Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

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Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  Admin on Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:29 am

Write freely about your findings and observations concerning these two (500-750 words).
Due on 2/27/13.

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comparison

Post  Sophie N on Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:39 pm

To compare Betsey Brown and A Raisin in the Sun is really difficult for me because I don’t think that they are very similar. The story lines are really different. Betsey Brown is about a young girl who is just entering puberty and just starting to get to know the world around her, and have her own opinions and identity. A Raisin in the Sun is about a family, in which each member is struggling to find their role in society. Betsey Brown also comes from a well-to-do family, whereas Walter’s family struggles and works hard for everything that they own. Greer is the head of his household, he is a doctor, he puts a huge emphasis on culture, especially African culture, he loves his family more than anything, but he also wants to fight and stand up for his race. Walter isn’t really the head of his household, he however also has a dream of a better life for his race, but his feeling is different. Greer wants to fight for equality because he proclaims vehemently the might of black people. Walter mostly feels the injustice, he hates the feeling of inferiority that comes with spending his day driving white people around a town where he is not appreciated. His want to fight for civil rights is more of a fight for a personal dream compared to Greer’s fight which is a firm belief in human might. Walter does love his kid the same way that Greer loves his. I think that the main difference between the two is that Greer has authority in his household that Walter doesn’t. Greer is very clearly the head of the household, he makes decisions about money, and family, how he is going to act. Even after having been given control of some of the family’s finances, Mama is still the head of the household rather than Walter. This is the main difference between Mama and the Grandmother in Betsey Brown too. Although they mainly do the same house jobs, Mama is still the head of her household, whereas Grandmother is less so. I think that Ruth has more in common with Rose from Fences than she does with the mom from Betsey Brown because she stays home does housework for which she gets no credit, and she is always loyal to her family and tries to save her marriage. The mom in Betsey Brown loves her kids more than anything, but when she disagrees with her husband, she gets mad and leaves, and because of this it was hard for me not to see her reaction to problems as rather irresponsible and childish. I guess Beneatha is most like Betsey, but the age gap makes a big difference. They both struggle with the choice of conforming to what their worlds are telling them to be, expressing themselves, and discovering their own beliefs and what they are going to fight for in life. I must say that I really didn’t like the end of Betsey Brown, it was too abrupt and I felt like there was no point to the end of the story. I still don’t know how A Raisin in the Sun ends, the main decisions are where to live and what to do about the money Willie lost. I’d like to think that Walter is going to be strong, and rather than betraying his family in their moment of need, he will either go find Willie and retrieve their money, or he will sell the house that they just bought, and buy a new one in a neighborhood where they will be accepted. I think, and maybe it is too optimistic of me, but when Mama gave him the authority in the household it really did change him, he became a more responsible and appreciative person. I found Betsey Brown more relatable simply because I was also her age once, and I am not that much older than her now. But I find the conflict in A Raisin in the Sun really interesting, because it deals with new conflicts that I haven’t really thought about. In the end I still can’t say that I liked one more than the other, because I still think that they are just too different.

Sophie N
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  Jane W on Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:56 pm

The two articles that you gave us to read, “Color Vision and “The Short, Creative life of Lorraine Hansberry,” were each interesting and different in their own ways. In the Article “Color Vision,” it talks about Ntozake Shange and her book that we read last trimester, Betsey Brown. To begin the article Hilton Als described what I took as a personal experience, which she had about Shange. This was an unusual way to start an article and it threw me off at first, not knowing if this was a passage from one of Shange’s books, or if it were Hilton. From the beginning, anyone could tell how fascinated Hilton was with Shange. It was not even just her books or movies, but the general idea of her, and what she stands for. “We hadn’t seen a black girl’s body promoting anything since Kaili published her book of poems, in 1970, at the enviable age of nine.” After Hilton talks more about her experiences with Shange she starts to get into the factual terms. Saying when she was born, where she grew up, and dates for everything. I personally enjoyed the personal aspect of the article, and in my opinion it gives the reader a better feel of what kind of person she is, and the influence she had, and stills has on the people who reads her books and knows the stories. And to me, that is more important than all the dates, and the factual information that it shares.
The other article that we were supposed to look at was called “The short, Creative Life of Lorraine Hansberry.” This article was about Lorraine Hansberry’s life, including her book, and later movie “A Raisin in the Sun” This article, unlike the other, is mainly all fact based and not many opinions or personal stories. Something that surprised me about this article was the it said that in fact Lorraine was actually from a wealthier and educated family, which led to what we might call a more comfortable life. This surprised me because from watching “A Raisin in the Sun,” it seems very realistic in my eyes and I assumed that the movie was based on a true-ish story. However, to hear that there was not a huge struggle for money in their house, unlike the story, was interesting. Another thing I was unaware of that was sad for me to see was that she died at a very young age and it makes me wonder what other plays and pieces of writing she could have come up with if she lived a longer life.
All in all, I found both articles intriguing and thought stimulating, and I enjoyed seeing other peoples perspectives on both “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Betsey Brown”.

Jane W
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Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange

