The play is set in the Bronx in 1933, and the impoverished Berger family, who all live under one roof, and their conflicts as the parents scheme to manipulate their children’s relationships to their own ends, while their children strive for their own dreams. The audience is introduced to a unique family. The matriarch of the family, Bessie, had high hopes and dreams for her family; however, despite her hopefulness, her largest fear is that her family will lose their home and all their possessions. In order to ease the financial burden on the family, the Bergers have taken in an immigrant boarder, named Sam. Plus, there are other problems that the Bergers face. The Berger house is therefore divided into idealists and realists, much like society as a whole.