A Raisin in the Sun and Happiness Essay Samples

Published: 2018-01-09
A Raisin in the Sun and Happiness Essay Samples
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Personality Happiness A Raisin in the Sun Dramatic literature
Pages: 12
Wordcount: 3120 words
26 min read

Essay Sample #1 - A Raisin in the Sun and Desire for Happiness


The desire for any person to have a safe and comfortable life play a great role in making people work hard. Sacrifices among other strategies are developed just to ensure the dreams come true no matter the challenges. However, in most cases, the achievement of these goals does not mean that a person's life forever turns into happiness. At times, even after the accomplishment of desires, we find that other factors cannot be satisfied by the achievements. For instance, even after the African American family moved into a new home, they don't enjoy the feeling of this new progress, yet it is what they have longed for, for a long time (Hansberry 23). However, does this mean that people should not desire as the author argues basing on the failure to fulfill the happiness the family got after having dreamt for a new house? The need to dream drives one into working hard whether the goals are achievable or not.

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A Raisin in the Sun Summary

Hansberry argues that in most cases, the desire of having happiness influences one's decision and thoughts. It can be so basing on the life of Beneatha who attempts many things as a way of getting cash but fails, a practice that leaves Ruth and Mama laughing at her as she struggles to express herself on the matter. Mama to Beneatha, "Why you got to fit so from one thing to another, baby?" (Hansberry 45). However, the author may not be right to say this since n this case of several failed attempts Beneatha could have only given up on one trial and not several. It implies that it is not only happiness that drives the desires of a person but also self-esteem. In the scenario where mama thinks of giving $ 10000 to Walter, Ruth feels that this would give Walter a feeling of happiness as well as confidence basing on how he strives to bring something home through his work as a chauffeur. Walter says, "Mama Do you know what this money means to me?" (Act I...Scene II) She knew she could no longer provide for Walter and this could also be a relief to her. To them, this would be a source of happiness since Walter would use the money in beneficial activities to help the family. Unfortunately, this turns out negative after he loses the money. In this case, the author is right to argue the idea of desires influencing one's decision since Walters wish to have a comfortable and productive life made him make a wrong decision which he regrets later after the money gets lost.

Beneatha's desire to be independent and not to depend on any man pushes her to enter into a career that is perceived to be for men only. To her, she strived to have the happiness that only entailed her freedom. The Freedom to live a life she wants without asking for money from a man but have everything that could be satisfying in all nature. Basing on this, the argument of the author on the fact that desire influences a person's life regarding decision making can be invalid since she makes the choice of wanting to be independent which pushes her into making a career only suitable for men. If the argument could have been right, Beneatha's decision regarding career could have been another thing provided she is independent but not specifically on the medical subject. Furthermore, the author's argument on the exploration of desire as a key fact in achieving dreams in the case of Beneatha. She is only pushing these thoughts on the bases of pride and not happiness. As a matter of fact, she feels she is comfortable the way she is and does not even want to get into marital status with the aim of being free from any man's bossiness. Her boyfriend at one occasion tells her that he wishes she stops being proud and reduces the ambitions that were making her outrageous. It is also fun to argue on the independence of this lady, yet the money she is using for her study is from the insurance her father left the family. It apparently means that dreams and ambitions cannot influence a person's decisions since other needs can affect the situation.

A Raisin in the Sun Analysis

The author is clear to argue the developing themes or rather titles which keep developing as the chapters unveil. For instance, we are clear to see themes like love, poverty, self-esteem and racial discrimination. The family survives on low paying jobs with Walter as a Chaffer while his mother and sister do house cleaning activities to earn a living. In his conversation with his mother, Walter says, “Mama I drive a man around in his Limousine …." (Hansberry 48). In one occasion, Walters's wife thinks of carrying out an abortion on their second child since she feels they are both financially and emotionally unstable and this was not good for the baby. Needless to say, the first chapter of the book reveals how the environment this family lives is congested. They share a bathroom with other people in the plot, and this means that they are in a state of poverty as they could have maybe lived in a safe house with everything intact.(toilet and bathroom) Ruth says this to Travis, " I say hurry up Travis, you are not the only person to use the bathroom."


The argument by the author on the matters discussed above can be said to be valid given certain scenes as they unveil in the book. However, I can argue that most of the issues and problems faced by this family mostly by self-satisfaction and pride. They all struggle to survive to be happy, but each one of them only does it on personal interest.

Work Cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun. Samuel. French Inc., 1984.