Post  Jade O on Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:01 pm

Both Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange’s lives were similar in many ways. Their books are also similar in many ways too. Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange both had 3 siblings except Hansberry was the youngest in her family and Shange was the eldest of her family. Both authors received visitors to their homes when they were younger. Hansberry and Shange were influenced by authors, poets, and musicians. These visitors included; Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, and many more people. Both of them wrote famous books/plays that became very popular and well known to many people. Shange and Hansberry both attended college but Shange graduated with honors in 1970 from the Barnard and Hansberry dropped out of the University of Wisconsin. Both Hansberry and Shange were almost killed at a relatively young age. Lorraine Hansberry grew up in a very rich environment. Her parents were both well-educated and had a lot of money. Hansberry did not like the fact that her family’s wealth separated them or made them different from the other black people who were hard working African Americans. Her family lived in Chicago in an all-white neighborhood whereas Ntozake Shange lived in St. Louis in a neighborhood where their neighbors were other well off non-whites. Hansberry’s struggles in her new home in Chicago led to her idea of writing the play A Raisin in the Sun. When she was 16 her father died from a cerebral hemorrhage. Ntozake Shange’s parents had some very specific ambitions for their daughter; all she had to do was go to school, keep her virginity, and marry a doctor. Shange made several attempts at suicide and it was discovered that she did this out of a result of a bipolar disorder. Lorraine Hansberry fell into a coma on October 20, 1964 and finally emerged from the coma. Then, cancer claimed her life and she was only 34 when she died on January 12, 1965. Shange said that “sometimes a Langston Hughes poem waz the only safe place I cd find.” Her mother used to take her to ballets (particularly when black people were in them).
The stories/plays that they wrote, “Betsey Brown,” by Ntozake Shange and “A Raisin in the Sun,” by Lorraine Hansberry, are both about black people’s lives and what happens to the characters. Betsey Brown is a young girl who is going to an all black school but is then sent to an integrated school for the first time. Ruth, Walter Lee, Beneatha, and everyone else in A Raisin in the Sun move to a new house in an all white neighborhood for the first time. Both stories are about civil rights and coming of age and taking a first step. They’re about taking risks and trying something new and, even if you are afraid, you will find the courage to take that big leap in your life. Betsey Brown is mainly about one characters life and her family is part of that but not the life the author wants you to follow. A Raisin in the Sun is about the entire family and their struggles and inner conflicts between Ruth and Walter, Beneatha and Walter, Walter and his mom, Beneatha and her mom, and many other family conflicts. Betsey and her family have inner conflicts but not as many within the family like Ruth and Walter Lee’s family. Both stories include conflict between characters, integration, and misunderstanding between Betsey and her family and Walter Lee and his. Betsey’s family does not see that she doesn’t want to be at an integrated school even though her first day went pretty well. She likes being with the people she can “relate” to (being colored) and people who understand their heritage and origin. Walter Lee does not think anyone in his family understands his dream of wanting to buy a liquor store. That is a major dream that he really wants to follow and his mom isn’t supporting it from his point of view. It makes him feel worthless and he doesn’t do anything after that, except drink. His mom still has left over money from the $10,000 check they got because of her husband’s death. She sits down with Walter and gives him $6,500. It isn’t enough to buy the liquor store but it gets him closer than where he was before. He tells him to put $3,000 in the bank for Beneatha’s medical schooling. This gives Walter confidence. His mom buys them a house in an all white neighborhood and they are packing their belongings when a white man who sounds like Piglet visits them. He is a man who helps keep the park they are going to live in working well and very friendly. He tells them in a very long and polite way that the people (whites) around the neighborhood feel that it is easier to get along with someone if they are of the same origin. So he is basically saying the whites are uncomfortable with you… GET OUT! Both of these stories are about how hard it is to integrate and how racist people can be. They are about coming of age and making the right decisions even if they are the hard decisions. Sometimes the right decision is the obvious decision but it is not always the easiest decision to make.

Jade O
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Lorraine Hansberry/ Ntozake Shange

Post  KenzieA on Tue Feb 26, 2013 8:47 pm

In the “Color Vision” the description in the first paragraph was wonderful. She talked about how she was introduced to hip and how it affected her life and the way she looked at things. The way she showed how she knew a nine-year-old girl that published a book was great. I can’t relate to this but reading it and thinking about her situations puts many scenarios in my head. The actress’s lines in paragraph two was very deep. It put words in a different way than I thought would be. Blacks in my eyes never treated each other equal or the way they should be treated. They were called names and pushed around. She speaks about how she moved to an all white school where she was harassed and attacked. She explains how she didn't show her wounds she had because she knew that would be letting her race down. This woman is very strong and holds many great perspectives. She seems to be a very visual writer. When they explain how she committed suicide many of times it got to me. You hear people talk about this but never really think of how it may affect everyone else. The beginning of Lorraine Hansberry’s story and Ntozake Shange’s story is very different. Lorraine talks about her parents and how she disliked how her money set her apart from her classmates and what she did to overcome that. Lorraine’s family moved to an all white school where she was almost killed. In many ways I don’t feel that she moved on from that but it served a major part in A Raisin in the Sun. She was part of a great time and was surrounded by many amazing artists and writers. This is how her career was started. This woman made so many changes in her and others lives. She pursued a dream that not many people could. The way she wrote is different. She quit working to focus on her writing and finish A Raisin in the Sun. The amazing and insane part of this story is how the play became famous over night and opened in Broadway because of one girl who decided to conquer her idea. The life styles of these two writers and artist are very different in how it went about. They both went through many difficult and tough times such as committing suicide or someone else in their life dying. Success was a main point throughout these stories. They both proceeded forward in their work to achieve a goal. These two women came from very different places and backgrounds. Sooner or later they got to a place where they showed their potential and got work done. Writing for me is a difficult subject. I struggle with finding words to say and how to put them. On the other hand many people out there are talented in that way. I find it interesting to read stories about people and how they moved forward with their goal. These articles were good because they were black, a different race from me. I find that interesting.

KenzieA
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  Dan H. on Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:30 pm

The articles Color Vision and The Short Creative Life of Lorraine Hansberry are about Ntozake Shange, the author of Betsey Brown, and Lorraine Hansberry, the writer of A Raisin in the Sun. One thing I found interesting about the first article, Color Vision, was Ntozake Shange’s “choreopoem” which called for “colored girls who have considered suicide.” This kind of thing seemed strange back in 1977, when a lot of things probably would have called for white people. It also surprised me to learn that Ntozake Shange had attempted suicide many, many times, by “sticking her head in an oven, drinking chemicals, slashing her wrist, O.D.ing on Valium, and driving her car into the ocean.” This was partially because of a bipolar disorder, but also because of a failed marriage. Shange had also lived a rough school life. She went to what used to be an all-white school, and was “harassed and attacked by the other students.” I never really understood why Shange found capitalization boring and stuck with a lowercase alphabet. Overall, Ntozake Shange lived a very emotional life.
Lorraine Hansberry’s life was also very emotional. She grew up in an all-white neighborhood in Chicago. “Lorraine was almost killed when a large brick smashed through the window, narrowly missed her head, and buried itself in the wall.” Despite Hansberry’s near death with the brick, her father, Carl Hansberry, gave hope to the family and to his race when he won a legal victory in the Supreme Court when the neighborhood association tried to force the Hansberry family to leave the property. Lorraine Hansberry was an amazingly persistent person; even after her father died due to cerebral hemorrhage, she kept pursuing her dreams of becoming a writer. Also, when she was diagnosed with cancer of the duodenum, she continued her work and hired a nurse so she could keep attending rehearsals. This cancer did end up killing her, and she lived a very short life, but was persistent in all thirty four years of it.
The lives of these two authors have many similarities. Both of their lives were affected by white people, as Shange went to a white school and Hansberry lived in a white neighborhood. Their novels also related not only to segregation, but to their own lives. Betsey Brown is about a black girl who goes to an all white school, and A Raisin in the Sun is about a black family that goes to an all white neighborhood. Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry also have their differences, such as how they dealt with hardship. Ntozake Shange dealt with the hardship of losing her marriage by trying to commit suicide, while Lorraine Hansberry continued her work after her father died and she was diagnosed with cancer. Lorraine Hansberry, unlike Shange, lived a very short life of 34 years, while Shange lived from 1948 to at least 1990. I feel that reading these two articles and comparing them has allowed me to look at the life of an author from multiple perspectives.

