The Younger Family In A Raisin In The Sun

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A Raisin in the sun is a play that revolves around two major themes, namely the struggle of being black and female as well as dreams, hopes and aspirations. In this essay I will discuss the restrictions that gender play in the aspirations of the women of the Younger family in Hansberry’s play.

In the play we encounter three females that form part of the Younger family. They include Lena, or Mama as she is often referred to, Beneatha and Ruth. Each of these characters play an important role in both their family structure as well as the thematic development of the play. It is important to take into consideration that the play is set in the 1950’s. The Younger females represent both the traditional and non-traditional roles of women during this
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She challenges the reader and society’s perception of the female role. As mentioned previously, during the 1950s and 1960s women were expected to find a good husband and look after domestic chores at home while raising the children. Beneatha, however has little, if any interest in doing this. Beneatha is an intellectual who aspires to be a doctor, which was a male dominated profession. She is not inclined to any domestic chore. She shocks Mama and Ruth, because not only does she consider declining an offer of marriage by wealthy George, she considers to decline marriage completely. During a conversation about her dislike of George’s rich family she tells Ruth, “Listen, I’m going to be a doctor. I’m not worried about who I’m going to marry yet – if I ever get married” (Hansberry 1985:50). Her dreams of receiving an education and becoming a doctor are threatened when Walter invests the money Mama asked him to put aside for Beneatha’s school and loses it. Even though we are left with a semi-hopeful conclusion of the play when Walter finally steps up to assume the role as head of the house resulting in the family moving to the new house, we are never informed about the outcome of Beneatha’s aspiration. Asagai’s offer to take her to Africa, does leave some hope for
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