Reviewed by Billy Davis
A Raisin in the Sun is play based on a large family named the Youngers. They are a poor African-American family living on the Southside of Chicago in the late 1950s. Recently they have come upon a life insurance check worth $10,000 from the late Mr. Younger, Lena’s husband. From using the money towards medical school to investing in a liquor store, this newly found fortune could be the only thing that helps the Youngers get off their feet.
A Raisin in the Sun centers on the Younger family who are made up of Lena; her older children, Beneatha and Walter; Walter’s wife, Ruth, and their son, Travis. When Walter Sr., Lena’s husband, dies, he leaves behind a life insurance check worth $10,000. The younger sister, Beneatha, is a college student who constantly shares her views on race, class, and religion to the rest of the family and plans on using the money to put her through medical school. Walter, the older brother, is a 35-year-old chauffeur who is a part-time entrepreneur that wants to invest the money into a liquor store. Lena the mother of the two has plans on buying a house in a predominantly white neighborhood. After paying a down payment on the house, she gives the rest of the money to Walter to invest, which does not quite go as planned. Lessons of chasing dreams no matter the cost are taught throughout the book by relatable characters who just want the best opportunities for their family.
I would definitely recommend A Raisin in the Sun to anybody who reads at a high school level and above because although it has somewhat mature concepts integrated into the plot, it tells a great story of a family that will not allow their dreams to be deferred.
Billy Davis was a sophomore in the Gifted program at Hahnville High. He enjoys playing sports, performing in musicals, and mathematics.
Editor’s note: Book reviews are published throughout the summer and fall in agreement with Hahnville High School gifted English teacher Deborah Unger in conjunction with the Brown Foundation Service Learning Program and Unger’s “Adolescents Advocate Literacy” Brown Service Learning Grant.