A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry
(BENEATHA goes to the door and opens it as WALTER and RUTH go on with the
clowning. BENEATHA is somewhat surprised to see a quiet-looking middle-aged
white man in a business suit holding his hat and a briefcase in his hand and
consulting a small piece of paper.)
1. Uh how do you do, miss. I am looking for a Mrs. - (He looks at the slip of paper)
2. Mrs. Lena Younger? (He stops short, struck dumb at the sight of the oblivious
3. WALTER and RUTH.)
4. (Smoothing her hair with slight embarrassment) Oh yes, that's my mother.
5. Excuse me (She closes the door and turns to quiet the other two.) Ruth!
6. Brother! (Enunciating precisely but soundlessly: "There's a white man at the
7. door." They stop dancing, RUTH cuts off the phonograph, BENEATHA opens the
8. door. The man casts a curious quick glance at all of them.) Uh, come in please.
9. (Coming in) Thank you.
10. My mother isn't here just now. Is it business?
11. Yes . . . well, of a sort.
12. (Freely, the Man of the House) Have a seat. I'm Mrs. Younger's son. I look
13. after most of her business matters.
14. (RUTH and BENEATHA exchange amused glances)
15. (Regarding WALTER, and sitting) Well My name is Karl Lindner . . .
16. (Stretching out his hand) Walter Younger. This is my wife (RUTH nods
17. politely) and my sister.
18. How do you do.
19. (Amiably, as he sits himself easily on a chair, leaning forward on his knees
20. with interest and looking expectantly into the newcomer's face) What can we
21. do for you, Mr. Lindner!
22. (Some minor shuffling of the hat and briefcase on his knees) Well I am a
23. representative of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association
24. (Pointing) Why don't you sit your things on the floor?
25. Oh yes. Thank you. (He slides the briefcase and hat under the chair) And as I
26. was saying I am from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association and we
27. have had it brought to our attention at the last meeting that you people or at
28. least your mother has bought a piece of residential property at (He digs for
29. the slip of paper again) four o six Clybourne Street . . .
30. That's right. Care for something to drink? Ruth, get Mr. Lindner a beer.
31. (Upset for some reason) Oh no, really. I mean thank you very much, but no
32. thank you.
33. (Innocently) Some coffee?
34. Thank you, nothing at all.
35. (BENEATHA is watching the man carefully)
36. Well, I don't know how much you folks know about our organization. (He is a
37. gentle man; thoughtful and somewhat labored in his manner.) It is one of these
38. community organizations set up to look after oh, you know, things like block
39. upkeep and special projects and we also have what we call our New
40. Neighbors Orientation Committee . . .
41. (Drily) Yes and what do they do?
42. (Turning a little to her and then returning the main force to WALTER) Well
43. it's what you might call a sort of welcoming committee, I guess. I mean they,
44. we I'm the chairman of the committee go around and see the new people who
45. move into the neighborhood and sort of give them the lowdown on the way
46. we do things out in Clybourne Park.
47. (With appreciation of the two meanings, which escape RUTH and WALTER)
49. And we also have the category of what the association calls (He looks
50. elsewhere) uh special community problems . . .
51. Yes and what are some of those?
52. Girl, let the man talk.
53. (With understated relief.) Thank you. I would sort of like to explain this thing
54. in my own way. I mean I want to explain to you in a certain way.
55. Go ahead.
56. Yes. Well. I'm going to try to get right to the point. I'm sure we'll all appreciate
57. that in the long run.
59. Be still now!
60. Well -
61. (Still innocently) Would you like another chair - you don't look comfortable.
