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Junior English B

Student_______________________________________ Hour_______________

List the names of other group members:_______________________________________________________________

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A Raisin in the Sun


UNIT: American Literature and the Civil Rights Movement
We will explore how the social,
educational, economical and political
climate of the 1950’s affected African
Americans' quest for "The American
Dream."
Our critical reading and analysis of the
play by Lorraine Hansberry will be
complemented with a close
examination of biographical and
historical documents that students use
as the basis for synthesizing into
reaction statements, essays, scripts,
speeches, and a final project.

Guiding Questions
How does the play A Raisin in
the Sun mirror the social,
educational, political, and
economical climate of the 1950s? How does the play illustrate the impact this climate had on
African Americans' quest for "The American Dream?"

Learning Objectives
After completing this lesson, students will be able to:
• Develop a definition of "The American Dream"
• Recognize the historical setting of the play A Raisin in the Sun
• Identify various forms of discrimination against African Americans in the Jim Crow era
• Identify and analyze specific biographical and historical documents
• Read and compare two poems by Langston Hughes
• Engage in a literary analysis of the play A Raisin in the Sun by analyzing characterization, plot,
setting, figurative language, theme, and symbolism
• Demonstrate an understanding of the play's themes by engaging in various writing tasks

Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream


Day 1: Read these two poems by Langston Hughes and make connections to your own
experiences.

“I, too, sing America”

I, too, sing America. "Harlem"


I am the darker brother. What happens to a dream deferred?
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes, Does it dry up
But I laugh, like a raisin in the sun?
And eat well, Or fester like a sore -
And grow strong. And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Tomorrow, Or crust and sugar over -
I'll be at the table like a syrupy sweet?
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare Maybe it just sags
Say to me, like a heavy load.
"Eat in the kitchen,"
Then. Or does it explode?

Besides, - Langston Hughes, 1951


They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed -
What is the purpose of a preface?
I, too, am America. Why do you think Hansberry chose this
poem as her preface?
What central question does the poem
-Langston Hughes, 1925 ask?
Use the Figurative Language Chart (available as
a downloadable PDF file) to analyze the similes
and metaphors in the poem. Discuss responses
to the Figurative Language Chart .
Although the poem is phrased as a list of
questions, Hughes is making a statement.
What is Hughes' message about dreams
deferred?
How do "dreams deferred" relate to
the American Dream?

Watch the video clip “Dream Deferred”


http://www.learner.org/catalog/extras/vvspot/v
ideo/hughes.html

Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream


Days 2,3,4: Students will work in small groups of three (assigned) to investigate photographs, videos,
recordings, and documents from the 1950’s. Although time will be limited, if your group focuses on the
task, together you should cover most of the material listed below. As you begin your investigation, each
group should split up the list of 18 sources and assign each group member certain sources to review. In
order for your group to receive at least a "B" grade for days 2, 3,and 4, your group must complete EACH
of the analysis forms: 2 Written Document Analysis worksheets, 4 Photo Analysis worksheets, 2 Sound
Recording Analysis worksheets, 1 Motion Picture (Video Clip) Analysis worksheet, and 1 Map Analysis
worksheet.

Assigned Internet Links:

Source #1 Academy of American Poets


(http://www.poets.org/index.cfm)

Source #2 Langston Hughes, "Let America Be America Again"


(http://www.poets.org/poems/poems.cfm?prmID=1473)
Source #3 Africans in America (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia)

Source #4 Jim Crow-Close Up


Source #5 American Memory Collection: (http://memory.loc.gov)

Source #6 African American Odyssey: The Civil Rights Era


[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/exhibit/aopart9.html]
Source #7 Daisy Bates and the Little Rock Nine Letter "Dark Laughter"
Source #8 Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Forces
Source #9 Montgomery Bus Boycott
Source #10 Saving the Race
Source #11 The Genesis of Racial Identification and Preferences in Negro Children
Source #12 African American Perspectives: Progress of a People
[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aap/aapexhp.html]
Source #13 Protection of American Citizens: Pamphlet—"The Black Laws" by Bishop B.W. Arnett
[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aap/aapprot.html]
Source #14 Mob-Violence and Anarchy, North and South: Pamphlet—"Lynch Laws in Georgia" by Ida B.
Wells-Barnett
[http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aap/aapmob.html]
Digital Classroom (National Archives and Records Administration)
(http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/index.html)

Document Analysis Worksheets


(http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/
analysis_worksheets/worksheets.html)
Written Document
(http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/
analysis_worksheets/document.html )

Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream


Photograph Analysis Worksheet
(http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/
analysis_worksheets/photo.html)
Source #15 Documents Related to Brown V. Board of Education
(http://www.archives.gov/digital_classroom/lessons/
brown_v_board_documents/brown_v_board.html)
Learner.org [http://www.learner.org/exhibits/]

Source #16 Montage of a Dream Deferred


[http://www.csustan.edu/english/reuben/pal/chap9/Hughes.html]
Source #17 Audio-clip of a Dream Deferred
[http://www.learner.org/catalog/extras/vvspot/video/hughes.html]
Perseus Project (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu)

Source # 18 Perseus Encyclopedia


(http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi -bin/ptext?doc=1999.04.0004)
Source #19 We Shall Overcome: Historic Places of the Civil Rights Movement

Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream


Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream
Day 5: Before we begin the drama, students will participate in small group discussions to
explore the following questions:

1. Why do people from other countries immigrate to America?


2. When we talk about "The American Dream", what do we mean? What are some of the
obstacles to achieving the American Dream?
3. Which groups of people have had trouble attaining "The American Dream"? There are a
variety of acceptable responses to this question. E.g. Native Americans, Irish Americans,
African Americans, Chinese Americans, and Japanese Americans, as well as the poor and
women.
4. Given the obstacles that some Americans have to overcome, what makes the American
Dream appealing?

Day 6:
We will read together Langston Hughes’ poem “Let America Be America Again.”

Let America Be America Again


by Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.


Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--


Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty


Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,


Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?


And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,


I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,

Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream


I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,


Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.


I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream


In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?


Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--


The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,

Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream


Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--


The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,
America!

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,


The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states --
And make America again!

Day 7: Following the four class periods of small group investigation and discussion, each group
will formulate one definition of “The American Dream.” The definition should be written in the
style of a dictionary definition. Give a literal meaning of the term. Then, give cultural contexts
(what do specific American cultures- Jewish, Japanese, African American, Mexican, etc.- view as
an American dream?) At the end of your definition, include antonyms.
Each group will share its definition with the class.

Please construct your definition on the next page.

Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream


Our group's definition:_____________________________________________________

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Cultural contexts: (example, for Japanese Americans, this means…)_________________

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Antonyms: ______________________________________________________________

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Adapted from an exercise developed by Edsitement http://edsitement.neh.gov/lesson-plan/raisin-sun-quest-am erican-dream

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