A Raisin in the Sun Summary

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

     In a two-bedroom apartment in Chicago resides the Younger family, which consists of Mama, her daughter Beneatha, her son Walter and his wife Ruth, and their son Travis. They don't particularly like their apartment because it's very small and cramped. An ongoing discussion occurs regarding money that Mama is receiving in the mail. She gets ten thousand dollars in life insurance money from her husband's, Big Walter's, recent death. The family discusses how this money should be used.

     Walter wants to invest it in a liquor store. His friends Willy and Bobo have discussed how to make this dream a reality, but Mama isn't interested in putting money into something that she sees as sinful, such as a liquor store. Walter's wife Ruth suggests that Mama travel, but she doesn't want to travel alone. Walter's sister Beneatha has been attending medical school, so she would love to have some of the money to help her pay for that.

     In the first act, Ruth does not seem well. She goes to the doctor and announces that she is pregnant. This news does not make her happy though, and it's revealed she's thinking about getting an abortion because of their living situation and her strained relationship with her husband.

     As a young girl of twenty, Beneatha often goes out on dates. She mostly sees two men: George Murchison and Joseph Asagai. George is from a very rich family and believes in traditional values, such as women staying home and not needing to work. Asagai is from Nigeria and brings Beneatha gifts of African robes and traditional music. He has strong feelings for her and wants her to pursue her dreams.

     Mama makes a decision on her own to put a down payment on a house in a white neighborhood. Ruth is excited about them having a much larger place to live, but Walter wanted the money to start his business, and they all worry about the safety of living among white people. Walter becomes depressed about missing out on a great business opportunity and doesn't show up to his job as a chauffeur for three days. Mama decides to support her son by giving him the rest of the money. She used thirty-five hundred dollars for a down payment on a house, and she wants him to put three thousand into the bank for Beneatha to pay for medical school, but he can use the other thirty-five hundred to do with as he pleases. Walter is overjoyed.

     Later, Karl Lindner, a white man, comes to the door saying he's from the welcoming committee of their new neighborhood. They soon learn that he isn't there to welcome them; however, he has, in fact, come to offer to buy their house back from them for more than what they paid. The white people in Clybourne Park are worried about a black family causing trouble in their neighborhood as has been happening in some areas of Chicago as reported by a neighbor, Ms. Johnson. Mr. Lindner wants the family not to move in. Walter kicks him out of the apartment.

     Moving day comes, and the family is packing. The family gives Mama gifts of gardening tools and a gardening hat to use at their new home. Walter is on edge about his business deal. Finally, Bobo shows up to tell Walter that Willy never came with the money for them to get the liquor license in Springfield. He ran off with it. Mama wants to know if Walter gave Willy all the money, including the money for Beneatha's schooling, and he did. Mama hits him repeatedly because she is so disappointed in Walter's poor choice.

     The whole family is despondent. Mama announces that she thinks they should not move afterall. Asagai shows up to help Beneatha with packing, but she tells him she has given up on becoming a doctor. He tells her not to lose hope. He asks her if she'd like to come with him to Africa and become a doctor there, so she tells him she will think about it. Walter then has an idea and calls Mr. Lindner back to the house. Walter tells the family he is going to accept Mr. Lindner's offer to not move into that house. The family is disgusted that Walter would bow to the whims of this white man. When Mr. Lindner shows up, however, Walter can't do it. He tells him that they will be moving in, and the family is pleased. Mama is especially proud that Walter finally stood up for himself. They begin loading the moving van. Beneatha tells her mother about Asagai's proposal as Mama wraps up her plant to bring with her to their new home.

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A Raisin in the Sun Quotes
A Raisin in the Sun Act 1 Scene 1 Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Act 1 Scene 1 Quiz
A Raisin in the Sun Act 1 Scene 2 Quiz
A Raisin in the Sun Act 2 Scene 1 Quiz
A Raisin in the Sun Act 2 Scene 2 Quiz
A Raisin in the Sun Act 2 Scene 3 Quiz
A Raisin in the Sun Act 3 Quiz
A Raisin in the Sun Act 1 Scene 2 Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Act 2 Scene 1 Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Act 2 Scene 2 Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Act 2 Scene 3 Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Act 3 Summary
A Raisin in the Sun Important Characters
Literature Summaries

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