A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbury, takes its title from the famous Langston Hughes poem “A Dream Deferred”, whose theme is echoed throughout the play. In a small apartment in Chicago in the 1950s, the members of the Younger family, an African American family, each have big dreams of what to do with the life insurance money they are going to receive from Big Walter’s passing. For some of the members of the family, their dreams have been put off, “deferred”, for years; for others, there are obstacles they must overcome in order to pursue their dreams. The play was well-received, and is notable as the first Broadway play written by an African American woman, and for being directed by the first African American Broadway director.
The Younger family lives in a very small apartment in Chicago. Big Walter has recently died, and there is a $10,000 life insurance check due to arrive soon. Walter hopes to use it for a liquor store, Beneatha hopes to use it for medical school, and Mama is not sure what she will do with it. Ruth falls ill at the end of the first the scene, and it seems that she is pregnant.
Walter feels like no one is listening to him about his dream for the liquor store. He wants to get ahead somehow, but Mama refuses to give him the money to invest. Instead, she goes out and buys a house in an all-white neighborhood, which might be dangerous.
After Mama buys a house in Clybourne Park, she decides to give Walter the remaining $6,500 to put aside for Beneatha’s schooling, and to invest in the liquor store. The Youngers are visited by a man named Karl Lindner, who offers them a significant amount of money to stay out of the neighborhood. They refuse.
Bobo arrives at the apartment and tells Walter that Willy Harris took all of the money they gave him for the liquor store plan and took off. Worse, Walter never put aside the $3,000 he was supposed to put into the bank for Beneatha’s medical schooling.
Walter decides to call Lindner and accept his offer in order to recoup some of the money. Asagai arrives and invites Beneatha to marry him and move to Nigeria to be a doctor, which gives Beneatha new hope. Mama thinks that Walter’s willingness to make a deal with Lindner will eventually leave him with nothing inside.
Walter realizes that he cannot trade his pride for money, and tells Lindner to get lost. The Youngers leave the apartment in a celebratory mood, and Mama returns to grab her plant, which represents her dream of a happy, content family in a home they can call their own.