Essay Sample #2 - Happiness as a Human Emotion and the Desire for it in A Raisin in the Sun


In the category of primates, the human being tops the list in so many ways. People are special in more ways than one as compared to other animals. They have a higher brain capacity which allows them to do so many things that other animals cannot. When it comes to primates and Intelligence Quotient, commonly known as IQ, human beings top the list. Therefore, this means that they have a higher brain capacity and functionality as compared to all other animals under the sky. Their creativity, innovation ability, and brain power is above all others. With increased brain activity and higher IQ, human beings are prone to imaginations and fantasies some of which may or may not be true. They are also gifted with the ability to feel.

The human being is an emotional being. People experience all kinds of emotions ranging from happiness, sadness, depression, excitement, anger, anxiety and grief. Emotions play a crucial part in our lives, and their importance cannot be overlooked. Emotions determine how well/how badly we do something when to do it and give people a reason to do it. Most things humans do are based on emotions and to call someone emotionless or incapable of feeling is one of the most common social lies. To feel is a norm, it is what makes us human. Songs and poems are based on such feelings, and that is why you will hear of love songs, motivational poems, and so on. There are many kinds of emotions that humans feel and are significantly dependent on the mood and circumstances of the person at a particular time. There is a broad range of emotions, and individuals have the ability to feel all of them each at a time. It is also possible to experience more than one feeling at a go.

This paper is going to expound on happiness as a human emotion and the desire for it using “A Raisin in the Sun” as the main source text.

A Raisin in the Sun Analysis

Have you ever wished for something so bad that when it came to be you did not have a clue what to do about it? It is very human to have wished and desires but unfortunately, most of them never come to be. For those of us who are lucky enough to have their desires and wishes fulfilled, they are nothing short of happy and this is usually evident in everything they do. Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun is based on happiness as the central theme.

The desire for happiness is one of the most evident themes in Lorraine Hansberry’s Raisin in the Sun. The story is majorly based on the dreams since the main characters strive to come out of the severe condition ruling their lives. Notably each member in then Younger family had separate visions about their future, and commonly they all desired for a good life without suffering. The members in Younger family only wished for a better life, for instance, Walter only wanted to set up a liquor store so as to find a stable source of income apart from his job as a taxi driver. Similarly, Beneatha desired to have a career in medicine while their mother wanted them to have a good home. In all the desires it is evident that dreams predicted a happy ending, which was to be accomplished after some time. The play’s explanation about happiness is hidden and requires an extensive focus into the theme. Even though the play ended when the family moved to their dream home, it is not evident whether they were happy. Additionally, determining the happiness of the Younger’s family can be difficult given that the story ended in suspense and uncertainty of the future. Apparently, the family’s desire for happiness was not accomplished given that they had not attained most of their dreams. The play suggests that the family believed that they had succeeded given that they decided to stick together as a family and defer their dreams. Therefore, other literary works will help in determining whether the family attained their happiness.

Annotated Bibliography

1. Ferguson, Will. Happiness. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2002.

Everyone desires to be happy. Happiness is a universal language that is understood by all human beings. Joy works in unusual ways, seen by the blind, heard by the deaf and is sought by even the most heartless people. Happiness is food to the soul, and one is not rich until he/she has sufficient amount of it. Joy makes one’s life a little easier and makes their problems and burdens a little lighter. Joy is affiliated with good deeds and purity of purpose. It is a state of mind achieved when one connects and is at peace with the people around and the environment. Unless in the case of sadists who enjoy inflicting pain on others as their primary source of happiness, happy people are mostly well-meaning.

Different people have different definitions of happiness. Just the same way the sources of happiness differ from one person to another depending on preferences, hobbies, environment and other factors that may not be so obvious. It is important to note that happiness is relative and does not follow a one-size-fits-all kind of criteria. One person’s source of happiness may be a regular thing to another person, yet a source of sadness to the other. Therefore, in the pursuit of happiness, we should always embrace diversity and appreciate the fact that different people have different preferences. If there were one word that would describe the nature of individuals, then it would be diversity. The world is full of diverse people each based on geographical location, religion, education, social beliefs and lifestyles (Ferguson).

2. Chittister, Joan. Happiness. Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011.

The good book advises us that we are all different and unique in our creation; thanks to the ultimate designer. Therefore, no two people are the same, even in the case of twins. There are some notable differences from one person to another. The same Bible goes ahead and tells us that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and should always appreciate the differences in the pursuit of happiness. The observable and non-observable differences alike should not be a basis of discrimination, and we should focus on the bigger picture which is to heed the call of humanity and embrace each other regardless of the differences. For that reason, they came up with a famous phrase, “same same but different,” to promote and advocate for unity among humanity and detest from segregations of any sort. Instead, we should concentrate on being happy and making those around us happy irrespective of gender, race, age, social status and all those factors people use as a basis for discrimination (Chittister).