Dan H.
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Lorraine Hansberry v. Ntozake Shange

Post  Kathy N. on Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:39 pm

Lorraine Vivian Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun, was born on May 19, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois. She was the baby of the family with three older siblings. Both her parents were well educated. Her father was a real estate broker and her mother was a school teacher. Carl Hansberry, Lorraine’s father, kept a close eye on the family’s financial state which allowed for them to remain stable during the Great Depression. As many would believe, Lorraine had a decent life, especially during the Great Depression when she had money and everyone else was broke. Yet, she wasn’t happy with her family’s money because she felt like she couldn’t relate to her peers and that the money set her apart from others. She always tried to focus on the struggles of those who were less fortunate than her through her life and art.
Ntozake Shange, author of Betsey Brown, was born in Trenton, New Jersey, in 1948. She was the oldest of four children. Her father, Paul T. Williams, was a surgeon and her mother, Eloise, was a psychiatric social worker and an educator. Ntozake was brought up in a very intellectual environment due to her parent’s success. She became increasingly aware about her surroundings regarding the limits on Blacks and women in society. In 1956, she was sent to a non-segregated school in St. Louis, Missouri. She experienced extreme racism and harassment. Seeing this reality at such a young age was the real motivation behind her writing.
These two authors share a same end goal, which are these wonderful pieces of writing they wrote. Yet, their journeys through life to get to their end results were different. Lorraine Hansberry had this lavish and well-off lifestyle and she wasn’t happy with it because she felt like it set her apart from other children her age. Ntozake Shange had a high intelligence family who made her aware of the struggles people were going through at an early age. If I were in Lorraine’s shoes I might feel slightly different than she seems to. To me it seems, at least at the beginning of her life, that she doesn’t really appreciate what she does have. Rather than trying to figure out what the difference was between her family success and others family success was, she just decided to focus on all the hardships people were going through. Her writing didn’t seem like she was trying to make people aware of what was going on, but rather in a way praise it. Whereas, Ntozake Shange used her level of intelligence as a way to incorporate all the things going on around her into her writing. I also believe that showing a child all the racism, first hand, at such a young age was a bad choice on her parent’s part. It might have given her a different look at the world, but experiencing that most likely scared her. I also wonder if being the youngest or the oldest of the family has something to do with the outcomes of these two women’s lives. Lorraine was the youngest so she had the chance to see how her older siblings’ lives played out, whereas Ntozake was the oldest so her parents hadn’t been through this with other children and she had no one to guide her. Moreover, I believe Ntozakes’ take on life and the way she experienced racism was definitely a more compelling story and I had more to relate to.

Kathy M. Nowak

Kathy N.
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Response by Mattison Francis

Post  dogs on Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:40 pm

Lorraine Hansberry, she was very creative. She had a different type of "hard" life, not the sort that is directly challenging with the day to day difficulties, the type of hard that comes from being different than others. Her family was very well off, her father being very successful, made lots of money so she was in a lot better of a state than most of her schoolmates and friends that she was around every day, making her feel different. In her works she liked to focus on the types of struggles that working class people faced. Her play A Raisin in the Sun fell into this category, it also had bits and pieces in it based off of events in her own life. In 1938 when she was very young, her family moved into a nice all white neighborhood. The people that lived there hated the fact that colored people had moved in, they treated them with great hostility. Lorraine was almost killed by a brick thrown through their window and the neighborhood improvement association actually took legal action against them. Having read A Raisin in the Sun, you can most definitely relate this to what happens to the family in the book. The Mother receives a large sum of money and uses some of it to buy a house in a white neighborhood, In the book the family also has to deal with the neighborhood improvement association and some hostility. The way Lorraine incorporates parts of her life into this play just makes it seem that much more realistic.
Ntozake Shange was another phenomenal African american writer. She wrote the book Betsey Brown. Much like Lorraine, Ntozake included bits and pieces in her work that were surely based off of her own life. Ntozake grew up in a large house in a nice neighborhood for nonwhites. She was at one point moved to a formerly all white school because her parents were very for the equality of colored people and were willing to fight for it like so. In the book Betsey brown, the main character, a young girl named Betsey, grew up in a very similar, one might say identical, situation. Betsey was also moved to a dominantly white school due to her father being strongly for black rights and because both of her parents wanted her and her siblings to get the best education possible.
Both of these women grew up rather well off, having educated parents and living in nice areas and neighborhoods. Both of them wrote about families that were in similar situations to them, they based their writings somewhat off of events and parts of their lives making for very well done and realistic products. Later in life things got more different for the two. Lorraine kept writing to the very end of her life, unfortunately this was very early on seeing as she was only thirty four. Ntozake hit some trouble in and around college with relationships leading to many suicide attempts. After working pas this, she continued to write and with even more meaning and heart put into it than before. Betsey Brown and A Raisin in the Sun are very similar and equally good works, relating to their very creative authors.

Woops, this did not turn out very well. Oh well... I am looking forward to seeing the play on Thursday, I am sure it will be a good time.

dogs
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Response

Post  JamesHH on Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:45 pm

After looking through their profiles it's pretty clear to me why the works of Ntozke Shange and Lorraine Hannsbury were grouped together in Mr. Jester's class. They go so well together because their writing styles and subject matter on account of them sharing similar backgrounds and personalities, to the point where one might get the two mixed up if you weren’t paying attention. Both were members of the so-called “Talented Tenth,” Which was basically the pre-60’s black version of the one percent, except slightly less so, and without the negative connotations of being a fat, pompous, elitist. Both were heavily involved in the civil-rights movement even from a young age, with Shange being integrated into a white St. Louis school, and Hannsbury taking part in a historic court case questioning the right of a community to reject someone on the basis of race. In both cases the experience was used as the inspiration for the most well-known work that they authored. Both felt extremely passionate about racial equality and women’s rights in a very vocal way.

