In her classic 1959 play, A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry explores the impacts of generations of violence, exploitation, and discrimination on an African American family in Chicago’s Southside. Throughout the play, a family house plant comes to symbolize the matriarch's hopes for her children, and her ability to nourish the plant reflects on her ability to fulfil her own modest dreams and provide for the dreams of her progeny. Similarly, we see plants fulfilling the same role in another tale of American racial injustice, namely Miné Okubo’s Citizen 13660, an illustrated personal account of the artist’s experience in Japanese American concentration camps during World War II. In each of these works, cultivated greenery serves an important role for the people represented, a means of expression, an avenue for hope, and an outlet of personal freedom and autonomy.

Class Associated With Work

EN 373 American Literature


English graduate bound, French

Document Type

Scholarly Article

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