Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart


  • Lorraine Hansberry: "A Raisin in the Sun" | Analyzing Theme

    In this interactive lesson, discover how literary techniques like setting, characterization, and conflict contribute to the overarching theme of a text. Through analysis of Lorraine Hansberry's iconic play A Raisin in the Sun, explore the importance of these different elements individually, then learn how each piece comes together to establish theme. 

    Grades: 6-12
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    Lorraine Hansberry | A Raisin in the Sun: Hansberry’s Writing Process

    Learn about the story behind the writing of A Raisin in the Sun in this video from the American Masters film, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, and how Hansberry’s feelings about the purpose of writing are reflected in the characters and themes in her famous Broadway play. Students also explore how the process of writing a play is different than other forms of writing, how the relationship between the playwright and director impacts production, and how writing can go beyond social commentary and become a form of activism.

    Grades: 6-12
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    Lorraine Hansberry | Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart – Writing, Politics, and Compassion

    Explore how Lorraine Hansberry’s work rests at the intersection of writing, politics, and compassion in this video from the American Masters film, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. In 1959, just weeks before A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway, Lorraine Hansberry spoke at the First Conference of Negro Writers and delivered her famous line, “One cannot live with sighted eyes and feeling heart and not know or react to the miseries which afflict this world.” Support materials include discussion questions and a handout asking students to analyze her speech.

    Grades: 6-12
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    Lorraine Hansberry | A Raisin in the Sun: Jim Crow, Home Ownership, and the American Dream

    Learn how Jim Crow laws impacted home ownership and the pursuit of the American Dream in this series of videos from the American Masters film, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. Lorraine Hansberry’s family was at the forefront of fighting segregation in Chicago in the 1940s, even taking the fight all the way to the Supreme Court. Hansberry’s famous play, A Raisin in the Sun, continues the legacy of her parents by using literature to take a stand against racial inequality and injustice.

    Support materials include discussion questions, teaching tips, and a student handout comparing the experience of Lorraine Hansberry’s family and the Younger family in A Raisin in the Sun.

    Grades: 6-12
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    Lorraine Hansberry | A Raisin in the Sun: American Dream Deferred

    In this video from the American Masters film Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, students learn how the play A Raisin in the Sun explores the impact of dreams deferred. Inspired by the famous Langston Hughes poem “Harlem,” Lorraine Hansberry brings the poem to life in the form of the Younger family in 1950s Chicago. This resource works best during a study of the play at a point when students are already familiar with the main characters and the central conflict of the story. Using discussion questions, teachings tips, and a student handout, students analyze the connections between the poem and the play.

    Grades: 6-12
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    Lorraine Hansberry | A Raisin in the Sun: Role of Women in the 1950s

    Explore the role of women in the 1950s in this video from the American Masters film, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. Incorporating footage of women in the 1950s, Lorraine Hansberry’s life, and scenes from the film version of A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry’s choices are compared to the choices of female characters in the play. Support materials include discussion questions and a handout asking students to compare the life of women today versus the 1950s.

    Grades: 6-12
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    Lorraine Hansberry | A Raisin in the Sun: Theater as Protest

    Discover how art and drama can be used to address difficult societal issues in this video from the American Masters film Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. Learn how critics and the public responded to the controversial messages about assimilation and identity in Lorraine Hansberry’s iconic play A Raisin in the Sun. Support materials include discussion questions and an activity which allows students to create works of art and take a stance on issues affecting the world today.

    Grades: 6-12
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    Lorraine Hansberry | A Raisin in the Sun: Representation in Hollywood

    Learn about the challenges of adapting a play into a screenplay in this video from the American Masters film, Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart. Hansberry wanted control over the changes made to her play for the movie version of A Raisin in the Sun, however those in Hollywood had their own ideas. This resource works best during a study of the play at a point when students are already familiar with the main characters and the central conflict of the story. Support materials include discussion questions and a handout asking students to think about stereotypes from the past and present. 

    Grades: 6-12

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