JamesHH
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Comparison

Post  Renée B. on Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:47 pm

Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry come from very similar backgrounds. Both had relatively well off parents, both had parents that were educated. Each household entertained famous and influential people in the black community. Infact they entertained many of the same people, including W.E.B Du Bois, and Paul Robson. They both were born with the opportunity to become someone, be someone and lead a life of ease if they so chose. All they had to do was avoid those difficult confrontations with the whites. Yet, both of them rejected the standard life of a wealth black girl in their eras. Instead they chose to focus on those less fortunate and they both chose to do it through writing.
Hansberry’s play Raisin In the Sun, written in the 1960s, tells the story of a poor black family that is offered the chance to start over when they receive a 10,000 dollar insurance check. They struggle with family problems because each person has their own idea with what to do with the money. It ends with the decision to move into a nicer neighborhood, one inhabited only by white families, even in the face of racial discrimination. Shange’s book has a similar focus; a family discovering themselves, and people taking stabs for the betterment of the black population in America. However this family is not part of the poor working class; they are instead quite wealthy and veiled from normal suffering. This changes when the children transfer to all white schools. Both of these stories center around a black family who is faced with a choice. They can fight for their race or back down and continue on with their lives. They each carry a similar message, more or less “Fight for yourself, have pride, and love and fight for your family and your race.”
Something I noted was that Shange seemed very much into inspiring her readers and giving them hope. Though she focuses on colored girls, she seems to want all of the oppressed to find hope and peace. I wondered if this was because of her own feelings of oppression, she obviously was discontent with the life presented to her. She throws of her yoke of oppression in a few ways: not using capital letters, not showing her hurts, and completely rejecting the life of a wealthy black girl. Hansberry does the same, though her ways feel more subtle. She does it by getting married, being wealthy, doing what she wants, and writing her insurgent plays. She crosses a line of success that is equal to any of her white counterparts. Perhaps even a higher degree of success because Hansberry was breaking through a tough barrier, with heavy handicaps. Being a black woman, writing about is touchy subject, in a time when both black people and women were thought of with contempt. Both Shange and Hansbury were tremendous writers who worked hard to get their ideas, anger, and beliefs out into the world.
Betsey and Ruth have similarities to Hansbury and Shange. The characters reflect their creators, they all yearn for freedom, they do whatever it is they feel they need to do to find their freedom. Though the circumstances they find themselves in are different, each one of them feels discontented with their lives and the lives of those around them.

Though Shange was equally amazing I can relate more to Hansbury and enjoyed her more.

Renée B.
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Post response

Post  Calvin L on Tue Feb 26, 2013 11:52 pm

One thing I noticed right off the bat after having read about both Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hannsbury is that they both grew up in rather decent conditions considering they were African Americans in that time period. Both of them had a lot of exposure to famous Black artists and activists at a young age which is probably a reason behind why they went on to becomes famous black artists themselves. Along with that they both incorporated a lot of their own lives in the books that they both respectively wrote so that you can even tell what were the similarities when you read their biographies. Shange lived in the city of St. Loius just like Betsey Brown does in the book that she later wrote, in addition to that, she and Betsey also had problems with going to a newly integrated school and having to deal with the whites there and Shange seems to have also had some of the same issues Betsey had with not fitting in. Lorraine also grew up in very similar conditions as the characters in her book but at the same time it was also a very different situation for her. In the book "A Raisin in the Sun" the characters that were previously poor buy a house in a white neighborhood and soon thereafter get asked by a neighborhood association to move out of the neighborhood. This is very similar to what happened to Lorraine except that she was born into a rather wealthy family and didn't have all the problems that her characters did. Nevertheless, she still had to undergo hostility from the whites in the neighborhood she moved to and deal with their own neighborhood association trying to remove them, in the end though they won a court case and were allowed to stay. Another similarity between Lorraine's life and the life of her characters is that she too had a sudden source of money which allowed her to fulfill her dreams, unlike what I have seen of "A Raisin in the Sun" so far though, her dream actually worked out in the end.

Since this is about writing freely about my observations I would also like to point out Shange's very unique writing style. She chose not to write using capital letters simply because she found that they were a "boring" thing. What she also did was when she wrote she emulated the black dialect in writing form instead of writing the full words out like some people do. The fact that she has such a unique style that works just goes to show how she was an amazing writer for her time and showed to many people that blacks and women could be successful through their own devices as well.
Something Lorraine had to show was incredible commitment to what she did and that she truly loved writing and making plays. Her first job after she dropped out of college was writing for a political magazine but that didn't really let her reach her full potential. After a while though he husband made $100,000 from having been a writer for a song that soon became very famous. Since they were quite wealthy after that she decided to put all of her time into doing her own writing. She then started writing the play "A Raisin in the Sun" which became a huge success and she later wrote a screenplay for people to read. Even though she could have stopped working at this point she kept on writing and even when she was diagnosed with cancer at an early age she still went through with working on her plays until she died at the young age of 34.

Calvin L
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  Ben P. on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:09 am

Although both books are very different but they do have some similarities. They are both black families but they have different backgrounds. The Brown family has money and a big family. The other family has no money and a small family. There are so many ways both of these families are different but the similarity is that they both have to deal with inequality. White people have both made them have hard times but these families end stepping up to them living the life they want. The Brown family goes to an all white school and the family in Raisin in the Sun make a hard decision to live in an all white neighborhood even though they would have gotten money for moving out of it. I think that my favorite of the two is definitely Raisin in the Sun because the author really showed the emotions of each character throughout the book so well. It was also very sad and had more conflicts and honestly I think the Brown family had it easy compared to the family in Raisin in the Sun. Being so poor and so cramped in one space, only being able to dream knowing the fact that it will not come true. There was so much sadness that I thought there would be an awful ending but at the very last second things turn around and the family begin to realize the important things in life.
What made it hard for the Brown family was that they had such a big family but they had more things to back them up with money. The kids have problems because there is so many of them and there is only three adults. One of the adults however in my opinion is no help at all. The grandmother has seemed to cause trouble for the parents always undermining their authority and her negative attitude being around a lot of the time. She always had something against the father and never learned to accept him. This really concerns me though because the husband has learned to tolerate her but the wife cannot seem to do anything to change her mothers ways. The important thing is that despite the chaos of the house they still love and have not given up on eachother. The family in Raisin in the Sun all undermines each other though. Once something comes up another thing appears and it starts this chaos because they can never finish the first problem they started. Although Raisin in the Sun is my favorite I really enjoyed Betsy Brown.

Ben P.
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  Cward on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:12 am

Conor Ward 2/27/13
Mr. Jester, English I Author reflection
When reading both of these authors bio’s its shocking the different points of views each got, Ntozake Shang was a black girl from what seemed a middle class family. While Lorraine Hansberry was a wealthy white girl with influential parents and people all around her.
Even though from different back grounds they both end up expressing the black culture. I do find it interesting how Hansberry a girl who wanted to be more connected with blacks wrote about their struggles, while Ntozake a black girl wrote a book on not only the struggles but to me constantly tried to make the point that blacks have the same issues as any other person. It shows just how similar they think yet how different they are. Then I also notice how both of their stories have a past event or theme that relates to their childhood. For example the theme in Betsy Brown is a coming of age and in a way how a woman should act and from her bio it seems like she was exposed to that idealism as a child. Then Hansberry represents a recreation of when the black family in A Raisin in the Sun is told to leave their new home because they are black and I assume they will win the legal battle like her father did. Unfortunately both these fantastic writers had a sad life or tragic ending, Ntozake was bipolar and suicidal and didn't get proper care primarily because she was black, and Hansberry ended up having cancer, and died shortly after her coma.
Now the two stories they wrote other than dealing with race are completely different I mean one is in the eyes of a wealthy black child and the other a poor black family facing all the odds. Now my personal thought is that there is more meaning in A Raisin in the Sun but the message is so different you cant really say but either way they both can teach us more than we know and are quite enjoyable.

