When I was a little girl I had always heard about “A Raisin in the Sun,” but I never got to see or read the play. I actually took the time out to read the place because I wanted to understand why people loved it so much and I have to tell you, it is definitely a classic and worth the read if you haven’t seen it. I do want to see the play, someday, but as for now, allow me to give you my impression!
Just as is written, authenticity, authenticity, authenticity. It shows the reality of what it was like to be black in Chicago during the 60s. A lot of the themes resonate today, this idea of empowering the black conscious in order to do better is something that I still find within our communities.
This book, in my opinion, speaks to the undertones of how black families interact. We don’t think about black family interaction, specifically, because we have a subconscious bias that most families engage in behaviors the same way. However, this play proves that the black family has different dimensions. For example, when you read about the way that the mother is treated by the children in comparison to the grandmother you find that there’s a serious amount of respect and accountability that is held in regards to the elders.
I love the way that it shows the different layers of blackness. The black woman who is in pursuit of education, the black man whose only role in life is to provide, the son who is not engaged with anything that is happening around him, are all different ways that we can experience the black identity across genders and roles. The play had an elegant way of integrating African worldview by adding a character who was from Africa and was learning the customs of America. I enjoyed reading his insight and the way that he was portrayed without there being a stereotype.
Overall, this novel is one that can be talked about across generations as we progress forward in our blackness. I invite you to read it if you’re wondering what kind of great black American literature lives in our society today.