How Does Hansberry Build Tension Leading Up to the Family’s Final Decision?

How Does Hansberry Build Tension Leading Up to the Family’s Final Decision?

Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun” explores the struggles and dreams of the Younger family, an African-American family living in Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s. Throughout the play, Hansberry skillfully builds tension, gradually increasing the stakes and the conflicts faced by the characters. This tension ultimately culminates in the family’s final decision, which will have significant consequences for their future.

1. How does Hansberry introduce conflict in the play?
Hansberry introduces conflict right from the beginning by presenting the Younger family’s living conditions in a cramped and dilapidated apartment, highlighting their desperate need for a better life.

2. What role does money play in building tension?
Money is a central theme in the play, as the Younger family receives a life insurance check following the death of their patriarch. The question of how to use this money creates tension among the family members and leads to heated debates about their individual dreams and aspirations.

3. How does Hansberry use dialogue to build tension?
Hansberry employs sharp and confrontational dialogue between the family members, exposing their differing opinions and desires. This creates a sense of conflict and tension within the household.

4. What other external conflicts contribute to the tension?
The Younger family faces external conflicts from their racist neighbors, who disapprove of them moving into a predominantly white neighborhood. This external pressure adds to the family’s overall tension.

5. How does Hansberry use symbolism to create tension?
Hansberry uses symbolism, such as the plant that Mama nurtures throughout the play, to represent the family’s dreams and their struggle to survive. The plant becomes a metaphor for their hope, and its well-being or deterioration mirrors the family’s own circumstances.

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6. What role does Beneatha’s aspirations play in building tension?
Beneatha’s desire to become a doctor and her pursuit of an education create tension within the family. Her dreams clash with her brother’s desire to invest in a business, leading to conflicts and differing opinions among the family members.

7. How does Hansberry explore the theme of racism in building tension?
Hansberry addresses racism through the family’s struggle to find a better neighborhood and the opposition they face from their white neighbors. The fear of racial discrimination adds to the overall tension in the play.

8. How does the arrival of Karl Lindner contribute to the tension?
Karl Lindner, a representative of the neighborhood association, offers the Younger family a tempting but racist proposition to dissuade them from moving into the predominantly white neighborhood. This encounter intensifies the tension and raises questions about their choices.

9. What role does Ruth’s pregnancy play in building tension?
Ruth’s unexpected pregnancy adds another layer of complexity and tension to the family’s situation. The news further strains their already fragile financial and emotional state.

10. How does Hansberry use the deferred dream concept to create tension?
Hansberry’s concept of “a raisin in the sun,” representing deferred dreams, builds tension throughout the play. Each family member has their own dreams, but the limited resources and societal pressures threaten to shatter them.

11. What is the family’s final decision, and how does it resolve the tension?
The family’s final decision is to move into the new neighborhood, defying the racist opposition. This decision represents their unity and determination to pursue their dreams, resolving the tension built throughout the play.

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In “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry masterfully constructs tension through conflicts, dialogue, symbolism, and the exploration of racism and deferred dreams. These elements work together to create a gripping narrative that leads to the family’s final decision, providing a resolution to the mounting tension.

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