Cward
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Lorraine Hansberry/Ntozake Shange reaction

Post  Tommy J. on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:20 am

Throughout the time spent in trimester two looking at Ntozake Shange, Lorraine Hansberry, and the books/plays they have written, I have noticed quite a few things about these individuals. The first thing I noticed is that they both put their own lives into what they write. The first example of this would be Lorraine Hansberry’s playbook, “A Raisin in the Sun” in this book, a very hectic Chicagoan family living in a crowded house gets a check for ten thousand dollars. Walter, the man of the house, wishes to use this money to invest in a liquor store while his sister, Beneatha, wishes to invest the money into her education to becoming a doctor, while their mom, known as Mama in the play, wants to put at least a portion of the money on a down payment on a house large enough for the whole family. Mama ends up using a portion of this money to do this, and she purchases a house located in a predominately white community where the welcoming committee wishes to push the family back out. This relates to the life of Lorraine because when Hansberry was eight, her own father bought a house in all-white neighborhood in Chicago. The family was welcomed by violence and anger. Ntozake Shange’s story “Betsey Brown” also seemed to have been inspired by events in her own life, as her and Betsey both spent their “coming of age” years growing up in St. Louis. Both Betsey and Ntozake had a surgeon dad, and they lived among other successful black families. Both families focus on bettering the african race, and went through the integration of schools.

These two creative writers grew up with many similarities.Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry both grew up in fairly privileged lifestyles for African-American families, and this seemed to contribute to the success they had in later life, as they were put into a position where they could achieve great success. Both writers faced near death experiences whether it be an angry neighbor chucking a brick at Lorraine Hansberry’s head, or Shange’s countless attempts at suicide. and this seemed to contribute to the success they had in later life, as they were put into a position where they could achieve great success. Both Hansberry and Shange wrote things that impacted many people, as within four years, Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” play went from a completed draft to a film, attracting audiences both black and white. Shange’s writings seemed to attract the interest of many young African-American girls, and inspired them to speak loud enough to be heard. Both of these women were activists in some way, as Shange focused on the rising feminist acts that took place in the 50’s and 60’s, and Hansberry published articles in a political newspaper.With their similarities, Shange and Hansberry were also different in many ways. These two women both had extremely different personas,as Hansberry was very scholarly in her methods of writing and Shange just sort of wrote things how she thought they should sound and disregarded capitalization. It seems like Hansberry was cursed with a life cut way too short, while Shange was blessed with a long, fruitful life that she originally did not want when she was younger.

Both of these women are very inspiring, and became successful quickly despite being the wrong color and gender of this time period, and enrolling in a profession that is rocky at best when it comes to being a life supporting job. Through determination, rebellion, and creativity, these women made it, and that should be inspiring to anyone, even your common middle class white male, because these women did very great things within the first forty years of their lives that most aspiring writers will probably never achieve, and they faced plenty adversity, even if they were pretty privileged.

Tommy J.
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adios friends

Post  v.gray on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:46 am

Something that I like a lot about Lorraine Hansberry is that she seemed really open minded compared to a lot of people of her time, considering she was born and raised around the nineteen thirties which was a time period that held a lot of prejudiced unless you were a white male. While watching and reading A Raisin in the Sun I was surprised to see topics such as atheism and feminism pop up. She probably had a unique/ different view on a lot of things considering not a lot of people were in her position as a wealthy African american- which also led to fairly unique hardships in it's own right. THis is something Ntozake Shange had in common with her: an easier lifestyle than most of the people of their race. Both of them had a better chance of getting into the world and expressing themselves considering their upbringing hadn't complacently knocked all of the hope from their soul quite yet. Both of them were exposed to great accomplished blacks growing up. But that doesn't mean that they did't face hardships as well. Being black people in any class didn't stop the segregation and ill treatment that they faced. Personally I find it really hard to relate to either of them- and even if I did I would feel pretty badly considering nothing I've lived through is at the intensity of the things they have seen.
I feel like perhaps since they didn't fit in with the poor majority of their race and their didn't fit in with the wealthy people of their status because of their color hansberry and Shange might have felt pretty out of place a lot of times in life. Shange going to a white school and Hansberry a white neighborhood. Wow, it's pretty funny and I just realized this- but the stories/ plays they wrote reflected their experiences at least somewhat.
Shange went to an integrated school, and in Betsy brown she wrote about a black wealthy family who's children were enrolled in an integrated school.
Hansberry writes about a family who comes into some money and then buys a house in an all white neighborhood.
Something really interesting to me about shange was her suicide attempts. I do not feel that I can speak for her personally but it makes me feel like she was so fed up with the world she was living in- it all felt so hopeless and unchanging to her she didn't want to last a second longer on the planet. But in later life she actually did make at least a small impact as a writer and maybe in that a social rights activist, considering she's still known and talked about today. I think maybe that sends a message that if you're really at rock bottom- ready to throw your life into the garbage, then there is nowhere you can go but up.
Overall I admire the creativity of both of them, and I'm glad they made it to the position that they did.

thi s is not too good but im just going to leave it here because school is important yeh aight bed for me

v.gray
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Hannsbury/Shange Response

Post  Camden G on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:54 am

As the reader, I felt like their styles of writing were similar but were equally different. While Shange wrote about a family trying to cope with the onset of integration, Hannsbury wrote about a pre-integration family that was trying to make their general quality of life better. Each author was highly intelligent in the subjects, thoughts, and feelings that were expressed in their respective characters in each of their unique situations. Hannsbury’s choice to write about a family who was struggling to make it day to day in Chicago was a polar opposite to the fairly posh life that the main characters in Shange’s book lived. Hannsbury did not live in a situation like the characters in her Raisin In The Sun. However, the actions of the protagonists in Raisin In The Sun closely mirrored those of her own family in the nineteen forties. Shange did something similar in that her characters were upper middle class residents much like her own family. Each author wrote in a context that in some way or another reflected the lives they lived as children. However, their subject material of choice was something that they lived in small or nonexistent amounts. Hannsbury never struggled to make it from day to day as a child (although her family did suffer some racial discrimination). Shange was a member of an upper middle class family and her family did have to endure integration during the fifties. I would like to point out that Raisin In The Sun did debut on Broadway in the late fifties followed by Shange’s Betsey Brown in the middle of the eighties. There is the possibility that Shange received the inspiration for her book from Hannsbury’s play. Maybe it did maybe it didn’t, but I just wanted to point that out in case someone didn’t pick up on that. I personally thought that Raisin In The Sun was by far the better of the two works because everything for this family was hanging by a single thread. The Youngers were waiting like mad for a ten thousand dollar check (the modern equivalent to approximately one hundred fifty thousand dollars). The check was the result of the father of the main character, Walter, dying and leaving behind insurance money. While Walter wanted to invest it all in starting a liquor store, his mother who was the head of the family, said that he couldn’t. Long story short, Walter was left to manage the money that was left after his mother bought a house and squandered it all to a white collar thief. With the family held by the strength of that one little piece of paper, something was bound to go wrong. All in all, both stories were good in their own accord, but with Raisin In The Sun being the better of the two. Betsey Brown was an equally good novel, but there was nothing about it that made it seem like the families whole way of life was in jeopardy. That was the only downfall to Shange’s style that I noticed.

