Pride in A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry

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Lorraine Hansberry’s play, A Raisin in the Sun, centers on an African American family in the late 1950s. Hansberry directs her work towards specifically the struggles faced by African Americans during the late 1950s. Through the dialogue and actions of her characters, she encourages not only a sense of pride in heritage, but a national and self-pride in African Americans as well. Hansberry promotes a sense of African heritage through her character, Beneatha. She characterizes Beneatha as a college student struggling to find her identity, who tries to achieve such by getting in touch with her roots. The author expresses Beneatha’s struggle with the arguments between her and the rest of her family, namely her mother, Lena. Beneatha tries to express her opinions and ideas, yet because she is the youngest in the household, she tends to feel confined and restricted. Hansberry states Beneatha’s conflict when she writes “Why? Why can’t I say what I want to around here like everybody else?” (Hansberry 39). This statement reveals how Beneatha feels as though her family lacks an understanding of her feelings as well as an appreciation of her opinion, thus leading to her feeling of needing to discover herself. Only when she begins to embrace the idea of returning to her African roots, an idea first given to her by the African exchange student, Asagai, does Beneatha’s mood appear happier and lighter. Upon Asagai’s presentation of a traditional Nigerian dress to her, Beneatha seems elated, and begins to contemplate wearing her natural hair after he comments “You wear it well—very well—mutilated hair and all” (Hansberry 48). Although, Beneatha’s happiness may in some cases be attributed to possible infatuation, Hansberry shows her true passio... ... middle of paper ... ...awjoud, Sayed. “Dreams ‘Deferred’ But Identity Affirmed and Manhood Restored: A New Look at A Raisin in the Sun”. Studies in Literature and Language. 5.3 (2012): 30-39. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. Bower, Martha Gilman. “Color Struck” Under the Gaze: Ethnicity and the Pathology of Being in the Plays of Johnson, Hurston, Childress, Hansberry, and Kennedy. Westport: Praeger, 2003. Print. Cheney, Anne. Lorraine Hansberry. New York: Twayne, 1984. Print Effiong, Philip U. In Search of a Model for African-American Drama: a Study of Selected Plays by Lorraine Hansberry, Amiri Baraka, and Ntozake Shange. Lanham: University Press of America, 2000. Print. Matthews, Kristin. “The Politics of ‘Home’ in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun.” Modern Drama. 51.4 (2008): 556-578. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Samuel French Inc, 1987. Print.

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