The character of Beneatha Younger in A Raisin in the Sun
This book took place in the 1950s, and being a person of color at the time would mean people would treat you differently. Especially if you are a colored and female since society sees the role of the woman as a housewife that just cooks and cleans in the house until her husband comes home. The man, however, should be someone who works hard and should make most of the family’s income.
There was some discrimination in the book towards people of color. Walter is someone who tries to be the man of the house and take charge but doesn’t fully understand exactly what choices are the best to make. The family doesn’t have a lot of money and live in a cramped house. The Younger family members are all different, they have different dreams and different attitudes that hinder the chances of their dreams becoming true.
In the very beginning of the book, we’re introduced to Walter and Ruth having a conversation in the morning. Walter and Ruth were starting to argue, since Ruth didn’t really approve of his dream and kept telling him to eat his eggs, Walter got upset and came up with this whole situation about a man, and a woman not supporting the man. After Walter told Ruth this, Ruth still said, Eat your eggs, Walter, Walter yells back, DAMN MY EGGS DAMN ALL THE EGGS THAT EVER WAS! (Hansberry, 34) His dream was to one day, open his own liquor store with his friends Willy and Bobo. But since Walter is always greedy and ignorant it prevents him from achieving his dream and noticing the dreams that the rest of the family has.
Beneatha was well educated with a dream to become a doctor when she’s old enough. Walter doesn’t want Beneatha to be a doctor though, he thinks it’s a type of job a woman isn’t fit for. Walter and Beneatha often fight about the money Mama had. When Beneatha argues with Walter about the money, she says, That money belongs to Mama, Walter, and it’s for her to decide how she wants to use it.(Hansberry, 36) Beneatha and Walter’s relationship doesn’t seem like the best, and throughout the book, it tears the family apart. The reason why Beneatha wanted to become a doctor is that she wanted to cure and help people. After Beneatha tells Asagai about her friend going to the hospital, she says, That was what one person could do for another, fix him up sew up the problem, make him all right again. That was the most marvelous thing in the world? I wanted to do that. (Hansberry, 133)
Mama had her own dreams too, she wanted her own house and to have a nice garden to take care of. The money changes everyone in the family, especially Walter
since he, at the beginning of the book, was questioning Beneatha a lot if she really wanted to become a doctor because if by any chance she lost interest, more money would go to Walter. Beneatha’s dream is very important, and her way of getting ahead in the world is one of the best in the family. Walter’s dream to open a liquor store would have made him continue his bad habit of drinking with his friends Willy and Bobo.
When Beneatha does start to lose hope of her dream, is when she finds out about the loss of the money. Because of the fact that she is a female and that she is also a woman of color, people are going to try to put down this dream of Beneatha’s. This is still a time where people follow what society wants, and females as doctors didn’t seem right. Walter tried to convince Beneatha to back out of it plenty of times, he said, Have we figured out yet exactly how much medical school is going to cost? (Hasberry, 36) Walter speaks in a tone like he’s upset, since the check ten thousand dollars, a big chunk of it would be taken out for Beneatha’s medical school tuition. But even after Walter had lost all the money Beneatha still wanted to become a doctor and make her dream come true.
The best overall way to get ahead in the world would be for Beneatha to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor, it may still be in the 1950s but it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to achieve if you are determined like Beneatha. Her personality would one day help her do what she’s always wanted to do and maybe could inspire others like how she was.
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