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A Raisin in the Sun

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The Sign in Sidney Brusteins Window
The Drinking Gourd
To Be Young, Gifted and Black
Les Blancs
What Use Are Flowers?
The Movement
 

 

 
FIRST VINTAGE BOOK EDITION, DECEMBER 1994
Copyright 1958, 1986 by Robert Nemiroff, as an unpublished work Copyright 1959, 1966, 1984, 1987, 1988 by Robert Nemiroff
Introduction copyright 1987, 1988 by Robert Nemiroff
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Vintage Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally
published in hardcover in somewhat different form by Random House, Inc., New York, in 1958.
Caution: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that A Raisin in the Sun, being fully protected under the copyright Laws of the
United States of America, the British Empire, including the Dominion of Canada, and all other countries of the Universal Copyright and Berne
Conventions, is subject to royalty. All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio and
television broadcasting, and the rights of translation into foreign languages, are strictly reserved. Particular emphasis is laid on the
question of readings, permission for which must be secured in writing. All inquiries should be addressed to the William Morris Agency, 1350 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10019, authorized agents for the Estate of Lorraine Hansberry and for Robert Nemiroff, Executor.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. for permission to reprint eleven lines from Dream Deferred (Harlem) from The Panther and the Lash by Langston Hughes. Copyright
1951 by Langston Hughes. Reprinted by permission.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Hansberry, Lorraine, 19301965.
A raisin in the sun / by Lorraine Hansberry; with an introduction by Robert Nemiroff.1st Vintage Books ed.
p. cm. eISBN: 978-0-307-80744-1
1. Afro-AmericansHistory20th centuryDrama. I. Title. PS3515.A515R3 1994
812.54dc20 94-20636
 

 
v3.1
 

 
To Mama: in gratitude for the dream
 

 
What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat Or crust and sugar over Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode? LANGSTON HUGHES
 

 
INTRODUCTION by Robert Nemiroff*
This is the most complete edition of A Raisin in the Sun ever published. Like the American Playhouse production for television, it restores to the play two scenes unknown to the general public, and a number of other key scenes and passages staged for the first time in twenty-fifth anniversary revivals and, most notably, the Roundabout Theatres Kennedy Center production on which the television picture is based.
The events of every passing year add resonance to A Raisin in the Sun. It is as if history is conspiring to make the play a classic; one of a handful of great American dramas A Raisin in the Sun belongs in the inner circle, along with Death of a Salesman, Long Days Journey into Night, and The Glass Menagerie. So wrote The New York Times and the Washington Post respectively of Harold Scotts revelatory stagings for the Roundabout in which most of these elements, cut on Broadway, were restored. The unprecedented resurgence of the work (a dozen regional revivals at this writing, new publications and productions abroad, and now the television production that will be seen by millions) prompts the new edition.
Produced in 1959, the play presaged the revolution in black and womens consciousnessand the revolutionary ferment in Africathat exploded in the years following the playwrights death in 1965 to ineradicably alter the social fabric and consciousness of the nation and the world. As so many have commented lately, it did so in a manner and to an extent that few could have foreseen, for not only the
 

 
restored material, but much else that passed unnoticed in the play at the time, speaks to issues that are now inescapable: value systems of the black family; concepts of African American beauty and identity; class and generational conflicts; the relationships of husbands and wives, black men and women; the outspoken (if then yet unnamed) feminism of the daughter; and, in the penultimate scene between Beneatha and Asagai, the larger statement of the playand the ongoing struggle it portends.
Not one of the cuts, it should be emphasized, was made to dilute or censor the play or to soften its statement, for everyone in that herculean, now-legendary band that brought Raisin to Broadwayand most specifically the producer, Philip Rose, and director, Lloyd Richards believed in the importance of that statement with a degree of commitment that would have countenanced nothing of the kind. How and why, then, did the cuts come about?
The scene in which Beneatha unveils her natural haircut is an interesting example. In 1959, when the play was presented, the rich variety of Afro styles introduced in the mid-sixties had not yet arrived: the very few black women who wore their hair unstraightened cut it very short. When the hair of Diana Sands (who created the role) was cropped in this fashion, however, a few days before the opening, it was not contoured to suit her: her particular facial structure required a fuller Afro, of the sort she in fact adopted in later years. Result? Rather than vitiate the playwrights pointthe beauty of black hairthe scene was dropped.
Some cuts were similarly the result of happenstance or unpredictables of the kind that occur in any production: difficulties with a scene, the processes of actors, the dynamics of staging, etc. But most were related to the length of the play: running time. Time in the context of bringing to Broadway the first play by a black (young and
 

