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...
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