A Raisin in the Sun

How does the apartment building itself create problems for the younger family as they begin the day?

The youngers live in the apartment.

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The furniture in the Youngers' apartment is old and worn, but clean. The pattern on the carpet is threadbare; the couch is covered with dollies. Although it is only a one-bedroom apartment, five people live there. Beneatha and Mama live in the bedroom. Walter and his wife Ruth have converted the small breakfast nook into their bedroom. Their son Travis sleeps on the sofa in the living room, which serves as the dining area in the daytime. The multiple functions of the room present a challenge for young Travis.

The apartment the Youngers live in has been relentlessly cleaned over the years. The carpet is threadbare from vacuuming; the furniture is worn from dusting; the apartment is sprayed weekly to keep roaches away. Despite their efforts, the facilities are inadequate. The apartment is overcrowded, and one small bathroom serves two large families. During this scene, Hansberry refuses to allow these inadequacies to be forgotten and fade into the background; they constantly disrupt the plot as Travis, Walter, and Beneatha carry on various conversations while keeping an eye out for the bathroom to be free.