 
unknown) woman, to be directed, moreover, by another unknown black first, in a theater were black audiences virtually did not existand where, in the entire history of the American stage, there had never been a serious commercially successful black drama!
So unlikely did the prospects seem in that day, in fact, to all but Phil Rose and the company, that much as some expressed admiration for the play, Roses eighteen-month effort to find a co-producer to help complete the financing was turned down by virtually every established name in the business. He was joined at the last by another newcomer, David Cogan, but even with the money in hand, not a single theater owner on the Great White Way would rent to the new production! So that when the play left New York for tryoutswith a six-hundred-dollar advance in New Haven and no theater to come back tohad the script and performance been any less ready, and the response of critics and audiences any less unreserved than they proved to be, A Raisin in the Sun would never have reached Broadway.
Under these circumstances the pressures were enormous (if unspoken and rarely even acknowledged in the excitement of the work) not to press fate unduly with unnecessary risks. And the most obvious of these was the running time. It is one thing to present a four-and-a-half-hour drama by Eugene ONeill on Broadwaybut a first play (even ignoring the special features of this one) in the neighborhood of even three??? By common consensus, the need to keep the show as tight and streamlined as possible was manifest. Some thingsphilosophical flights, nuances the general audience might not understand, shadings, embellishmentswould have to be sacrificed.
At the time the cuts were made (there were also some very good ones that focused and strengthened the drama), it was assumed by all that they would in no way significantly affect or alter the statement of the play, for there is nothing
 

 
in the omitted lines that is not implicit elsewhere in, and throughout, A Raisin in the Sun. But to think this was to reckon without two factors the future would bring into play. The first was the swiftness and depth of the revolution in consciousness that was coming and the consequent, perhaps inevitable, tendency of some people to assume, because the world had changed, that any successful work which preceded the change must embody the values they had outgrown. And the second was the nature of the American audience.
James Baldwin has written that Americans suffer from an ignorance that is not only colossal, but sacred. He is referring to that apparently endless capacity we have nurtured through long years to deceive ourselves where race is concerned: the baggage of myth and preconception we carry with us that enables northerners, for example, to shield themselves from the extent and virulence of segregation in the North, so that each time an incident of violence so egregious that they cannot look past it occurs they are shocked anew, as if it had never happened before or as if the problem were largely pass. (In 1975, when the cast of Raisin, the musical, became involved in defense of a family whose home in Queens, New York City, had been fire-bombed, we learned of a 1972 City Commissioner of Human Rights Report, citing eleven cases in the last eighteen months in which minority-owned homes had been set afire or vandalized, a church had been bombed, and a school bus had been attackedin New York City!)
But Baldwin is referring also to the human capacity, where a work of art is involved, to substitute, for what the writer has written, what in our hearts we wish to believe. As Hansberry put it in response to one reviewers enthusiastic if particularly misguided praise of her play: it did not disturb the writer in the least that there is no such implication in the entire three acts. He did not need it in the
 

 
play; he had it in his head.1 Such problems did not, needless to say, stop America
from embracing A Raisin in the Sun. But it did interfere drastically, for a generation, with the way the play was interpreted and assessedand, in hindsight, it made all the more regrettable the abridgment (though without it would we even know the play today?). In a remarkable rumination on Hansberrys death, Ossie Davis (who succeeded Sidney Poitier in the role of Walter Lee) put it this way:
The play deserved all thisthe playwright deserved all this, and more. Beyond question! But I have a feeling that for all she got, Lorraine Hansberry never got all she deserved in regard to A Raisin in the Sunthat she got success, but that in her success she was cheated, both as a writer and as a Negro.
One of the biggest selling points about Raisin filling the grapevine, riding the word-of-mouth, laying the foundation for its wide, wide acceptancewas how much the Younger family was just like any other American family. Some people were ecstatic to find that it didnt really have to be about Negroes at all! It was, rather, a walking, talking, living demonstration of our mythic conviction that, underneath, all of us Americans, color-aint-got-nothing-to-do-with-it, are pretty much alike. People are just people, whoever they are; and all they want is a chance to be like other people. This uncritical assumption, sentimentally held by the audience, powerfully fixed in the character of the powerful mother with whom everybody could identify, immediately and completely, made any other questions about the Youngers, and what living in the slums of Southside Chicago had done to them, not only irrelevant and impertinent, but also disloyal because everybody who walked into the
 

