Free «Critical Analysis of “A Raisin in the Sun”» Essay Sample

The main purpose of the critical analysis is outlining the key features of the A Raisin in the Sun due to the following areas: storytelling, cinematography, editing, sound, style and directing, societal impact, genre, film criticism and analysis. This paper is dedicated to the analysis of the first version of the film by Daniel Petrie (1961).


It is important to make an emphasis on the fact that the 1960s are the beginning of the managing the discrimination issues in the US. The term "affirmative action" has been issued in the US for the first time in the Executive Order 10925. This order, in turn, has been signed by John F. Kennedy on March 6, 1961. The key task of the order implied the practical implementation of the measures, directed to the non-discrimination achievement.

While taking in account the fact that the black families are the representatives of the African American race, they are indigenous communities. Martínez Cobo considered the indigenous communities (and African Americans in particular) as peoples and nations, which have inhabited the certain territory before the invasion, having a historical continuity in that place, and considered themselves as the separated groups or societies from those, which were currently prevailing in those territories, or parts of them.



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In the US, the problem of indigenous peoples has got its historical background and it was caused by multinational social structure of the United States society. Some sociologists call the US the ‘Melting pot’, the country, which has got multinational society from the very beginning of its existence. In A Raisin in the Sun, the problem of the African Americans is considered in the light of the social life and opportunities for the life level development and improvement.

Additional problem, shown in the movie is the women’s movement issue. The background of this problem may be defined as the social movement, which is directed to implementing the radical changes it the social life. The reform movement may be directed to the global changes in the social life, and also it may cover particular areas of human relations. While taking in consideration the women’s movement, it is obvious that the key aim of this reform was protecting the women’s rights. The women’s rights, in turn, may be defined as freedoms, which are claimed by women and girls of different age and social groups. Such movement took place in the beginning of the 20st century in the US and in other countries. The key purpose of the women’s movement was the achievement of the women’s rights support by the jurisdiction, the local customs and the local population.


The plot of the film is based on the family relations within the black family, which is living in the Chicago's South Side. The main problem for solving in this family is allocating ten thousand dollars, which were left after the death of Lena's husband (insurance payment). There are different variants of spending and investment this money and some contradictions occur in the family.

The film is dedicated to outlining of such an aspect of family life as planning of the family budget and allocating sources in the most effective way. The supervisor was tending to show that every member of this family is tending to apply this money for his own needs, but not for the common good. All the propositions sounded like the variants for the common goal achievement - improving the life level of the family, but in the reality the situation has developed in the opposite way. Another problem, which was inherent to many families of 1960-s, as well as to the nowadays families, is planning to give birth to a child, which is often based on the income level of the family. In other words, money makes a decision instead of people in this case.

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One more idea, which has been outlined in this film, is that people still believe that in spite of the material problems it is possible to survive and to achieve the main goals of the family life while being optimistic, goal-seeking and having a strong family values and support.


A Raisin in the Sun is a realistic drama, which represents the human spirit and shows the real life of the ordinary American working class. This genre is a key advantage of this movie in comparison with those ones, which are dedicated to the entertainment of the wealthy people, who own luxurious cars, villas and lead an expensive life. In this movie the representatives of the American working class can see themselves with their dreams and intensions, concerning purchasing a new house, going to medical school or investing some money into a promising business project.


A Raisin In the Sun movie is adapted from the play of the same name, and it has not got significant changes in its plot. In other words, it is possible to say that the film replicates the stage performance, and it is completely impossible to distinguish it from the original play.

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Some critics consider that there is a lack of tools, provided by the rich possibilities of the cinematography. As an example, the vast majority of the movie (approximately 95% of the total time) takes place in apartments, and it is possible to consider such approach towards screening as a stage performance; that is a weak point of the cinema. There is a minimal adaptation of the play to the cinema.


Taking into consideration the quality of actors’ work, it should be noticed that the style of acting is a theatrical, when the actors need to seem bigger than in a real life, because they are located closely to their audience. That issue was taken as a basic rule while screening this play, but in the cinema production, another sort of requirements exists: actors need to show the lifelike picture and the main difference between the cinema and the theatre for actors is that they have to restrain themselves in their movements and actions. Only in such a case it is possible to create a lifelike picture. In A Raisin In the Sun movie it is possible to consider Poitier's work as the most extreme one as he seems to act like in the theatre, starring in this picture (Rich n.pag.).

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There are two variants of A Raisin in the Sun: the theatrical aspect at a ratio of 1.85:1 and also a full screen version. This review considers only widescreen edition. It is possible to say that there are some flaws in A Raisin in the Sun, but generally its quality, as well as its sharpness, is acceptable for a 50-year-old film.

Talking about the quality of the print, from time to time it is possible to see some mild grain and also some minor speckling. The shadow details and the black levels are acceptable during the whole picture. Generally, the quality image of the A Raisin in the Sun is its strong point, while taking in consideration the age of this movie (Jacobson n.pag.).

Film Criticism and Analysis

Generally, it is possible to say that A Raisin in the Sun is dedicated to the everyday problems of a black family of 1960s. From the other hand, the needs and values of the family may be also applied for the white American working class family. This picture is topical nowadays, because the core needs of people are still the same: willing to live in comfortable apartments, tending to get the education and the financial aspect in the family creation and planning; all this is still on the agenda for many families all over the world.

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It is possible to conclude, that the social impact of the film is high because of the main theme, outlined in the picture. To the strongest points of the film it is possible to refer the main theme, which is the burning issue for many families. Also it is important to make an emphasis that the working class people were included into the picture plot as the main heroes, and this aspect has separated the film form another nowadays movies, which collect the glamour approaches to the life and forget about the traditional family values. After watching this film, one realizes that his or her problems are common for hundreds and thousands of other families.

The only weak point of the A Raisin in the Sun is its theatrical roots. Some critics even consider this film as a photographed play. 


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