"A Raisin in the Sun," Vocabulary from Act III

Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" from 1959 is a play about struggling to get ahead while still remaining true to yourself.

Learn these word lists: Act I, Act II, and Act III.

Activities for this list:

definitions & notes only words
  1. sullen
    showing a brooding ill humor
    At curtain, there is a sullen light of gloom in the living room.
  2. colonialism
    exploitation by a stronger country of weaker one
    Cure the Great Sore of Colonialism (Loftily, mocking it) with the Penicillin of Independence!
  3. mirage
    something illusory and unattainable
    Each of us with our own little picture in front of us our own little mirage that we think is the future.
  4. martyr
    one who suffers for the sake of principle
    Beneatha: The martyr!
  5. esteemed
    having an illustrious reputation; respected
    Perhaps I shall live to be a very old man, respected and esteemed in my new nation .
  6. rummage
    search haphazardly
    Presently Walter enters from his room and starts to rummage through things, feverishly looking for something.
  7. bourgeois
    a member of the middle class
    Monsieur le petit bourgeois noir himself!
  8. keen
    very good
    No I told him he was a sweet boy and full of dreams and everything is strictly peachy keen!
  9. elude
    be incomprehensible to
    She is lost, vague, trying to catch hold, to make some sense of her former command of the world, but it still eludes her.
  10. gait
    the rate of moving, especially walking or running
    A sense of waste overwhelms her gait; a measure of apology rides on her shoulders.
  11. mope
    be apathetic, gloomy, or dazed
    I guess we all better stop moping around and get some work done.
  12. bureau
    furniture with drawers for keeping clothes
    I seen a second-hand bureau over on Maxwell Street just the other day that could fit right there.
  13. bassinet
    a basket (usually hooded) used as a baby's bed
    (To Ruth) And you could get some nice screens to put up in your room round the baby's bassinet .
  14. scheme
    an elaborate and systematic plan of action
    He don't even count in the big scheme of things.
  15. falter
    move hesitatingly, as if about to give way
    I'm going to look that son-of-a-bitch in the eyes and say (He falters) and say, "All right, Mr. Lindner (He falters even more) that's your neighborhood out there!
  16. grovel
    show submission or fear
    (He does so; Ruth and Bennie and Mama watch him in frozen horror) "Captain, Mistuh, Bossman ( Groveling and grinning and wringing his hands in profoundly anguished imitation of the slow-witted movie stereotype) A-hee-hee-hee!
  17. epitaph
    an inscription in memory of a buried person
    You done wrote his epitaph too like the rest of the world?
    In context, this means "to write off" or "to forget about as if dead."
  18. reverie
    absentminded dreaming while awake
    Lindner (To Mama in her reverie) Then I would like to appeal to you, Mrs. Younger.
  19. hoodlum
    an aggressive and violent young criminal
    Walter Lee, fix your tie and tuck your shirt in, you look like somebody's hoodlum!
  20. nobility
    elevation of mind and exaltation of character
    (She flies to get it amid the general bustling of the family, who are deliberately trying to ignore the nobility of the past moment) You all start on down .
  21. precariously
    in a manner affording no ease or reassurance
    You ain't old enough to marry nobody (Seeing the moving men lifting one of her chairs precariously)... please handle it so we can sit in it again!
  22. loot
    informal terms for money
    You better marry yourself a man with some loot.
  23. diminish
    decrease in size, extent, or range
    (Walter and Beneatha go out yelling at each other vigorously and the anger is loud and real till their voices diminish.)

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