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A Raisin in the Sun Book and Film Adaptation: A Comparison Piece

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Lorraine Hansberry wrote the play A Raisin in the Sun in 1950 in New York; the play’s first performance was in 1959. The play touched on a very emotive topic at the time, that of racism. The play attracting a broad audience from both the white and black communities and consequently it was adapted into film twice; first in 1961 and then in 2008, starring Sean Combs. The play and movie showcases a week in the lives of the Younger family who receive $10,000 as a life insurance check. The films are adaptations of the play hence there are numerous similarities; however, there are also differences.

One similarity is that both the films and the play are set in the Younger’s house in the Southside of Chicago. However, one significant difference is that events in the play all happen in the living room while in the films there are different sets such as the bar, new house, and Walter’s work. The addition of sets gives the audience a broader understanding of the Younger family.

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In both the play and the films, Walter stops working after he is not entrusted with the money to start his venture. Lena, feeling guilty, entrusts him with the remaining money. In the films, Lena takes the money to him in a bar. However, in the play, the scene takes place inside the apartment.

Another major similarity is that in both the Younger family decides to move to the new house knowing very well that their soon to be white neighbors do not welcome them. One major difference is that in the films the audience is shown the family in their new house. Even though they are unsure about their future, the added scene gives the audience a sense of hope that things will be better.

I felt the films were much more interesting than the play. The play held its own in delivering the message to the audience, but the added scenes in the films built a bit more contrast and broadened the viewer experience. The scenes in the bar and the family moving to the new house created feelings and perceptions that were not as advanced in the play. All in all, both medium highlight an important message that we should give up on our dreams as the Younger family persevered and eventually theirs were fulfilled.

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