Now, I partially-read A Raisin in the Sun when I was in high school but I was far too immature to understand and appreciate the story. This time when I read it – in its entirety – I got a lot more out of it.
For a start, I was able to appreciate the nostalgic interactions between the play’s characters. I was living abroad and feeling forever homesick and something about the so clearly American life that Hansberry created made me feel a little more at home. It’s not a particularly happy story at all but it’s one that is uplifting because of its undertones.
The familial struggles and tensions of the Younger family felt so familiar. And, despite their relationships being less than perfect, it was an oddly comforting feeling when I was thousands of miles away from my own family.
I also liked the feeling of “seeing how the other half lives.” To an extent, A Raisin in the Sun is still a cultural lens for black life in America. It weaves together so many obstacles and adversaries that people of color continue to experience in the U.S. today but the poeticism of Hansberry softens this theme so that you feel as if it is your own. It provided me with a deeper understanding of people who have possibly had life experiences different from my own and is definitely one I would recommend.