 
theater saw in Lena Younger his own great American Mama. And that was decisive.2
In effect, as Davis went on to develop, white America kidnapped Mama, stole her away and used her fantasized image to avoid what was uniquely African American in the play. And what it was saying.
Thus, in many reviews (and later academic studies), the Younger familymaintained by two female domestics and a chauffeur, son of a laborer dead of a lifetime of hard labor was transformed into an acceptably middle class family. The decision to move became a desire to integrate (rather than, as Mama says simply, to find the nicest house for the least amount of money for my family. Them houses they put up for colored in them areas way out always seem to cost twice as much.).
In his A Critical Reevaluation: A Raisin in the Suns Enduring Passion, Amiri Baraka comments aptly: We missed the essence of the workthat Hansberry had created a family on the cutting edge of the same class and ideological struggles as existed in the movement itself and among the people. The Younger family is part of the black majority, and the concerns I once dismissed as middle classbuying a home and moving into white folks neighborhoodsare actually reflective of the essence of black peoples striving and the will to defeat segregation, discrimination, and national oppression. There is no such thing as a white folks neighborhood except to racists and to those submitting to racism.3
Mama herselfabout whose acceptance of her place in the society there is not a word in the play, and who, in quest of her familys survival over the soul- and body- crushing conditions of the ghetto, is prepared to defy housing-pattern taboos, threats, bombs, and God knows what elsebecame the safely conservative matriarch, upholder of the social order and proof that if one only
 

 
perseveres with faith, everything will come out right in the end and the-system-aint-so-bad-after-all. (All this, presumably, because, true to character, she speaks and thinks in the language of her generation, shares their dream of a better life and, like millions of her counterparts, takes her Christianity to heart.) At the same time, necessarily, Big Walter Youngerthe husband who reared this family with her and whose unseen presence and influence can be heard in every scenevanished from analysis.
And perhaps most ironical of all to the playwright, who had herself as a child been almost killed in such a real-life story,4 the climax of the play became, pure and simple, a happy endingdespite the fact that it leaves the Youngers on the brink of what will surely be, in their new home, at best a nightmare of uncertainty. (If he thinks thats a happy ending, said Hansberry in an interview, I invite him to come live in one of the communities where the Youngers are going!5) Which is not even to mention the fact that that little house in a blue-collar neighborhood hardly suburbia, as some have imaginedis hardly the answer to the deeper needs and inequities of race and class and sex that Walter and Beneatha have articulated.
When Lorraine Hansberry read the reviewsdelighted by the accolades, grateful for the recognition, but also deeply troubledshe decided in short order to put back many of the materials excised. She did that in the 1959 Random House edition, but faced with the actuality of a prize-winning play, she hesitated about some others which, for reasons now beside the point, had not in rehearsal come alive. She later felt, however, that the full last scene between Beneatha and Asagai (drastically cut on Broadway) and Walters bedtime scene with Travis (eliminated entirely) should be restored at the first opportunity, and this was done in the 1966 New American Library edition. As anyone who has seen the recent
 

 
productions will attest, they are among the most moving (and most applauded) moments in the play.
Because the visit of Mrs. Johnson adds the costs of another character to the cast and ten more minutes to the play, it has not been used in most revivals. But where it has been tried it has worked to solidoften hilariouseffect. It can be seen in the American Playhouse production, and is included here in any case, because it speaks to fundamental issues of the play, makes plain the reality that waits the Youngers at the curtain, and, above all, makes clear what, in the eyes of the author, Lena Youngerin her typicality within the black experiencedoes and does not represent.
Another scenethe Act I, Scene Two moment in which Beneatha observes and Travis gleefully recounts his latest adventure in the street belowmakes tangible and visceral one of the many facts of ghetto life that impel the Youngers move. As captured on television and published here for the first time, it is its own sobering comment on just how middle class a family this is.
A word about the stage and interpretive directions. These are the authors original directions combined, where meaningful to the reader,6 with the staging insights of two great directors and companies: Lloyd Richards classic staging of that now-legendary cast that first created the roles; and Harold Scotts, whose searching explorations of the text in successive revivals over many years culminating in the inspired production that broke box office records at the Kennedy Center and won ten awards for Scott and the companyhave given the fuller text, in my view, its most definitive realization to date.
Finally, a note about the American Playhouse production. Unlike the drastically cut and largely one-dimensional 1961 movie versionwhich, affecting and pioneering though it may have been, reflected little of the greatness of the original stage performancesthis new screen version is a
 