62. (More frustrated than annoyed) No, thank you very much. Please. Well - to get
63. right to the point I - (A great breath, and he is off at last) I am sure you people
64. must be aware of some of the incidents which have happened in various parts
65. of the city when colored people have moved into certain areas - (BENEATHA
66. exhales heavily and starts tossing a piece of fruit up and down in the air) Well -
67. because we have what I think is going to be a unique type of organization in
68. American community life - not only do we deplore that kind of thing - but we are
69. trying to do something about it. (BENEATHA stops tossing and turns with a
70. new and quizzical interest to the man) We feel - (gaining confidence in his
71. mission because of the interest in the faces of the people he is talking to) we
72. feel that most of the trouble in this world, when you come right down to it - (He
73. hits his knee for emphasis) - most of the trouble exists because people just
74. don't sit down and talk to each other.
75. (Nodding as she might in church, pleased with the remark) You can say that
76. again, mister.
77. (More encouraged by such affirmation) That we don't try hard enough in this
78. world to understand the other fellow's problem. The other guy's point of
80. Now that's right.
(BENEATHA and WALTER merely watch and listen with genuine interest)
81. Yes that's the way we feel out in Clybourne Park. And that's why I was
82. elected to come here this afternoon and talk to you people. Friendly like, you
83. know, the way people should talk to each other and see if we couldn't find
84. some way to work this thing out. As I say, the whole business is a matter of
85. caring about the other fellow. Anybody can see that you are a nice family of
86. folks, hard working and honest I'm sure. (BENEATHA frowns slightly,
87. quizzically, her head tilted regarding him) Today everybody knows what it
88. means to be on the outside of something. And of course, there is always
89. somebody who is out to take advantage of people who don't always
91. What do you mean?
92. Well you see our community is made up of people who've worked hard as the
93. dickens for years to build up that little community. They're not rich and
94. fancy people; just hard-working, honest people who don't really have much
95. but those little homes and a dream of the kind of community they want to
96. raise their children in. Now, I don't say we are perfect and there is a lot wrong
97. in some of the things they want. But you've got to admit that a man, right or
98. wrong, has the right to want to have the neighborhood he lives in a certain
99. kind of way. And at the moment the overwhelming majority of our people out
100. there feel that people get along better, take more of a common interest in
101. the life of the community, when they share a common background. I want
102. you to believe me when I tell you that race prejudice simply doesn't enter
103. into it. It is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightly or
104. wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that our Negro
105. families are happier when they live in their own communities.
106. (With a grand and bitter gesture) This, friends, is the Welcoming
108. (Dumfounded, looking at LINDNER) Is this what you came marching all the
109. way over here to tell us?
110. Well, now we've been having a fine conversation. I hope you'll hear me all
111. the way through.
112. (Tightly) Go ahead, man.
113. You see in the face of all the things I have said, we are prepared to make
114. your family a very generous offer . . .
115. Thirty pieces and not a coin less!
117. (Putting on his glasses and drawing a form out of the briefcase) Our
118. association is prepared, through the collective effort of our people, to buy
119. the house from you at a financial gain to your family.
120. Lord have mercy, ain't this the living gall!
121. All right, you through?
122. Well, I want to give you the exact terms of the financial arrangement -
123. We don't want to hear no exact terms of no arrangements. I want to know if
124. you got any more to tell us 'bout getting together?
125. (Taking off his glasses) Well I don't suppose that you feel . . .
126. Never mind how I feel - you got any more to say 'bout how people ought to
127. sit down and talk to each other? . . . Get out of my house, man.
(He turns his back and walks to the door.)
128. (Looking around at the hostile faces and reaching and assembling his hat and
129. briefcase.) Well I don't understand why you people are reacting this way.
130. What do you think you are going to gain by moving into a neighborhood
131. where you just aren't wanted and where some elements well people can get
132. awful worked up when they feel that their whole way of life and everything
133. they've ever worked for is threatened.
134. Get out.
135. (At the door, holding a small card) Well - I'm sorry it went like this.
136. Get out.
137. (Almost sadly regarding WALTER) You just can't force people to change
138. their hearts, son.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun: With Connections. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2000. Print.
The "two meanings" in the stage directions in line 47 refer to