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A Raisin in the Sun | Study Guide

Lorraine Hansberry

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Course Hero. "A Raisin in the Sun Study Guide." Course Hero. 10 Aug. 2016. Web. 5 Dec. 2022. <>.

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Course Hero. "A Raisin in the Sun Study Guide." August 10, 2016. Accessed December 5, 2022.


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A Raisin in the Sun | Quotes


Man say to his woman: I got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs.

Walter, Act 1, Scene 1

Walter unveils the depth of his frustration which will drive the plot and define his character. He pits men and women against each other, implying that Ruth's focus on the domestic sphere and lack of ambition is typical of women—especially black women who are often forced into service roles.


[God] did give us children to make them dreams seem worth while.

Mama, Act 1, Scene 1

Mama quotes her late husband, Big Walter, only once. She touches on one of the play's central themes—family unity and providing for the next generation. Her motivation is to use her husband's money to help her children and grandchildren achieve their dreams. Later this becomes Walter and Ruth's motivation too.


In my mother's house there is still God.

Mama, Act 1, Scene 1

Mama's conflict with Beneatha stems from Beneatha's atheist worldview, which puts power and miracle making in the hands of humans. Mama asserts her authority in the house and reminds Beneatha that family will always be a more important force in her life than education and new ideas.


It means ... it means One for Whom Bread—Food—Is Not Enough.

Asagai, Act 1, Scene 2

Asagai gives Beneatha the Yoruba name Alaiyo, bringing her closer to her roots and summing up her motivations and personality. The name's meaning encapsulates the main characters' longing for more than mere survival.


Once upon a time freedom used to be life—now it's money.

Mama, Act 1, Scene 2

Mama and Walter disagree on the most important goal in life. Mama is content with freedom and the ability to make her own choices, but Walter tells her she isn't actually choosing what she wants—she's limited by poverty. Success in business is Walter's attempt at both assimilating into a white world and disrupting it by setting high goals.


Bitter? Here I am a giant—surrounded by ants!

Walter, Act 2, Scene 1

Walter continues the trend of Younger family members seeing what others cannot when he sees the "stars gleaming." The contrast between how he sees himself and how the world treats him is a sore point for Walter.


There isn't any real progress ... only one large circle that we march in.

Beneatha, Act 3

Beneatha's uncertain about her family's fate and frustrated with how far so-called progress has gotten them. This leads to a view of the world that denies the possibility of real change. She and Walter can't achieve their goals if they're just chasing mirages—their own "little picture." Asagai disagrees with her about the possibility of real progress, saying he's seen true change in the cycles of African history, even though the process has been difficult.


I wonder if the quiet was not better than ... death and hatred. But ... I will not wonder long.

Asagai, Act 3

Here Asagai speaks about the cycles of history—he believes that violence, struggle, and revolution do lead to lasting, positive change and better lives. He helps show Beneatha that the life she and her family want is worth fighting for.


Ah—so this is what the New World hath finally wrought.

Asagai, Act 3

Asagai feels inspired by Beneatha's motivation and intellect, even by her cynicism. She's a different kind of American—a radical agitator like W.E.B. DuBois—than her parents and even her brother. Her character foreshadows the civil rights movement and a true "New World" for African Americans, though the new world has echoes of the old.


When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right.

Mama, Act 3

Mama has not given up on Walter even after he's betrayed the family. Knowing that family members see each other at their worst she reminds Beneatha of the importance of loyalty. Mama agrees with Asagai that struggle and pain can lead to great accomplishments and provide the true measure of a man or woman. Her faith in Walter leads him to make a positive decision on the family's behalf, finally coming into his manhood.

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