 
luminous embodiment of the stage play as reconceived, but not altered, for the camera, and is exquisitely performed. That it is, is due inextricably to producer Chiz Schultzs and director Bill Dukes unswerving commitment to the text; Harold Scotts formative work with the stage company; Dukes own fresh insights and the cinematic brilliance of his reconception and direction for the screen; and the energizing infusion into this mix of Danny Glovers classic performance as Walter Lee to Esther Rolles superlative Mama. As in the case of any production, I am apt to question a nuance here and there, and regrettably, because of a happenstance in production, the Walter- Travis scene has been omitted. But that scene will, I expect, be restored in the videocassette version of the picture, which should be available shortly. It is thus an excellent version for study.
What is for me personally, as a witness to and sometime participant in the foregoing events, most gratifying about the current revival is that today, some twenty-nine years after Lorraine Hansberry, thinking back with disbelief a few nights after the opening of Raisin, typed out these words
I had turned the last page out of the typewriter and pressed all the sheets neatly together in a pile, and gone and stretched out face down on the living room floor. I had finished a play; a play I had no reason to think or not think would ever be done; a play that I was sure no one would quite understand. 7
her play is not only being done, but that more than she had ever thought possibleand more clearly than it ever has been beforeit is being understood.
Yet one last point that I must make because it has come up so many times of late. I have been asked if I am not surprised that the play still remains so contemporary, and isnt that a sad commentary on America? It is indeed a
 

 
sad commentary, but the question also assumed something more: that it is the topicality of the plays immediate eventsi.e., the persistence of white opposition to unrestricted housing and the ugly manifestations of racism in its myriad formsthat keeps it alive. But I dont believe that such alone is what explains its vitality at all. For though the specifics of social mores and societal patterns will always change, the decline of the New England territory and the institution of the traveling salesman does not, for example, date Death of a Salesman, any more than the fact that we now recognize love (as opposed to interfamilial politics) as a legitimate basis for marriage obviates Romeo and Juliet. If we ever reach a time when the racial madness that afflicts America is at last truly behind usas obviously we must if we are to survive in a world composed four-fifths of peoples of colorthen I believe A Raisin in the Sun will remain no less pertinent. For at the deepest level it is not a specific situation but the human condition, human aspiration, and human relationshipsthe persistence of dreams, of the bonds and conflicts between men and women, parents and children, old ways and new, and the endless struggle against human oppression, whatever the forms it may take, and for individual fulfillment, recognition, and liberationthat are at the heart of such plays. It is not surprising therefore that in each generation we recognize ourselves in them anew.
Croton- on- Hudson, N.Y. October 1988
*The late ROBERT NEMIROFF, Lorraine Hansberrys literary executor, shared a working relationship with the playwright from the time of their
 

 
marriage in 1953. He was the producer and/or adapter of several of her works, including The Sign in Sidney Brusteins Window; To Be Young, Gifted and Black; and Les Blancs. In 1974, his production of the musical Raisin, based on A Raisin in the Sun, won the Tony Award for Best Musical. 1Willie Loman, Walter Younger, and He Who Must Live, Village Voice, August 12, 1959. 2The Significance of Lorraine Hansberry, Freedomways, Summer 1985. 3A Raisin in the Sun and The Sign in Sidney Brusteins Window, Vintage Books, 1995. 4Hansberry, To Be Young, Gifted and Black , New American Library, p. 51. 5Make New Sounds: Studs Terkel Interviews Lorraine Hansberry, American Theatre, November 1984. 6Much fuller directions for staging purposes are contained in the Samuel French Thirtieth Anniversary acting edition. 7To Be Young, Gifted and Black, p. 120.
 

