Explore the timeless wisdom and profound insights hidden within the powerful A Raisin in the Sun quotes.
Playwright Lorraine Hansberry shared a commonality with the characters in her 1959 work A Raisin in the Sun.
Just as the fictional Younger family members were the first black residents in a white South Side neighborhood in Chicago, Hansberry was the first black female playwright to be produced on Broadway.
With a title taken from a line in poet Langston Hughes’ “Harlem,” Hansberry’s poignant and thought-provoking A Raisin in the Sun tells the story of the Youngers, a Black family fighting for the American dream as the only Black residents in Clybourne Park.
Hansberry’s best-known work deals with themes of the power of money, complicated relationships and love, aspirations and dreams, race and discrimination, and the lasting impacts of family.
Keep reading for 25 powerful quotes from A Raisin in the Sun.
A Raisin in the Sun Quotes about Dreams
What dreams do the Younger family members have in A Raisin in the Sun?
Despite their challenges, each Younger family member harbors dreams for how their lives could be.
These quotes illustrate their desperation to achieve their dreams and the forces fighting against them.
1. “I want to fly! I want to touch the sun!” — Walter Lee Younger
2. “Then isn’t there something wrong in a house – in a world! – where all dreams, good or bad, must depend on the death of a man?” — Joseph Asagai
3. “Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams -but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile.” — Lena Younger
4. “Just tell me what it is you want to be—and you’ll be it . . . Whatever you want to be — Yessir! You just name it, son . . . and I hand you the world!” — Walter Lee Younger
5. “Man say to his woman: I got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs. Man say: I got to take hold of this here world, baby! And a woman will say: Eat your eggs and go to work.” — Walter Lee Younger
A Raisin in the Sun Quotes About Family
What happens to the family in A Raisin in the Sun as they face the world’s pressures around them?
Read on for quotes about the Younger family dynamics as they move forward without their patriarch.
6. “It’s dangerous, son …When a man goes outside his home to look for peace.” — Lena Younger
7. “How we gets to the place where we scared to talk softness to each other? Why you think it got to be like that? Ruth, what is it gets into people ought to be close?” — Walter Lee Younger
8. “Mama, something is happening between Walter and me. I don’t know what it is – but he needs something – something I can’t give him anymore. He needs this chance, Lena.” — Ruth Younger
9. “There ain’t nothing worth holding on to, money, dreams, nothing else – if it means – if it means it’s going to destroy my boy. . . . I’m telling you to be the head of this family from now on like you supposed to be.” — Lena Younger
10. “I’m waiting to hear how you be your father’s son. Be the man he was . . . Your wife say she going to destroy your child. And I’m waiting to hear you talk like him and say we a people who give children life, not who destroys them” — Lena Younger
Quotes about Race and Discrimination from A Raisin in the Sun
What quotes in A Raisin in the Sun highlight discrimination?
These quotes demonstrate the struggles and racial barriers faced by the Youngers.
11. “I want to do something for our people before I die.” — Beneatha Younger
12. “Mama, you know it’s all divided up. Life is. Sure enough. Between the takers and the “tooken.” I’ve figured it out finally. Yeah. Some of us always getting “tooken.” — Walter Lee Younger
13. “You something new, boy. In my time, we was worried about not being lynched and getting to the North if we could and how to stay alive and still have a pinch of dignity too . . .” — Lena Younger
14. “Here we go! A lecture on the African past! On our Great West African Heritage!… Let’s face it, baby, your heritage is nothing but a bunch of raggedy-assed spirituals and some grass huts!” — George Murchison
15. “But you’ve got to admit that a man, right or wrong, has the right to want to have a neighborhood he lives in a certain kind of way. And at the moment, the overwhelming majority of our people out there feel that people get along better, take more of a common interest in the life of the community, when they share a common background.” — Karl Lindner
A Raisin in the Sun Quotes about Money
How is money discussed in A Raisin in the Sun?
While money can open most doors, what’s on the other side might not always be welcoming.
Read on for quotes about the power money had in determining the direction and fate of the Younger family.
16. “Something always told me I wasn’t no rich white woman.” — Lena Younger
17. “Man, I put my life in your hands . . . Man . . . That money is made out of my father’s flesh” — Walter Lee Younger
18. “Oh – So now it’s life. Money is life. Once upon a time, freedom used to be life – now it’s money. I guess the world really do change…” — Lena Younger
19. “We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that’s all we got to say about that. We don’t want your money.” — Walter Lee Younger
20. “Son – I come from five generations of people who was slaves and sharecroppers – but ain’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay ‘em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn’t fit to walk the earth. We ain’t never been that poor. We ain’t never been that – dead inside.” — Lena Younger
A Raisin in the Sun Quotes about Love and Relationships
How does love hold the family together in A Raisin in the Sun?
These quotes highlight how the family members struggle to connect and understand each other.
21. “When the world gets ugly enough — a woman will do anything for her family.” — Lena Younger
22. “You just can’t force people to change, honey. They got to want to change themselves.” — Ruth Younger
23. “There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing.” — Lena Younger
24. “You never understood that there is more than one kind of feeling which can exist between a man and a woman—or, at least, there should be.” — Beneatha Younger
25. “Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learning – because that ain’t the time at all.” — Lena Younger
Hansberry’s Timeless Work Lives On
Though Lorraine Hansberry’s life was tragically ended by pancreatic cancer at the age of 34, her short career profoundly impacted the American theater.
In 1973, A Raisin in the Sun was adapted into a musical, Raisin, which ran for over two years and won two Tony awards.
A Raisin in the Sun remains an often-produced play and has been revived on Broadway with productions starring Denzel Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, and Audra McDonald.
Its themes of family, race and discrimination, love and relationships, the power of money, and daring to dream in the face of adversity still resonate with modern audiences and cement A Raisin in the Son’s place in American theater history.
Share these quotes with your family and friends, and let us know which one stands out to you and why in the comments.
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