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In the Play a Raisin in the Sun

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In the play A Raisin in the Sun ,written by Lorraine Hansberry, Beneatha, a 20 year old African American woman with intellect and curiosity is frustrated as she attempts to succeed in a racist and sexist society. In the play she has to face obstacles and discrimination, but she is an educated, persistent ,independent woman. She breaks traditional expectations of going to school and pursuing her career as a doctor.

Beneatha is less tolerant of society's inequality and expectations of gender. Beneatha is planning to be a doctor and is not dependant on getting married for financial security. However, her brother Walter believes that her sister is just wasting her time by going to school. He says "If you so crazy bout messing round with sick people then go be a nurse like other women-or just get married and be quiet" (I.1.38). Walter says this to his sister wanting her to realize that women are meant only for supporting roles. Her brother's disapproval of her not wanting to get married and becoming a doctor makes Beneatha feel more desire to reach her goal and become a doctor. She wants to challenge gender stereotypes and not follow past generations. What keeps her down is economic stability.

Beneatha unfortunately is held back from her dream because of them being a low working class family. Also, society judges them based on their race and class, but her education makes her even stronger to not care what they think about her. She feels motivated to become a doctor. At the end of the play her brother Walter tells Mr. Linder proudly "Thats my sister over there and she is going to be a doctor and we are very proud" (III.148). This shows how even though they struggle economically and they're working class they are a united family who is proud that a person from their family is going to college and will fulfill her dream by virtue of her self confidence and leadership abilities. When Beneatha has risen above from her family status she will feel accomplished by the fact that she broke low expectations of an African American woman.

On the other hand Beneatha's education gives her the power to speak out for her and her family based on racial topics such as how George Murchinson treats her when she unstraightened her hair. Besides George and Ruth are surprised about what she has done. He says to her "What have you done to your head- I mean your hair"

(II.2.80) . He expects Beneatha to be like the other girls that not stand up for themselves and are not proud of their heritage.This is how race and people from from her same gender want her to adapt to their society.



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