Essay on A Raisin Of The Sun : Film About An African American Family

A Raisin in the Sun is a 1961 film about an African-American family, the Youngers, who are learning to live and guide their way through various societal issues that surround gender roles, race, the social class system, and the economic structure within their community. The Younger family is a lower income, working class family with the opportunity for an increase in finances. Lena, the mother and grandmother, is receiving a ten thousand dollar life insurance payment due to the passing of her husband. Each family member of the Younger family is looking forward to the financial freedom or dreams renewed that the new money might bring. The film identifies key aspects that are related to money and financial gain, these key aspects include male and female gender roles and expectations, race, and social class in the African-American community.

Gender roles

One of the key aspects discussed throughout the film are gender roles for both the male and female characters. They are primarily represented through the man’s role of being the provider and the idea that he is the only one who is capable of financial knowledge, and the woman’s role as the child care taker, taking care of household duties, and working a domestic household job as a maid or nanny. In the beginning of the film, the audience learns that the Youngers are struggling to make ends meet, this is shown when the grandson, Travis, asks his mother, Ruth, for money for something to eat at school. Ruth says they don’t have the money, but the father, Walter, gives the money to Travis when he finds out Ruth said they don’t have enough money. Walter feels as the man of the household, that he is solely responsible for providing for his family. Ruth and Walter have arguments about aski…

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…ons and through her friendship with Asagai, who makes her feel as though she is connected to her African origins. In addition, George is trying to pursue a relationship with Beneatha, yet seems to believe in traditional gender roles in what he expects from a woman: “I know [you love to talk] and I don’t mind it sometimes…I want you to cut it out, see – The moody stuff, I mean. I don’t like it. You’re a nice-looking girl…all over. That’s all you need, honey, forget the atmosphere. Guys aren’t going to go for the atmosphere – they’re going to go for what they see. Be glad for that. Drop the Garbo routine. It doesn’t go with you. As for myself, I want a nice, simple, sophisticated girl… not a poet – O.K.?” (Gilbert et al., 1961). This example exemplifies why Beneatha finds George shallow and stuck in gender role stereotypes, and expects Beneatha to act accordingly.

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