The Role of Women in “A Raisin in the Sun”

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun challenges the stereotype of 1950’s America as a country loaded with doting, content housewives. The ladies in this play, Mama, Ruth and Beneatha, represent three generations of black females who, in spite of their double fronted subordination, continue to dream of a better tomorrow. Although the aspirations of these women vary in subject, they all include the enhancing their roles as women, whether it be owning a house, spending for a kid’s education or attending Medical School.

For the Younger women, their dreams appear farther away than they would in the present for many women. Today, owning a home, spending for a child’s education or getting admittance to medical school is far more available than it was for these women. In the time this play is set, being a lady implies marrying young, having a low desire for higher education and keeping a home clean for the male supplier. Given that most of this play focuses around Walter Lee’s battles to prove his self-worth, it is simple to overlook thought-provoking Hansberry’s representation of ladies. As an author, Hansberry is ahead of her time, challenging an American society that is generally delighted to leave females in the cooking area.

It appears that each the Younger women have a specific advantage over Walter Lee. His goals involve schemes of generating income quickly. Walter Lee becomes so consumed with monetary wealth that he relates cash to be the service to all life’s problems. As the play advances, Walter becomes so out of touch with reality that he separates himself from his family due to the fact that of his varying moods. While Walter Lee is lost in bouts of elation and depression, it is the women in the family who should attempt and keep the family together.

Mother, Ruth and Beneatha all have really different perceptions of what it means to be a female, resulting from their generation gap and private experiences. Mom, the ruler of the household, takes a conservative view of the functions of ladies. A Christian female who values moral responsibility, she tries to keep her household from compromising their principles in order to attain. It is Mama who has the power of deciding how her spouses ten thousand dollar life insurance cheque that the other family members have actually been expecting will be spent. As the Matriarch of the family, Mom constantly appears to have the very best interests of the others in mind. A warm, supporting character who dreams of a nice home for her family to take pleasure in, Mom represents the perfect mother, bringing life to the nurturing side of females.

Ruth is a lady who is relatively neutral when it concerns the way she views her function as a female. Not as conservative as Mother and barely as radical as Beneatha, Ruth represents a neutral force in the Younger home. It is apparent from Ruth’s look that times have been hard on her, as she wears a worn out expression. Ruth carries out the standard domestic work of a female, supplementing Walter Lee’s earnings as a chauffeur by working as a cook and maid for other families. Ruth shares Mom’s enthusiasm for using the insurance coverage cash in order to secure a home of their own where she can invest as much time in the tub relaxing as she wants. Ruth is challenged with numerous internal conflicts when she discovers she is pregnant. Her relationship with Walter is becoming increasingly far-off as shown when Walter discovers that Ruth is going to have a dangerous, prohibited abortion and her husband responds “No-no-Ruth wouldn’t do that.” (75) This event proves that Ruth and Walter Lee are at the point that although married, they don’t actually understand each other anymore. Residing in such impoverished conditions has left Ruth’s maternal impulse in such a state of despondence that she would rather abort her kid than raise it in such an environment where she wouldn’t have the ability to offer all of its requirements.

Beneatha is the youngest and most radical of the Younger ladies. In A Raisin in the Sun, Beneatha represents what we today call a feminist. There is much tension in between Beneatha and her older sibling Walter, which mostly comes from the reality that Beneatha aspires to one day become a doctor. Walter is jealous of Beneatha’s education and can not comprehend why she would wish to become a physician and would not “Go be a nurse like other women.” (38) This reveals that Walter is not comfortable with a female having a higher level of education than he which he has actually old fashioned ideas of what women ought to and ought to not be. As a girl of twenty looking for her identity, Beneatha explores several kinds of self-expression which expands to all aspects of her life, consisting of the guys she dates. George Murchison and Joseph Asagai are really various guys from polar ends of the social spectrum. Both are African males with different perspectives on life. Asagai, a Nigerian, represents a connection to Beneatha’s heritage. Murchison, on the other hand, represents a black population who has been soaked up into the American culture, living for what has actually now been deemed the “American Dream.” While Murchison has what Walter dreams of: financial security, a good education and a large house, Beneatha has more connection with Asagai as it is he who is more down to earth, recognizes the struggles of Africans and wishes to enhance his country much in the same way Beneatha imagine advancing herself with a medical degree. In this way, Beneatha and Joseph are rather similar as they are looking for ways to free themselves from injustice in a world that does not yet know the value of diversity or regard for the differences of race and gender.

A Raisin in the Sun was composed in a time where it “presaged the revolution in black and females’s awareness.” (Nemiroff 5) Through Hansberry’s characters motivations and actions, it appears that a transformation is dawning in American society. A development of social awakening is happening, resulting from a climaxing unrest that could no longer be neglected, particularly by the minorities whom it affected most. Through the women in this play, we are able to vicariously live a day in the life of black women and catch a glimpse of both the difficulties and victories of their existence. Hansberry’s ordinary portrayal of these lives challenges the conventional views of womanhood by showing that ladies are just as strong as guys in difficult scenarios and can continue to dream and challenge themselves in spite of the obstacles they experience along the pathways of life.