Camden G
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  Alex B. on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:12 am

Alexandria Blake
English
Period 6
2-27-13
Article post

The articles “The Color Vision” and “The Short, Creative Life of Lorraine Hansberry” are very entertaining. The articles tell about the two authors Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry. Ntozake Shange is the writer of Betsey Brown while Lorraine Hansberry is the writer of A raisin in the Sun. Both of the article contain facts about the authors lives.
“The Color Vision” article explains the life of Ntozake Shange. The article tells how Shange lived in a big house, went to a ivy school like all of her three siblings, and how she was brought up during the time of the Cold War. In “The Short, Creative Life of Lorraine Hansberry” article then you learn about some of Lorraine’s child hood memories.
While Lorraine was young many important events occurred. In the year 1944 she won her first literary based prize. She got this prize for a short story she had written about football. It also tells how during Lorraine’s young teens, year 1946, her father passed away. Even though this was a hard time for her she enrolled into the University of Wisconsin, an ivy league school, two years later.
Since both of the author went to ivy league schools this was something Lorraine and Ntozake had in common with one another, which they had many things in common. Both of the ladies were authors, went to ivy league schools, both had three siblings, wrote for a magazine at some point in their lives, and both of the women got a piece of there work published. One of the most important items that they have in common is that they were both brought up during the Cold War. This was important because it gave them a common event that could inspire there writing, both in styles and subject.
Even though they had many things in common there was also main items that separated the two authors. One of these item was were they grew up. Ntozake Shange grew up in St. Louis while Lorraine Hansberry grew up in Chicago. This was an important fact of there lives because environment effect how people can view the world. Therefore since the two authors had different environments then their surrounds had different effects on the authors. Also a difference between the two was that Lorraine Hansberry wrote mostly about the struggling and less privileged then her type, while Ntozake Shange wrote about issues relating to race and feminisms.
Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange have both many mutual things and many differences, which is not only shown though their works but also shown though these two articles “The Color Vision” and “The Short, Creative Life of Lorraine Hansberry.” Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry both gave great piece of literary work to the world. Their works, Betsey Brown and A Raisin in the Sun, are so creative and entertaining that they are still appreciated today. These two authors, Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry, have given such great works to the world in their short amount of time who knows what greatness would have come if they were able to have had lived longer lives.

Alex B.
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Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hannsbury Comparison

Post  Dash G on Wed Feb 27, 2013 1:53 am

The first commonality that struck me between these authors was their remarkably fortunate upbringings. For each a large emphasis on education was present in the households and ample funds for whatever they may choose to pursue academically. For both this immersion was made accessible and required by their parents however neither were professionally involved in literature. Despite this due to each author's fathers, being a businessman for Lorraine and a surgeon for Ntozake, having high paying sustainable jobs they were able to find their own path to literature through inspiration from others. This leads to the second quality that played a large factor in deciding the path each would take to become involved in writing, their direct interaction with incredibly influential successful black intellectuals such as W.E.B. Du Bois who surprisingly met both of them at young ages. This contact with someone who embodied what they could envision as their own success stories can be shown as an obvious motivation and push towards writing especially when introduced at a young age.
Where Ntozake and Lorraine's stories begin to differ is their initial reaction to the extraordinary amount of privilege they received and how it was reflected in their writing. For Lorraine unlike one would expect she used her privileged childhood, which partially allowed for her ability to have large literary success, to spread a story through A Raisin in the Sun about a family struggling financially and perhaps even help give insight into the difficulties of raising a family in a difficult economic climate. Ntozake on the other hand in Betsey Brown uses her experiences to tell a fairly unique story about growing up in a mixed family living in a large house with substantial wealth in a predominately white neighborhood which was extremely uncommon for the time.
Another shared characteristic was how large a role real events in the authors lives played in their writing. For each their time spent living in an area surrounded by mostly white families took on some form in their writing. Lorraine had an experience almost identical to the one in A Raisin in the Sun where she lived in a white neighborhood and the improvement association attempted to make them leave in an extremely hostile manner which eventually led to a legal battle that ruled in her families favor. For Ntozake her early life almost directly translated to the experiences mentioned growing up as Betsey Brown did and also had a number of conflicts with teachers over important black political activists like Malcolm X. She also may have felt some of the early confusion and hatred towards whites early in her life as well as the need to become better acquainted with her race such as was portrayed by Betsey Brown's character with actions such as the side walk drawings.
Not only in these life aspects did the authors share qualities, but in their writing style too their can be found many similarities. For example in both A Raisin in the Sun and Betsey Brown the authors thought to maintain accuracy to the time the events took place it was necessary to use dialect that mimicked the style of speaking either one of the areas the events were located in might have used both for all races. Overall while the stories stem from very different ideas the authors share many more qualities than one would expect in both background and their unfiltered desire to write among many other personal experiences.

