English Composition II
A Society Divided
Life in America was tense for African Americans in the 1950’s or 1960’s. They were not treated the same way as white people were and this created many conflicts in society. Lorraine Hansberry wrote the play, “A Raisin in the Sun” to depict the story of a black family living under these circumstances who are trying to find a way to be happy. The Younger family, including Beneatha, Lena, and Walter Younger, all had positive dreams that were taken away by the negative encironment that were surrounding them. The image of these characters created by Hansberry reflects with the history and culture focusing on African American ...view middle of the document...
They cannot afford Mama’s dream just yet. That all changed when Travis says “Yes m… ten thousand dollars” referring to the insurance check issued from the family’s deceased father. (1004) Mama was so joyful that this gave her hope. She tells Ruth “we got enough to do with that money”. (1004) With Mama’s dream being pursued, Hansberry had her her own portrayal of Mama that can blend in her personality to a very important figure in African American history such as Martin Luther King Jr.
Hansberry portrays Mama as a very deeply religious and a strong willed-person. She was fighting for what was right like she did to stay in her dream house. This can be compared to the civil rights movement where “a quarter million Americans….marched from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial” that led up to Martin Luther King Jr.’s, “I Have a dream” speech. (Muravchik) All these African Americans and their friends wanted equal rights and they were determined to get it. Their defiant spirits are just as strong as Mama’s lively spirit to tell Mr. Lindner “I am afraid you don’t understand” in expressing her views on keeping the house. (1051) Aside from Mama, her daughter, Beneatha is another character who wants to live up to her dreams.
Beneatha’s dream is to become a successful doctor that can eventually help her family’s financial problems. She shouts at the family that “I am going to be a doctor and everybody around here better understand that!” (993) She is a very intelligent young girl who is the brightest of the family. Her pursuit for knowledge is a great tool to the buildup for her dream. Unfortunately, there are conflicts to why this dream cannot meet up to its expectations.
Her dream of becoming a doctor was hindered by somebody within her family. Walter tells Mama “All of it….It all gone…” referring to Walter’s loss of the insurance money. (1040) The money was supposed to fund Beneatha’s college dream to become a doctor. It was stolen by Walter’s stupidity in handling the money. In addition to this obstacle is also the fact that Beneatha is African American and a female. It makes it harder for her to get the career she wanted given the time period. There are reasons why these points can help prove her less likely chance of her becoming a doctor.
Hansberry portrays Beneatha who can be brave and smart at times. It’s her intelligent image that sets her apart and makes her stick out from the crowd. Beneatha lived in a time where African Americans were segregated from whites. It added a tougher life on blacks. It wasn’t until in 1954, “the Brown vs. Board of Education has left a lasting impact on the way children are educated in this country.” (Shealey) This case in the Supreme Court changed the way kids would go to school with the end of segregation in schools. It would affect the way Beneatha would learn in school. The decision in the case was the “belief that African American students would receive a quality...