Monday, February 2, 2015

A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the SunA Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I very rarely read plays, and I very rarely read at work...but today I found myself trapped all day in a computer lab with my classes filling out one of those surveys that generates little to no productive action from school or district personnel....

I have been meaning to read "Raisin in the Sun" for years, and honestly it was nothing like I expected. It's such an unfiltered look at life for a poor, black family in the 1950s living in southside Chicago. It leaves an unsettled feeling in my stomach - the same way "Death of  Salesman" or "The Glass Menagerie" does.  And while I recognize its merit and how ahead of her time Lorraine Hansberry was, I can't say that I like it. It makes me too sad. It feels too real...which perhaps is exactly what Hansberry was trying to do all those years ago.

There isn't a true happy ending. Things start hard for the Youngers and end hard for the Youngers. Perhaps, a read or audience member might think they've found some sort of resolution, but I'm left feeling a can of social issue worms are covering the metaphorical floor. And honestly, I don't know what to do about it.

All that said, this should be required reading at some point - perhaps not at the sophomore level with students who may not be prepared to understand the gravity of failed dreams and misapplied social stigmas...but at some point, this seems like something all Americans should read. Perhaps it would help us make sense of the racial tensions we observe every day. Maybe that's just wishful thinking because sometimes I sure wish I could make sense of the world around me....

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