her and themselves.


Meanwhile, we get aware, along wit the family, that Ruth is pregnant. This is a huge challenge. Another member in the family wouldn’t be easy to handle. But Ruth faces the issue with courage and the family follows her effort.


Walter Lee is a chauffer. He is obsessed with money and constantly feels as if the world is against him, especially his wife and mother. Then, with some friends, decides to make anew business, which supposedly would finish with his financial problems. For this, he would use the money from the insurance check. Until he looses all…


This is, basically, what happens in the firsts acts. Personally, I interpret them as the beginning and climax of the dreams, not the story. While some dreams “dry up”, others still stand. I expect the next act to be a decisive point in which the characters will affront new challenges until all they dreams come to an end, and they finally realize that what they really want is the family unity.