Beneatha's American Dream

Decent Essays
Every person who comes to America has a common motive, with underlying details causing their motives to differ. Some come to America with the hope of freedom from the difficult lives they face in their home countries, while others will arrive because of the various opportunities for success that America has to offer. But most of all, many believe the country can give them the chance to find who they are and figure out what their goals are their new life. Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun surrounds a black family in the southside of Chicago, known as the Younger’s. The play gives insight on the life of the family, and the many difficulties they face as each family member tries to achieve their American Dream. Beneatha Younger, the daughter…show more content…
She is studying to be a doctor, which is quite difficult for a young African American woman in a working class family since they can barely afford to send her to medical school. Beneatha is then confronted with two men, George Murchison, a wealthy black man, and Joseph Asagai, an intelligent African student from Nigeria. Beneatha sees who she is pressured to be through George, and what she believes she wants to be through Asagai. The American Dream for Beneatha is the search to find who she wants to be through the characters of Murchison and Asagai, in a family and world where she is expected to live and act in specific ways according to her role in society. George Murchison’s role in Beneatha’s life triggers societal expectations that are directly shown by her family, due to the fact that Murchison is a successful black man and he is respected in their community due to his wealth. Beneatha always feels…show more content…
Beneatha is intrigued by Asagai’s culture and his firm belief in his Nigerian heritage, and she somewhat longs to find this dedication and interest in her own ancestors and native culture. Asagai comes over to the house to give Beneatha authentic Nigerian robes, and the two continue to talk. Asagai helps her put on the robes and then comments saying, “You wear it well… very well… mutilated hair and all” (Lansberry 61). Beneatha is quite shocked when he says this, and responds asking, “My hair- what’s wrong with my hair?” Asagai alludes to the fact that Beneatha straightens her hair, instead of letting it be curly and crinkly as a black woman’s hair should naturally be. Beneatha’s tendency to straighten her hair elaborates on the fact that she is struggling to find her identity and camouflages any indications of her
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