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THTR 2316: Dramatic Literature

This guide will help you find sources for your final research assignment.

Dozens of Directions: Which Will You Choose?

Equipped with nothing more than Dr. Stith's synopsis of A Raisin in the Sun and the play's Wikipedia page, describe some of the different ways you might approach a critical analysis of the play.


A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
This play examines a working-class African American family living in Chicago’s south side in the 1940s. The patriarch of the family has died, leaving the family with a life insurance check that can change all of their lives. Each member of the family has a different plan for the money, but Mama decides to use it as a down payment on a new home in an all-white neighborhood. The play explores themes related to race, racism, dreams, dreams deferred, family connections, dignity, pride, gender and feminism.

Your Assignment

Which elements of your play resonate with you? Which make your curious to learn more? Here are just a few directions suggested by Dr. Stith:

  • write a literary analysis of the play's themes, characters, plot, etc.
  • apply a school of criticism, e.g., feminist, Marxist, gender and queer studies
  • examine the historical or sociopolitical context in which the play was written
  • study the author's biography: research their life and career, locate personal testimony
  • investigate the production history: research adaptations and different productions over time
  • perhaps even some combination thereof!

Your task this morning: begin collecting sources for your initial annotated bibliography containing a minimum of 3 sources, and think about the contribution each source could make to your eventual research question.