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‘A Raisin in the Sun’ is a play whose setting is in the Washington Park Subdivision of the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago. It is a story of the experiences of an African American family. This region is the name of a notable subdivision in the Woodland community region in the northwest corner. The area is linked to the redevelopment of the entire land that the track had formerly occupied. The neighborhood was initially an all-exclusive residence for the whites. It included residential housing, beer gardens and amusement parks. The play basically revolves around the author’s struggles in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
The setting therefore plays a very significant role in making the reader identify easily with the themes of the author. Of course, the setting as described in here would not really support the success of any African American. The main characters in the play are African Americans. The author’s choice of putting them in a white neighborhood further stresses on the severity of their plight in pursuit of the American dream.
One of the main characters, Walter is indeed possessed with money. Her mother is concerned by the way his son is in love with money. The setting of the play advances the conflict that drives the play. The neighborhood does not support the thriving of blacks whereas the Youngers find themselves in this environment in the play. The setting itself presents a main theme in the play. This is the theme of discrimination which mainly reflects on the kind of treatment that the African Americans got in the 1950s.
The setting paints a picture of racism when we read about the Youngers having lived in a neighborhood mainly dominated by the whites. The reader begins to imagine how the black family would have coped with the white surrounding. Every element in the play is closely connected to the setting. The setting depicts the plight of the African Americans at all levels of life: socially, economically and politically.
The theme of complacency is clearly demonstrated through the setting. It is a neighborhood where every person is seeking self-satisfaction. The author has left it to the reader to see the magnitude of the challenge that the reader has to cope up with. The Youngers have to endeavor to conform to the societal standards in the surrounding. The family does not stand to what they believe and the setting further explains why. The reader is able to understand the reason why the family is a social misfit and why their problems have gone to great heights.
There is racial tension in the play setting and the reader is eager to find out what will become of the late Younger’s family. The setting creates an image that the African Americans are complacent with their lesser status. Moreover, the setting alone causes some sort of resentment for the family and therefore it must work hard to escape the reality of their social status.
Hansberry’s idea of choosing this setting frames the mind of the reader to visualize the energy and effort put by the blacks to pursue a better life. The reader will deeply visualize about Walter’s case. He is apparently the only hope for the family. The way the dreams are shattered is mainly contributed by the setting in which the play is set as Walter tries to conform to the neighborhood. He invests in a liquor store unsuccessfully. The environment is a tempting fate for the Youngers. It creates a somber mood that seems to expose and at the same time make the reader have a clear picture of the family’s plight.
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