Seminar paper from the year 2010 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1,7, University of Tubingen, language: English, abstract: Lorraine Hansberry, the author of A Raisin in the Sun, grew up in an activist family. Her parents both engaged in the fight against racial discrimination and segregration. Many icons of the early African American Civil Rights Movement, e.g., Langston Hughes, visited the Hansberry home (Bryer 193). Thus, Lorraine Hansberry was confronted with strong personalities fighting for their rights and dreams from an early age. What she admired most was the power and strength of women engaging in the movement. "A Raisin in the Sun", written in 1959, was Hansberry's first play. It is about the Youngers, an African American family, living in the South Side of Chicago and dreaming about a better life. Both black and white people were fascinated by the play which was a major success on Broadway. Hansberry presents the audience with characters who have different values and dreams. The Youngers as a heterogeneous family portray the wide range of all African American people. Hansberry's remarkable respect for strong women is clearly visible in this play. She introduces three powerful women: Mama Lena, her daughter Beneatha, and her daughter-in-law Ruth. These women do not resemble each other but are all unique characters. It was Hansberry's goal not to present stereotyped, homogeneous African American women. Each one has her own, unique outlook on life, her own values and principles. As the Youngers represent the diverse, heterogeneous African American community, the Younger women represent the wide range of African American women. They portray various concepts of African American womanhood. This paper will explore these different concepts by having a closer look at Mama Lena and her role as the matriarch. Furthermore, it will focus on Beneatha and her feminist values and on Ruth's position within the range of African American women.
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