Unit 4

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry


English III

Unit Length and Description:


Nine Weeks


Continuing with the theme of “The American Dream,” A Raisin in the Sun introduces the dream of equality.  Students will read nonfiction text by prominent members of the Civil Rights Movement as well as information about landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education.  Students will also analyze poetry and engage in a media study, comparing drama to film.  They will research life the 1950’s and give a presentation incorporating technology.  For the culminating writing task, students will write an argumentative essay about a societal issue that currently serves as an obstacle to “The American Dream.”




Reading Literature


RL.11-12.7: Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text.


RL.11-12.9: Demonstrate knowledge of foundational works of U.S. and world literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.


Reading Informational Texts


RI.11-12.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.


RI.11-12.8: Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions  and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).


RI.11-12.9: Analyze foundational U.S. and world documents of historical and literary significance for their themes, purposes, and rhetorical features.



W.11.12.1: Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

a.  Introduce precise, knowledgeable claim(s), establish the significance of the claim(s), distinguish the claim(s) from alternate or opposing claims, and create an organization that logically sequences claim(s), counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.

b.  Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

c.  Use words, phrases, and clauses as well as varied syntax to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims.

d.  Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

e.  Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the argument presented.




L.11.12.1: Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

a.  Apply the understanding that usage is a matter of convention, can change over time, and is sometimes contested.

b.  Resolve issues of complex or contested usage, consulting references (e.g., Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of English Usage, Garner’s Modern American Usage) as needed.


L.11.12.2: Demonstrate command of the conventions of Standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

a.  Observe hyphenation conventions.

b.  Spell correctly.


Enduring Understandings:


·        Certain literature reflects many aspects of a particular era and how the climate of that era affects “The American Dream.”


·        “The American Dream” of the 1950s, is both similar and different than “The American Dream” of today.


·        Cultural, economic, and situational obstacles can hinder a dream from materializing.


·        “The American Dream” is appealing despite the obstacles over which many must prevail because achievement equates success.


Essential Questions:


·        How does the play A Raisin in the Sun mirror the social, educational, political, and economic climate of the 1950s and how does the play illustrate the impact this climate had on African Americans’ quest for “The American Dream?”


·        How is “The American Dream” different today than it was in the 1950s?


·        What obstacles hinder a dream from materializing?


·        Given the obstacles that some Americans have to overcome, what makes “The American Dream” appealing?