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A Raisin in the Sun

By Lorraine Hansberry QUOTATION: What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
ATTRIBUTION: Langston Hughes (1902–1967), U.S. poet. Lenox Avenue Mural (l. 1–3).

QUOTATION: You know, when these New Negroes have their convention—that is going to be the chairman of the Committee on Unending Agitation. Race, race, race!... Damn, even the N double A C P takes a holiday sometimes!
ATTRIBUTION: Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965), African American playwright. A Raisin in the Sun, act 2, scene 3 (1959).

QUOTATION: I’ll come up the steps to the house and the gardener will be clipping away at the hedges and he’ll say, “Good evening, Mr. Younger.” And I’ll say, “Hello, Jefferson, how are you this evening?” And I’ll go inside and Ruth will come downstairs and meet me at the door and we’ll kiss each other and she’ll take my arm and we’ll go up to your room to see you sitting on the floor with the catalogues of all the great schools in America around you.... All the great schools in the world! And—and I’ll say, all right son—it’s your seventeenth birthday, what is it you’ve decided?... Just tell me, what it is you want to be—and you’ll be it.... Whatever you want to be—Yessir! You just name it, so ... and I hand you the world!
ATTRIBUTION: Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965), African American playwright. A Raisin in the Sun, act 2, scene 2 (1959).

QUOTATION: MAMA: Son—how come you talk so much ‘bout money?
WALTER: Because it is life, Mama!
MAMA: Oh—So now it’s life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life—now it’s money. I guess the world really do change ...
WALTER: No—it was always money, Mama. We just didn’t know about it.
MAMA: No ... something has changed. You something new, boy. In my time we was worried about not being lynched and getting to the North if we could and how to stay alive and still have a pinch of dignity too.... Now here come you and Beneatha—talking ‘bout things we ain’t never even thought about hardly, me and your daddy. You ain’t satisfied or proud of nothing we done. I mean that you had a home; that we kept you out of trouble till you was grown; that you don’t have to ride to work on the back of nobody’s streetcar—You my children—but how different we done become.
ATTRIBUTION: Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965), African American playwright. A Raisin in the Sun, act 1, scene 2 (1959).

QUOTATION: ... if there are no waving flags and marching songs at the barricades as Walter marches out with his little battalion, it is not because the battle lacks nobility. On the contrary, he has picked up in his way, still imperfect and wobbly in his small view of human destiny.... He becomes, in spite of those who are too intrigued with despair and hatred of man to see it, King Oedipus refusing to tear out his eyes, but attacking the oracle instead. He is that last Jewish patriot manning his rifle at Warsaw.... He is Anne Frank, still believing in people; he is the nine small heroes of Little Rock; he is Michelangelo creating David and Beethoven bursting forth with the Ninth Symphony. He is all these things because he has finally reached out in his tiny moment and caught that sweet essence which is human dignity, and it shines like the old star-touched dream that is in his eyes.
ATTRIBUTION: Lorraine Hansberry (1930–1965), African American playwright. An Author’s Reflections: Walter Lee Younger, Willy Loman and He Who Must Live (1959).

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