Dash G
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  mleighto on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:33 am

When reading these articles I tried to keep an open mind, I wanted to find out what I really thought. The Short, Creative Life of Lorraine Hansberry was very interesting to me. The way she disliked her family’s wealth is very curious. But, it also makes sense. Not only was she African American but she was also wealthy. It set her apart from the group she was supposed to b included in. The fact that her father bought a house in an all-white neighborhood reminds be a lot of A Raisin in the Sun. Lorraine almost getting killed is one of the fear that the Younger family has about moving into the neighborhood and it is a valid reason. As the article said, it inspired her to write A Raisin in the Sun. Being surrounded by amazing writers and artist had to be very influential. While she didn’t like how her family was wealthy she also embraced being around so many geniuses. I think her moving to New York City, after her father’s death was a way for her to start over without having that on her shoulders so she could write and freely express herself. I have a lot of respect for her because she kept pushing through even though she was diagnosed with cancer and it shows a lot of strength. She is very inspirational. Color Vision, was also very interesting. The way it describes Ntozake Shange , she seems very free spirited. Growing up in a nonwhite, wealthy neighborhood must have given her many ideas and views about the world. Also, going to an all white school must have effected her a lot and the way she didn’t let her anger or sadness is very strong. I think this event made her a lot stronger and smarter.

mleighto
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  Lora S on Wed Feb 27, 2013 6:06 pm

There are many similarities between Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansbury. Both of their writings of which we read as a class in english were Raisin In The Sun, from Lorraine Hansberry, and Betsey Brown, from Ntozake Shange were about the troubles of racism, and family problems of a colored family in the 1950's-1960's. I feel like both of their writings also took a turn for the tragic, and were sad stories about losing hope in your family. Like in Betsey Brown, Betsey runs away because she feels left out, and Jane, her mom runs away because she is stressed. In Raisin In The Sun in the beginning Walter feels like his family doesn't love them. Another similarity though, is that they regain their hope, trust, and happiness in their family. Betsey Brown had a talk with Regina, making her decide the run away life was not for her, and that her family was where she belonged. Jane soon ends up coming back home as well, as her stress went away. In raisin in the sun, while Walter doesn't run away he claims no one understands him in that house, but finally when Mama gives him the money from his fathers life insurance to invest in a liquor store, he regains hope that his family does get him, and that they trust him. Although later on the man Walter gave the money to invest in ran away with it, it still remains as an act of trust that Mama would even give him the money. The second similarity that I see between the two stories is that both families face racial problems, and the reason they stay through them is pride. In Raisin In The Sun the family knows that sending the children to an integrated school will cause problems, but Greer, Betsey’s dad, and Jane decide that its best for the kids, and they need to stand up for something. On their first day Charlie, Betsey’s cousin is beaten up, which causes problems in the family, and in return I think is part of the reason why later on Betsey ended up writing slurs on the hopscotch blocks. But what keeps them in the integrated school is the family's pride, that they don't want to give up on this, because its their future, and Greer and Jane both believe racial equality is important. Although in Raisin In The Sun their pride isn't just for racial equality, but also Mamas late husband who had a history with racial problems and un-equality. With the insurance they get they buy a house in a white neighborhood, but the welcoming committee comes by to their old house while they are packing and asks them if they would like to sell back their old house to them for a profit, so they can “move into a home in a neighborhood more their kind” meaning a non-white neighborhood. They in the end, don't do it though. Many people would say they should have because they lost ⅓ of their money to Walters fallen-through invest. But their pride is what keeps them from doing it. They have pride in standing for what they believe, and standing for what their late father and husband believed in.

Lora S
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Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansbury Comparison

Post  Henry L. on Wed Feb 27, 2013 7:57 pm

There are many similarities between the work of Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansberry, such as their backgrounds and literary adeptness. However, they also have their differences, mainly in the way that write and portray racial inequality. In Betsey Brown, the story is mainly about Betsey, the protagonist, growing up and the things that happen to her and her chaotic family. The issue of race, although big, does not play a major role in the story. It does however, affect, in some way, almost every aspect of the book; the setting, the ideals that the characters have (especially Greer's), the things that the characters do ( such as Jane leaving because Greer wants to take the kids to protest against an anti African American demonstration), why they do them, etc., Even though the Brown family lives in the rich part of St. Louis where there isn't many other African Americans around. A Raisin in the Sun however, directly faces the issue of racism. It is portrayed by the white community's rejection of the Younger family. Originally they were going to accept the neighborhood's greeter's offer to buy back the house from them, but Walter, who had just lost almost all of the insurance money from his father's death and was the one who wanted to sell the house back, came to the realization that being a man was not just accepting what other people wanted, even if it was beneficial to you, and that it was standing up for what you believed in no matter what other people told you. This story was not just about the Younger family getting $10000 in insurance money, buying a house, losing the rest of the money, and then moving to a new home. It was about African Americans refusing to be pushed around by white people anymore and standing up for what they believe in. In the play it works out very well and their neighborhood greeter leaves defeated while the family celebrates their new home.This story is also a parallel to Lorraine Hansberry's life in many ways. In 1938 she moved to an all white neighborhood. Her neighbors were more openly hostile to her family than those of the Younger family however. Another similarity between her life and the play is the sudden windfall of money that her husband received in 1946, this is similar to the sudden insurance payment that the Younger family received from the father's death (Lorraine Hansberry's father also died). The ending of her life was not nearly as happy as the play though (which was very successful in theaters).

Henry L.
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Re: Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  jpoe on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:24 pm

Ntozake Shange/ Lorraine Hannsbury
By: Jordan Poe

With Ntozake Shange Writing the story Betsey Brown and Lorraine Hannsbury writing the play A Raisin in the Sun. The story for both is very different but have similar problems throughout both of them. The Family in Betsey Brown is very large and crazy, They all fight and love one another but the family is a LOT larger than the play A Raisin in the Sun. The problem they have in was people not understanding the main character and the family was very well off for a african american family at the time, living in a large house in a mainly white neighborhood. The father has a very good job as a doctor and the rest of the family does not really have to do much for money and they have a maid that cleans up the house for them so that is a HUGE difference because the family was made up of maids and house workers. The Betsey Brown family was the very same kind of family that the dad Walter (from A Raisin in the Sun) hated those richer black families. Betsey Brown is so used to having people to do all the clean up and always be in the house working for them, when she didn't like one of them she had them kicked out. She thought that it was all funny and cool and went to her friend to say how stupid the maid was and didn't realize that she ruined someone's job and her life for a little because she didn't like her. Both the mother and the grandma in A Raisin in the Sun both did that kind of work and could have been in the same position that the maid was in. Their family was on the shorter end of the stick of the working class african americans all living in a small house, depending on the whole family to work to pay the bills. The Brown’s were the very kind of families that employed them and kept them in their house. The most money the family ever had (from A Raisin in the Sun) was from the check that the grandma got when her husband died and it was only $10,000 and they lost if quickly after. I am pretty sure that Browns have had that kind of money before. The fathers in the stories are VERY different, even though they both love their kids to death the dad from (Raisin in the Sun) if all about money and trying to have his way and his business and his future . The dad from Betsey Brown is all about the future of the african americans and his kids lives after he is dead and gone. The families are both hard working and trying to do the best they can for everyone but really the stories and everyone in the are very different.
cat

jpoe
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Comparison Of Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hannsbury