3. Junge, T. "Maslow's hierachy of needs." The Surgical Technologist (2003): 26-27.

Determined to establish what made people happy and kept them motivated throughout the course, Maslow came up with a system of set needs. According to Maslow hierarchy of requirements, real happiness comes from self-actualization. Self-actualization is a state achieved when a person is self-fulfilled. Before achieving this, there are a couple of need levels that should be fulfilled. Self-actualization is the top of the hierarchy. In this stage, one has fully achieved their potential and their desires have come to be. Using Maslow’s theory to determine whether the members of the Younger family have attained their happiness, it is evident that they still have a long way to go.

Starting with Mama, she wants to buy a bigger house for her family so as to fulfill a dream she had with her husband. In Maslow’s hierarchy of need, a house is an essential need and falls under physiological and safety needs. She has not reached self-fulfillment level and therefore her happiness and desires remain unmet. Moving on to Walter Lee, his idea of the best use of the money is to invest in a liquor store. Lee believes that the liquor store will be the key to ending the financial problems of his family. In the process, Lee is conned by his close friend and to-be business associate. Eventually, the liquor store is not opened, and his desires remain unmet too. Finally, we meet Beneatha who is Lee’s sister. Her idea of happiness is to travel and retrace their roots. It is through Beneatha that we learn the home of origin of the Youngers. Their home was Africa, and Beneatha wanted them to go back as opposed to being influenced by the white man’s ways. She also intends to use the money to finance her through medical school. However, their differing dreams cannot get them into coming to an agreement, and neither one of them is willing to give up on their dreams without a fight. This is a major happiness killer in this family (Junge).

4. Airaksinen, Timo. "Desire and Happiness." Homo Oeconomicus 29.3 (2012).

According to Professor Timo Airaksinen, Moral Philosopher at Helsinki University, deciding to let go of several dreams after achieving a single dream is a sign of failure. In his research, Airaksinen explains that the choices made by a person are influenced by their desires to have happiness and rarely do people know the outcome of their decisions. The Younger’s decision to let go of their dreams after getting the dream home does not show a sign of happiness.

In Airaksinen’s context, they made a decision that only made them feel comfortable for some time given that they did not know the future. The uncertainty of the future disqualifies a dream to be categorized as the desired dream. Further, the moral philosopher demystifies that having an unknown future is neutral and one may not know whether they would be happy. In regards to the Younger’s situation, there is evidence that the family would not live a happy life after moving to the new home. They would face several problems from their white neighbors who were racist. In the play, the friends had shown their dislike of the Younger’s by sending Mr. Lindner to offer them a deal so as to stay away from the Clybourne Park. The hate shows that they may not live in peace with the whites and they would have to solve even bigger racism problems, which they did not experience in their former residence. Airaksinen supports most of the pessimistic theories by stating that the desires cannot make a person happy especially when there higher chances of having problems in the future (Airaksinen 2).

5. Ahmed, Sara. The promise of happiness. Duke University Press, 2010.

On the other hand, Sara Ahmed suggests that an individual’s satisfaction defines happiness. In her description of happiness, Sara explains that being happy is when a person becomes what they have desired. In the play it is evident that the Younger’s family finally had a chance to move into a better house and their hope for a better life was renewed. However, the story the story only explains the decision they made as a group and does not give an account of the individual desire. According to Sara 2010, happiness can only be defined at an individual’s level, and it can be hard to be determined in a group (Ahmed 3). In the story, each of the family members seemed to have strong beliefs and hopes about their dreams, and no one of them relented despite the challenges. The play, therefore, cannot give clear evidence why each of the individuals decided to let go of their dream just because they moved to the house.


Using these five sources to determine whether the Younger’s family was happy or not, it is evident that they still have a long way to go before they achieve this status. Clearly, the sources contest the context of the play about happiness. The sources explain the various aspects of happiness such as conditions, personal satisfaction, and pessimism, which were not met by the characters' decision. In conclusion, the Younger’s family did not live their desired happy life contrary to the play's suggestion.

Works Cited

Airaksinen, Timo. "Desire and Happiness." Homo Oeconomicus 29.3 (2012).

Ahmed, Sara. The promise of happiness. Duke University Press, 2010.

Chittister, Joan. Happiness. Michigan: W.B. Eerdmans Pub., 2011.

Ferguson, Will. Happiness. Edinburgh: Canongate, 2002.

Junge, T. "Maslow's hierachy of needs." The Surgical Technologist (2003): 26-27.

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