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Beneatha In A Raisin In The Sun Essay

Summary: Discusses the Lorraine Hansberry play, A Raisin in the Sun. Examines evidence of feminism in the play. Analyzes the character of Beneatha and explores her high aspirations and dreams, her need to express herself, and her defiance of the stereotypical female role within America.


Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun presents evidence of the rise of feminism in the 1950-60s. "The outspoken (if then yet unnamed) feminism of the daughter" (6) is displayed throughout the play by Beneatha, the radical of the Younger family. She is the clearest example of feminism within the play with her high aspirations and dreams, her need to express herself, and her defiance of the stereotypical female role within America.

The belief that becoming a doctor in a white and male-dominated field is within her grasp as a black woman exhibits one example of Beneatha's feministic attitude within this play. By refusing to except to become the traditional, impotent housewife, she continues to challenge the stereotypical female character of the 1950s, much to her brother's dismay.

Walter Lee's chauvinistic view of Beneatha and other women presents a perpetual problem for Beneatha. The siblings constantly bicker and fight about Beneatha's expensive ambitions and unruly independence. The obstinate defiance showed towards her brother symbolizes her defiance of the stereotypical female character towards her brother, George Murchison (a love interest), and the like.

Throughout the play, Beneatha searches for her identity by rediscovering her African roots. Her wish to distance herself from the "Assimilationist Negroes" and to express herself as a woman of true African heritage causes her to "naturalize" her hair. Instead of forcing her hair to conform to the style of the stereotypical female of the time she cuts it off and declares natural is beautiful, much to the chagrin of George Murchison.

Feminism is an obvious theme within A Raisin in the Sun and Beneatha displayed traits of supporters of this social theory through her need to express herself by rediscovering her roots, her defiance of her brother and other males in the play, and her optimistic stance when facing the troubles of entering a male-dominated profession.

This section contains 311 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)

A Raisin in the Sun: The Foundation of Family Essay

1203 Words5 Pages

The idea of family is a central theme in Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun. Hansberry alludes to the Old Testament book of Ruth in her play to magnify “the value of having a home and family”(Ardolino 181). The Younger family faces hardships that in the moment seem to tear them apart from one another, but through everything, they stick together. The importance of family is amplified by the choices of Walter and Beneatha because they appear to initiate fatal cracks in the Younger family’s foundation, but Mama is the cement who encourages her family to pull together as one unit. The hardships of the family help develop a sense of unity for the Younger household.
Walter and Beneatha’s relationship is very complex. The spiraling…show more content…

Walter struggles in understanding who he needs to be for his family. He wants to take his place as the patriarch of the family, but he feels incapable of providing them with the lifestyle they deserve. This concern is always at the forefront of his mind, and it affects his attitude and outlook. The anxiety that Walter is dealing with creates confrontation with his sister. He fears that her dream will interfere with his own agenda of making a better life for his family. The severity of the tension becomes more and more apparent with Walter’s unwise investment. Walter is dealing with the burden that he has let his family down, while Beneatha is flabbergasted by the reality that her future has been snatched away from her, and she had no control over it. While reflecting on the situation, Beneatha remarks, “ I sound like a human who just had her future taken right out of my hands! While I was sleeping….things were happening in this world that directly concerned me and nobody consulted me—they just went out and did things—and changed my life” (Hansberry 3.15). Walter and Beneatha’s individual issues with the outcome of the situation cause them to find fault with one another during a time when their family needs to pull together to get through such a financial hardship. Walter is in an emotional pit; his turning to alcohol and music instead of his family for support expands the

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