It is May of 1946 and Timmy Cleary has come home from the war to his estranged parents, John and Nettie, in the Bronx apartment where he grew up. As their reunion promises a return to life as it never was, John, giving up a lucrative business opportunity, attends a ball game with his son and grudgingly, at Timmy’s request, returns with roses for Nettie in an insincere attempt at reconciliation. Reminiscing, the three attempt to recapture the past and all it symbolizes, but the ideal is shattered amidst recriminations. The next morning Timmy announces he is leaving once again, and husband and wife must face the reality of life with only their memories.
Set on Chicago’s South Side, the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee, his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis and matriarch Lena, called Mama. When her deceased husband’s insurance money comes through, Mama dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans, however: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school.