17 April 2013
The Women of “A Raisin in the Sun”
Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” challenges the stereotype of 1950’s America as a country full of doting, content housewives. The women in this play, Mama, Ruth, and Beneatha, represent 3 generations of black women, who, despite their double fronted subordination, continue to dream of a better tomorrow. Hansberry paints an impressive group portrait of the Youngers, a family composed of powerful characters that are yet, in many ways, typical in their dreams and frustrations. However, first impressions often turn out to be incorrect. As the drama continues the reader/viewer realizes that in this play, first impressions are never completely true.
The most ferocious of the three women, Beneatha, may seem like the one with her whole life planned, but is the most confused and disoriented of the family when it comes to her identity. She envisions herself as a doctor but when talking to Asagai, her Nigerian boyfriend, she slowly begins to doubt her beliefs. Towards the beginning, she appears to be a confident young woman who is set in her ways, doesn’t need anybody telling her how to live her life, and prides herself on being independent. However, as the drama continues, she unintentionally reveals to the reader/viewer her insecurities. The reader/viewer may get the notion that she is naïve because of her goals of being a doctor and by thinking that being a doctor and healing others is going to cure the world of all of its problems.
“Asagai: ... But what does it matter? Assimilationism is so popular in your country.
Beneatha: (Wheeling, Passionately, Sharply) I am not an assimilationist!” [Hansberry 63]
Asagai, Beneatha’s Nigerian boyfriend characterizes Beneatha as being dependent rather than independent by criticizes her and brings to attention that she is relying on the insurance money from her father’s death and the investments made by her brother in order to realize her...