Despite that this is a classic that would have been relevant in almost any American Lit class, of which I’ve been in several between high school and getting an English degree, it only hit my radar on account of Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home. That book talks about this play, and it’s point on the commentary produced about the play is best summed by this quote:
Audiences easily grasp A Raisin in the Sun’s statement about the relationship between blacks and whites and their battle over space. However, little attention is paid to its clear statement about women’s roles in the struggle for equality.
Personally, I would urge any new readers to remember to think of this as they read it. I certainly had both running through my head, and they are distinct within the play. They are woven together brilliantly. The differences in the generational aspirations also provide tension and remind the reader that the black community in America has endured a lot and that each generation had set an entirely different goal towards equality to achieve. Though I am not black, I can relate a bit to those generational differences. I only realized recently how much of my indepedence I’ve taken for granted that have come from having access to the pill. Just because I have access, that doesn’t mean that fight is over, other women still don’t. Also, I still don’t have absolute equality and women are overall still in a larger struggle. I feel like the story of the play sits in a similar place. The children grew up with things that the parents didn’t have and couldn’t grasp their parents aspirations. But the children know that there is still so much further to go and the parents are tired and happier with what they’ve achieved than the children can realize. And on and on it goes for all our intersections. The women of this play still have more battles to wage on multiples fronts.
I enjoyed reading the play for all these reasons and that it was genuinely entertaining. I love Ruth and Mama and their relationship. I don’t find that kind of relationship with in-laws in much literature or in talking to many people, and I hope it’s not lost.