 
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
In addition to individuals and institutions recalled above and in the American Playhouse and Broadway creditsand the many others too numerous to record who have contributed to the current revivalI wish especially to thank:
Gene Feist and Todd Haimes of the Roundabout Theatre, without whom what followed could never have been; Burt DLugoff, Howard Hausman, Alan Bomser, and Seymour Baldash, whose support and critical judgment have been invaluable; Jaki Brown, Toni Livingston, and Josephine Abady, who first dared to dream and then to break the first ground to bring Raisin to television; Esther Rolle and all in the Roundabout Raisin family whose unwavering commitment through three on- again, off-again, touch-and-go years were the rock on which the production stood; Danny Glover, whose name, alongside Ms. Rolles, made the production possible but did not prepare one for the magnificent actuality of his work; David M. Davis and Lindsay Law of American Playhouse; Ricki Franklin, Phylis Geller, and Samuel J. Paul of KCET/Los Angeles; and David Loxton and WNET/New Yorkwho extended every cooperation and maximum freedom for us to develop and produce the television production as we saw it; and Producer Chiz Schultz and co-producer Steve
 

 
Schwartz, who brought to the new incarnation not only impeccable judgment and assured expertise, but an integrity of caring dedication to the playwrights vision and text that one meets rarely, if ever, at the crossroads of art and commerce.
I regret that there is not the space to name here, too, each of the wonderful actors, understudies, designers, technicians, and staff of both the Roundabout and television productions who do not appear in the Playhouse credits, but whose contributions and spirits are joined to those of their colleagues on screen. I am indebted to them all.
And, finally, two in a place by themselves:
My wife, Jewell Handy Gresham, who has stood unbending through the worst and the best of times, providing light and unfailing inspiration to the vision we share; and Samuel Liff of the William Morris Agency, without whose personal commitment and extraordinary perseverance going far beyond the professional to a true love of theater and art, much that has happened could never have been.
R.N. 1988
 

 
Contents
Cover Other Books by This Author
Title Page Copyright
Dedication Epigraph
Introduction Acknowledgments
Act I Scene One: Friday morning.
Scene Two: The following morning.
Act II Scene One: Later, the same day.
Scene Two: Friday night, a few weeks later. Scene Three: Moving day, one week later.
Act III An hour later.
About the Author
 

 
The American Playhouse television presentation of A RAISIN IN THE SUN, broadcast on February 1, 1989, was a production of Robert Nemiroff/Jaki Brown/Toni Livingston/Josephine Abady Productions, Fireside Entertainment Corporation, and KCET/Los Angeles in association with WNET/New York.
CAST
(in order of appearance)
RUTH YOUNGER Starletta DuPois WALTER LEE YOUNGER Danny Glover TRAVIS YOUNGER Kimble Joyner BENEATHA YOUNGER Kim Yancey LENA YOUNGER Esther Rolle JOSEPH ASAGAI Lou Ferguson GEORGE MURCHISON Joseph C. Phillips MRS. JOHNSON Helen Martin KARL LINDNER John Fiedler BOBO Stephen Henderson
MOVING MEN Ron O.J. Parson, Charles Watts
Directed by Bill Duke Produced by Chiz Schultz
Executive Producer Robert Nemiroff
Co-Producer Production Design
Steven S. Schwartz Thomas Cariello
Lighting Design Costume Design
Bill Klages Celia Bryant and Judy Dearing
 

 
Bill Klages
Music Edited by Ed Bland Gary Anderson
Camerawork Greg Cook, Gregory Harms, Kenneth A. Patterson
(Based on the 25th Anniversary Stage Production Directed by Harold Scott
Produced by The Roundabout Theatre Company, Inc. [Gene Feist/Todd Haimes] and Robert Nemiroff)
Produced for American Playhouse with funds from Public Television Stations, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. American Playhouse is presented by KCET, SCETV, WGBH, and WNET; Executive Director David M. Davis, Executive Producer Lindsay Law, Director of Program Development Lynn Hols t. For KCET: Executive Producer Ricki Franklin, Supervising Producer Samuel J. Paul, Executive in Charge Phylis Geller; with additional funds from the Ambassador International Foundation. For WNET: Executive Producer David Loxton.
 

 
A RAISIN IN THE SUN was first presented by Philip Rose and David J. Cogan at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, New York City, March 11, 1959, with the following cast:
(In order of appearance)
RUTH YOUNGER Ruby Dee TRAVIS YOUNGER Glynn Turman WALTER LEE YOUNGER (BROTHER) Sidney Poitier BENEATHA YOUNGER Diana Sands LENA YOUNGER (MAMA) Claudia McNeil JOSEPH ASAGAI Ivan Dixon GEORGE MURCHISON Louis Gossett KARL LINDNER John Fiedler BOBO Lonne Elder III
MOVING MEN Ed Hall, Douglas Turner Ward
Directed by Lloyd Richards
Designed and Lighted by Ralph Alswang
Costumes by Virginia Volland
 

 
The action of the play is set in Chicagos Southside, sometime between
World War II and the present.
Act I Scene One: Friday morning.
Scene Two: The following morning.
Act II Scene One: Later, the same day.
Scene Two: Friday night, a few weeks later. Scene Three: Moving day, one week later.
Act III An hour later.
 

