Play, first produced 1959, published 1959
A domestic drama set in a tenement on the south side of Chicago, Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (whose title comes from Langston Hughes's poem "Harlem") tells the story of the Younger family. Following the death of the family's father and provider Big Walter, who has died from overwork and grief over the death of a child, the Youngers await the payment of Walter's life insurance. For Walter's son Walter Lee, the money would enable him to open a liquor store and give up his degrading work as a chauffeur for a wealthy white; he also dreams of buying pearls for his wife Ruth and sending his son Travis to the best university. Walter Lee's idealistic sister Beneatha dreams of using the money to attend medical school and work in Africa. The family matriarch Lena realizes that the insurance money cannot fulfill all the family's designs, so she uses some of the money as a down-payment on a house in a white neighborhood. Lena gives the remainder to Walter Lee, but he gives it all to his business partner, who absconds. Destitute, Walter Lee considers accepting money from a group of whites to stay away from their neighborhood. At a crucial moment, Lena tells Walter Lee that he can accept the whites' offer if he is prepared to allow his son to watch the humiliating transaction. Despite his earlier cynicism, Walter Lee resolves to move the family into the new house, to brave the inevitable violence and forego the money, but to keep his family's dignity intact.