Post  David B. on Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:25 pm

Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hansburry are both very good authors. The way they describe their story and flow through the plot is an art form which both have mastered. It is obvious to see the clear similarities which are both write about African American families and their struggles. However how are they different ? There are differences between characters and their battles, but I see the real difference in the author’s style of writing. After reading Betsy Brown and moving on to A Raisin In The Sun the first thing I noticed was that the black accent in the writing was gone. At first I was surprised. I didn’t know why we would read so many things with that accent and then it was suddenly gone, without mention. I didn’t miss it truthfully, but lately I have been thinking on why Lorraine Hansburry would make that decision. Could it be partly because it is a play and people need to be able to understand the dialogue? All in all it was the authors decision to leave that out. In addition, Lorraine Hansburry conflict was more external while Ntozake Shange’s conflict was internal. In A Raisin In The Sun, the dilemmas were easily seen. For example, the whole family and the reader could see that there was a problem with Walter. Walter would come home drunk and yell and fight with everyone else in the family. Walter seemed mentally unstable and needed to step up for his family which is a lot of the storyline. On the other hand, in Betsy Brown the conflict is mostly not discussed until something significant happens. For example, the mother Jane, has the most internal battles. She never mentions it, and when she runs away it comes as a complete shock to her family. From the book, you can see that Jane gets frustrated with more and more things. Finally she comes to her breaking point and she leaves. If Betsy Brown was a play and that happened the audience would be confused. The main difference between these authors is that one is writing for a play and the other is writing for a novel. A Raisin In The Sun would make a good novel, but it would be more forward, and a fast read. They are both suited for different audiences. Shange’s style is for one person because while you read Betsy Brown a lot of things are mentioned. From Betsy’s point of view to Jane’s frustration with her life, these things for sure would be missed in a play. In addition, In A Raisin In The Sun, the conflict is back to back. Its kind of ridiculous because as the story continues, its kind of makes the reader think that it will never end. Furthermore it makes them think that the problems will continue to get worse. Like a continuous cycle of bad luck. However, as stated before, it is just like that because in the play it needs to be jam packed to keep the audience engaged and interested. In conclusion, these authors are similar because they write about similar struggles, but that they are different because they are writing in different styles and for different audiences.

David B.
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Ntozake Shange/Lorraine Hannsberry

Post  Sadie CC on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:10 pm

Ntozake Shange and Lorraine Hannsberry are not universally, or even often associated with each other. That is not to say that they are not connected and do not work well together. Both were (are) black women who grew up in wealthy families during the civil rights movement. Both wrote plays that have a civil rights theme as well as other works of literature. However Shange views herself as a poet and her works have a attention to rhythm and the flow of words that makes her works unique. This style is especially evident in her book Sassafras Cypress and Indigo, which has a touch of surrealism that is also evident in her other, less autobiographical books. In Betsey Brown, the childish perspective lets Shange use words in a clear but still lyrical way. On the other hand, Hannsberry saw herself as an author of plays. She makes a more friction filled environment where you can feel the characters bouncing off and rubbing up against each other in a way that seems real. Her style lacks the distinct attention to the way words work lyrically that Shange has, but this makes a grittier sort of play that is more in line with how people speak.
It interested me that both of these works of literature are autobiographical to some extent. Shange grew up in a wealthy black family with her father as a doctor. She transferred to a white school when she was young and had a relatively open reception. This is very much like Betsey Brown. It also compares with Hannsberry's life. She grew up in a wealthy black family and experienced racism when her family moved into a white community that tried to throw them out. Eventually the case went to court. Although A Raisin in the Sun is based on this experience, Hannsberry changed a critical element in that the family in the play is poor, and if she had continued the play further could not have afforded the lawsuit.
One clear difference in these two authors’ works was the influence their upbringing had on the setting and the way the setting is dealt with. Shange grew up in the south and so all of her works that I have read take place in the south. Betsey Brown clearly took place in the south. We are even given a specific date, time and place. Shange decided to put her story in these places thirty years after the given date happened. A Raisin in the Sun is anything but specific in terms of dates and cities. This is probably because Shange wrote it in the fifties and as it was happening in the present it needed no context. We know A Raisin in the Sun takes place in Chicago, the same place Hannsberry grew up. However, we are told nothing about what the neighbors are like. We are, in fact, told very little about the characters lives outside the house at all. Just as we can visualize Betsey Brown because we know what happened in that time in Missouri, the people in 1959 could picture the characters from A Raisin in the Sun living in the same town as they did, in the same neighborhood, or even right next door because of its vagueness.

Sadie CC
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Comparison

Post  Hannah h on Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:51 pm

Lorraine Hansberry and Ntozake Shange both grew up in a similar life style. Although there circumstances were different they still grew up in similar ways. Lorraine Hansberry's dad was a successful accountant, real estate broker, inventor, and political activist. Due to his job/jobs he was able to keep his family prosperous. Because of her families money it led her to be led astray from her classmates, and working colored men and women. So Lorraine Hansberry dug her nose into her arts. She began to set aside her feelings and put other peoples feelings in front of hers. She put lots of thought into how other people coming rom less fortunate backgrounds felt.Like Ntozake Shange Lorraine came close to death swell when a lying brick came inches away rom hitting her in the head, and into the wall.The neighborhood comity tried their best to get the Hansberry's to move from there all white neighborhood and even brought their case to court but the Hansberry's won. In 1950 Lorraine withdrawed from school because of her lack of knowledge when it comes to math even though she did have a strong intreats in visual art, theater, literature, and politics. After that she moved to New York where she later got engaged to Robert Nemiroff in 1951. In 1956 the couple got one-hundred thousand dollars or a song Nemiroff co-wrote. In 1963 Lorraine found out she had cancer, and shortly later she was diagnosed with cancer. This did not stop her from finishing her book a A Raisin In The Sun. Lorraine went into a coma. She woke from her coma January 12, 1965. Then died at the age of thirty our. Ntozake grew up in a poor family unlike Lorraine, but they were both in away socially outcasts. Ntozake Lived mainly a segregated life with colored neighbors. Ntozake was bullied, harassed, and attacked. She did however publish some of her poetry in the school paper. Growing up watching plays on broadway, typically ones with colored people Ntozake specifies it inspired her. She found it difficult to distinguish people. She got mad. At eighteen she married anolder law student, and just as things might seem better things unraveled as she was an undergrad.As her marriage unraveled so did she Ntozake tried to commit suicide several times by sticking her head in the oven, drinking chemicals, O.D.ing on Valcium and even driving her car into an ocean. Shortly after that she was diagnose with bipolar disorder. She tried to make herself better understand how once a lonely colored girl turned into an alienated color women. Devoting herself with growing self awareness she began a feminist movement . Many didn't listen to her because they were white and Ntozake was black. So there lives are very similar in the sense i segregation which led them through sow of there same troubles.

Hannah h
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