 
ACT I
SCENE ONE
The YOUNGER living room would be a comfortable and well-ordered room if it were not for a number of indestructible contradictions to this state of being. Its furnishings are typical and undistinguished and their primary feature now is that they have clearly had to accommodate the living of too many people for too many yearsand they are tired. Still, we can see that at some time, a time probably no longer remembered by the family (except perhaps for MAMA), the furnishings of this room were actually selected with care and love and even hopeand brought to this apartment and arranged with taste and pride.
That was a long time ago. Now the once loved pattern of the couch upholstery has to fight to show itself from under acres of crocheted doilies and couch covers which have themselves finally come to be more important than the upholstery. And here a table or a chair has been moved to disguise the worn places in the carpet; but the carpet has fought back by showing its weariness, with depressing uniformity, elsewhere on its surface.
Weariness has, in fact, won in this room. Everything has been polished, washed, sat on, used, scrubbed too often. All pretenses but living itself have long since vanished from the very atmosphere of this room.
Moreover, a section of this room, for it is not really a room unto itself, though the landlords lease would make it
 

 
seem so, slopes backward to provide a small kitchen area, where the family prepares the meals that are eaten in the living room proper, which must also serve as dining room. The single window that has been provided for these two rooms is located in this kitchen area. The sole natural light the family may enjoy in the course of a day is only that which fights its way through this little window.
At left, a door leads to a bedroom which is shared by MAMA and her daughter, BENEATHA. At right, opposite, is a second room (which in the beginning of the life of this apartment was probably a breakfast room) which serves as a bedroom for WALTER and his wife, RUTH.
Time: Sometime between World War II and the present. Place: Chicagos Southside. At Rise: It is morning dark in the living room, TRAVIS is
asleep on the make-down bed at center. An alarm clock sounds from within the bedroom at right, and presently RUTH enters from that room and closes the door behind her. She crosses sleepily toward the window. As she passes her sleeping son she reaches down and shakes him a little. At the window she raises the shade and a dusky Southside morning light comes in feebly. She fills a pot with water and puts it on to boil. She calls to the boy, between yawns, in a slightly muffled voice.
RUTH is about thirty. We can see that she was a pretty girl, even exceptionally so, but now it is apparent that life has been little that she expected, and disappointment has already begun to hang in her face. In a few years, before thirty-five even, she will be known among her people as a settled woman.
She crosses to her son and gives him a good, final, rousing shake.
RUTH Come on now, boy, its seven thirty! (Her son sits up at last, in a stupor of sleepiness) I say hurry up, Travis!
 

 
You aint the only person in the world got to use a bathroom! (The child, a sturdy, handsome little boy of ten or eleven, drags himself out of the bed and almost blindly takes his towels and todays clothes from drawers and a closet and goes out to the bathroom, which is in an outside hall and which is shared by another family or families on the same floor, RUTH crosses to the bedroom door at right and opens it and calls in to her husband) Walter Lee! Its after seven thirty! Lemme see you do some waking up in there now! (She waits) You better get up from there, man! Its after seven thirty I tell you. (She waits again) All right, you just go ahead and lay there and next thing you know Travis be finished and Mr. Johnsonll be in there and youll be fussing and cussing round here like a madman! And be late too! (She waits, at the end of patience) Walter Lee its time for you to GET UP!
(She waits another second and then starts to go into the bedroom, but is apparently satisfied that her husband has begun to get up. She stops, pulls the door to, and returns to the kitchen area. She wipes her face with a moist cloth and runs her fingers through her sleep-disheveled hair in a vain effort and ties an apron around her housecoat. The bedroom door at right opens and her husband stands in the doorway in his pajamas, which are rumpled and mismated. He is a lean, intense young man in his middle thirties, inclined to quick nervous movements and erratic speech habitsand always in his voice there is a quality of indictment)
WALTER Is he out yet? RUTH What you mean out? He aint hardly got in there good
 

 
yet. WALTER (Wandering in, still more oriented to sleep than to
a new day) Well, what was you doing all that yelling for if I cant even get in there yet? (Stopping and thinking) Check coming today?
RUTH They said Saturday and this is just Friday and I hopes to God you aint going to get up here first thing this morning and start talking to me bout no money

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