Hansberry creates a stage that helps to illustrate this feeling of entrapment.
The lack of natural light in the apartment contributes to the sense of confinement, and the tiny amount of light that does manage to trickle into the apartment is a reminder both of the Youngers’ dreams and of the deferment of those dreams.
His dream has been deferred by his poverty and inability to find decent employment.
He attributes his lack of job prospects to racism, a claim that may be partially true but that is also a crutch.
Because all of the action of the play takes place between its walls, the Youngers’ apartment determines the play’s entire atmosphere and feel.
The residence is very small, with one window, and the Youngers—especially Walter—feel trapped within their lives, their ghetto, and their poverty.Over the course of the play, his understanding of his dream of gaining material wealth evolves, and by play’s end, it is no longer his top priority.Mama’s plant, which is weak but resilient, represents her dream of living in a bigger house with a lawn.In fact, it is the first thing that she does in the morning; thus, at the beginning of the play we see that her plant—and her dream—are of the highest importance to her.Mama admits that the plant has never had enough sunshine but still survives.As for saving her race from ignorance, Beneatha believes she can make people understand through action, but the exact course she chooses remains unclear at the end of the play.Walter dreams of becoming wealthy and providing for his family as the rich people he drives around do.Similarly, the furniture, originally chosen with pride but now old and worn, symbolizes the family itself.The Youngers are overworked and tired, and their dreams are trampled under the conditions of day-to-day existence, though they retain a core of pride that can never be entirely hidden.As in the poem Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes, Mama’s dream has sagged “like a heavy load” for her whole life, and now that the resources are available to her, she wants to drop her burden and start anew.Mama’s dream is less selfish than her son’s, and in the eyes of a virtue-seeking society, this makes her the better person.