Gender Issues in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou

In A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and “Phenomenal Woman” by Maya Angelou, both Hansberry and Angelou use gender to show two different perspectives women brought forth in the 1920s through the 1950s. Hansberry displays in Ruth, a woman of good faith and loyalty to her family, and Beneatha represents Maya Angelou’s phenomenal woman, a woman of poise, class, and dreams. Hansberry and Angelou use characterization, dialogue, archetype, and juxtaposition to compare and contrast a woman’s changing role in society.

There are several generations of women that reside in the Younger apartment. Hansberry uses characterization to demonstrate each generation’s different perspective of themselves as a woman. Mama is a faithful wife, who believes a woman should always listen to her husband because he is the provider for the family and the head of the household. Ruth is also characterized as a woman of good faith. She is vocal enough to tell Mama to follow her dreams, but she does not have enough self-assurance to tell herself to do the same. Beneatha is the complete antithesis of the two older Younger women. Bennie is feisty, Afrocentric, and self-righteous. “Beneatha has embraced some of the frivolous values and activities frequently associated with those American college students who are immature and pampered” (Turner). She has evolved from a woman of good faith into a woman without morals and responds to male instruction as if they were all imbeciles. While Bennie is parading around in her natural attire, George Murchison superciliously says, “Oh, don’t be so proud of yourself, Bennie—just because you look eccentric. Get dressed.”(Hansberry 984). Immediately, Bennie thrashes through Murchison with words, challenging his response to…

… middle of paper …

…ion. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2014.

Gordon, Michelle. “Somewhat Like War: the Aesthetics of Segregation, Black

Liberation, and A Raisin in the Sun.” African American Review. 42.1 (2008): 121-

33. Literature Online. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.

Hansberry, Lorraine A Raisin in the Sun. The Norton Introduction to Literature 10th ed.

New York. Wwnorton.com, 2011. 950-1021. Print

Turner, Darwin T. “Visions of Love and Manliness in a Blackening World: Dramas of

Blacks Life in 1953.” Literature Online. ProQuest, 1995. Web. 12 Feb. 2014.

ueryId=2784427541368&trailId=1438BE978C9&area=abell&forward=critref_ft#

Hit1>.

“WIC – Women’s History in America.” WIC – Women’s History in America. N.p., n.d.

Web. 10 Feb. 2014. < http://www.wic.org/misc/history.htm.>

Leave a Comment