By fruitfully symbolizing the objects in the Younger's living room and Mama's plant, Hansberry effectively exposes an African-American family's plight to triumph over racial prejudice and reach its ultimate dream: to own a house with a garden. The play begins by describing the setting of the tattered furniture and diminutive window, both symbolizing the Younger family and their sticky situation. The furniture's arrangement displays a since of "taste and pride", which the Younger family embodies. Although the furniture and the Younger family reveal pride, both "are tired". The description of the furniture clearly depicts the Younger family's ray of pride, and their exhaustion of "accommodating the living of too many people for too many years". Walter Younger chauffeurs a rich white man, resenting the fact that he, like the furniture, lived too long accommodating people when he could be fulfilling his own dream to own a business. Also, the soul window in the Younger's family represents their entrapment. The lack of natural light contributes to the Younger's feeling of despair. The thin beam of light that "fights its way" through the window illustrates a gleam of hope for the Younger's dream. Premonitions of hope, seen through the trickle of light from the window, prophesizes the possibility of the Youngers ability to achieve their goal. Mama's scrawny plant also represents the Younger family. Mama exclaims that if the "little old plant" never sees sunlight, it will not see spring again. Like the plant, the Youngers need light or hope to live. Both the plant and the Youngers experience darkness when living in the tight apartment. When the plant begins to fall apart, the Youngers undergo tribulation. The plant that "ain't never had no sunshine or nothing" applies also to the Younger family not having any hope or anything at all. As Mama fixes the plant so it will not get hurt along the way to the new house, Mama states that it expresses her. Mama, the matriarch of the family, strives to protect the family, which the plant symbolizes. The plant expresses her because it shows the family's fortitude to stay alive, even though faced with problems such as lack of sunlight. At the very end of the play, Mama does not fail to forget the plant, which shows the importance of the family, unified by overcoming obstacles of racial oppression. Now the plant can live in a garden filled with sunlight and the Youngers can live their dream.
Hansberry represents the Youngers through the setting and Mama's plant and shows how these entities correlate with the Younger's achievement of surpassing racial friction and obtaining the American dream.