Dreams Worth While: The Journey of 'A Raisin in the Sun'

23 min

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?

Pull it in up here.

Or fester like a sore, and then run?

Does it stink like rotten meat?

Or crust and sugar over, like a syrupy sweet.

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

Come on, Johnson, l'm out.

And there's still hot water.

-Morning, Lena.

-Morning, Earline.



-Watch your step.


Walter, it's after seven.

You're gonna be late.

Travis out of the bathroom yet?

No, not yet, but he will be soon.

And, what's the point

in having an alarm clock

if you don't get up when it goes off?

What l need an alarm clock for

when l got you?

Only problem is,

l can't just hit a button and turn you off.


What kind of eggs you want?

Not scrambled.

-Where the paper?

-Where it always is.

What's your problem this morning?

l don't have a problem. And l hope

you don't volunteer to become one.

Yeah, you got a problem.

What's that boy doing in the bathroom

all this time?

He's just gonna have

to start getting up earlier.

l can't be being late to work on

account of him fooling around in there.

No, he is not gonna be getting up no earlier.

lt's not his fault he can't get to bed at night

because he got a bunch of

crazy, loudmouth, good-for-nothing people,

running their mouths

in what's supposed to be his bedroom

after 10:
00 at night.

Why they gotta be loudmouths?

Because they are loud, and nothing that

comes out of them mouths is important.

Not enough to keep my little boy awake.

That's what you're mad about, ain't it?

Things l want to talk about with my friends

just couldn't be important

in your mind, could they?

Come here.

You looking young this morning, baby.

Looking just like how you looked

when l started courting you.

lt's gone now. You look like yourself again.

Just eat your eggs.

You know that insurance check come

tomorrow, don't you?

Yeah, l know.

l really don't want to talk about it.

l'm out, but you better hurry. l heard

Mr. Johnson coming down the steps.

The check comes tomorrow, right, Mama?

Yes, it does, Travis. But it's too early

in the morning to be talking about money

so just eat your breakfast.

But l need fifty cents.

-For what?

-For the poor Negroes in history.

For the what?

Teacher says we gotta do something about

teaching colored kids about they history.

''Their'' history. And what's that got to

do with fifty cents and poor Negroes?

All us kids are putting in fifty cents

to buy special books

that'll tell us about the things

the poor Negroes did.

ls that the way the teacher put it,

the ''poor Negroes''?

Yes, ma'am. That's the way

she always puts it.

And they need fifty cents for

special books for the poor Negroes.

-Yes, Mama, that's what l said.

-l don't have it.

But l don't want to be the only one

without the money, Ma.

l said l don't have it, Travis.

Just eat your breakfast.

l'm finished.

Then go on and make up your bed.

Can l maybe bag groceries

at the market after...


And no sweet rolls today,

Mr. Angry Little Man.

You wanna have all your teeth

in your head when you get older.

l'm gone.

''l know that woman wants me

to kiss her goodbye, but l'll fix her.

''l won't kiss her, and she'll be sorry.

''l won't kiss her goodbye

for nothing in this world,

'''cause l know that's

just what she wants me to do.''


Can l please bag groceries? Can l, Mama?

-What is it he want to do?

-Bag groceries after school.

-For the poor Negroes in history, Dad.

-Travis. No.

-School's raising money for something.

-l gotta have fifty cents.

-Why don't you give it to him?

-'Cause we don't have it.

What you going telling the boy

things like that for?

Come here, Travis.

Thanks, Daddy.

ln fact, here's another fifty cents.

Why don't you go buy yourself some fruit

or take a taxicab to school or something.

Hot dog! Thanks, Daddy.

-Go on to school now. Don't be late.

-All right.

That's my boy.


Know what l was thinking about

in the bathroom this morning?


-Charlie Atkins.

-You remember Charlie Atkins?


You remember.

Remember, he wanted me to go

in that dry cleaning business with him.

Now he's grossing $100,000 a year.


-That's nice, Walter.

-That could have been me.

That could have been us.

But he stepped up and l held back.

Walter, you didn't have any money.

That was true, then. This is now.

This is our time, baby.

Walter, if you're gonna

talk to me about that check...

Me, Willy and Bobo,

we got this thing figured out.


Walter, l got nothing to do with that check.

You're tired, ain't you, baby?

Tired of everything.

Me, the boy, the way we live.

So tired you couldn't do nothing

to help us out, could you?


Mama will listen to you.

You know she listens to you more

than she listens to anybody else.

That's all l need you to do.

Tomorrow morning when you're

sitting down drinking your coffee,

just sip on your coffee, real easy like,

and talk to her like what you're saying

ain't really that important to you.

Then sip on your coffee some more

and tell her that you've been thinking about

the deal Walter Lee is so interested in.

And before you know it, she'll be

listening good, asking you questions,

and when l come home

l can fill her in on all the details.

No, Walter, no.

This ain't no fly-by-night proposition, baby.

-This is real.

-They're all real.

All the schemes that go nowhere.

-Not like this one.

-No, Walter.

Why not?

First of all, l'm not gonna be

pretending anything with your mother.

Now that's your nonsense. That's not mine.

And second of all,

the money doesn't belong to us, Walter.

-lt's your mother's money.

-What's she gonna do with it?

Walter, just finish your breakfast.

Come on, go to work.

-Why can't you listen to me?

-Walter, don't shout at me.

That's the only way

l can get through to you.

Walter, please.

Ruth. Ruth, listen.

Now it normally costs $75,000,

to get into something

like we're thinking about getting into,

but Willy knows somebody

that can get us in for 30.

That's 10,000 three ways.

Plus a little something extra

to spread around

to the people to get the licenses approved.

-You mean bribes?

-Don't call it that.

This is business. Don't nothing happen in

this world unless somebody's getting paid.

Walter, eat your eggs.

That's it? ''Eat your eggs''?

Walter, that ain't none of our money.

This morning l get up.

l go to a bathroom l gotta share

with two floors of people.

l look in the mirror.

Thirty-five years old,

been married eleven years.

l got a boy who sleeps in the living room.

And all l got to tell him are stories

about how rich, white people live.

Walter, eat your eggs.

Damn these eggs.

Damn all the eggs that ever was!

Fine. Just go to work!

See, that says it all, don't it?

Morning, everybody.

Says just what's wrong with women today.

Don't know how to build your man up,

make them feel like they can be somebody,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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