The Art of Social Criticism:
Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A Young Revolutionary Playwright
Raisin in the Sun, a play written by Lorraine Hansberry, premiered
on Broadway in 1959 as a landmark piece of African American artistry and
social criticism that preempted the swell of the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.
At twenty-nine, Hansberry became "the youngest American, the fifth
woman, and the first black playwright to win the Best Play of the Year
Award of the New York Drama Critics" .
In the public sphere, Raisin was confronted by both accolades
and criticisms because it made statement about American society and culture
before it was politically popular to question norms. Hansberry's 1961
film adaptation of the play won a Cannes Film Festival Award and received
a nomination for Best Screenplay .
Despite Hansberry's early demise in 1965 at age thirty-four, Hansberry's
work, in particular Raisin, continues to be lauded by the public
as groundbreaking in establishing black theatre as a part of universal
Consideration of the historical context in which the play was written and received by artists and society along with an analysis of Hansberry's complex characters and themes reveals the relevance of this writer and her noteworthy first-effort A Raisin in the Sun. This site is an overview of the social and racial atmosphere that birthed Hansberry's composition and led to its acceptance as a classic piece of literature for its chronicled and contemporary significance. Also, the central theme of dreams is analyzed through each character within the framework of Langston Hughes' poem "Montage of A Dream Deferred" which inspired the title of the play.