17 April 2013
The Women of â€œA Raisin in the Sunâ€
Lorraine Hansberryâ€™s â€œA Raisin in the Sunâ€ challenges the stereotype of 1950â€™s America as a country full of doting, content housewives. The women in this play, Mama, Ruth, and Beneatha, represent 3 generations of black women, who, despite their double fronted subordination, continue to dream of a better tomorrow. Hansberry paints an impressive group portrait of the Youngers, a family composed of powerful characters that are yet, in many ways, typical in their dreams and frustrations. However, first impressions often turn out to be incorrect. As the drama continues the reader/viewer realizes that in ...view middle of the document...
When her brother invests both his and her own money poorly, she blames him and questions his manhood, however, is she even in the position to question it in the first place?
Unlike the strong-willed Beneatha, Ruth, the wife of Walter Younger, is permissive in her behavior. An individual might assume in the beginning that Ruth is a rather unimportant character and really has no influence on the familyâ€™s many different and difficult decisions. Ruth has a â€œsoftâ€ personality, she is not the aggressive or belligerent type like Beneatha but alternatively, she allows life to just â€œhappenâ€ around her. However, during the resolution, the reader/viewer realizes that Ruthâ€™s proposals, suggestions, and opinions matter and are powerful in effecting the important decisions at hand. Ruth attempts to be the voice of reason behind her husband, but as the reader/viewer can infer, Walter does not really take her suggestions to heart. â€œRuth: Lenaâ€”Iâ€™ll workâ€¦ Iâ€™ll work twenty hours a day in all the kitchens in Chicagoâ€¦ Iâ€™ll strap my baby on my back if I have to and scrub all the floors in America and wash all the sheets in America if I have toâ€”but we got to MOVE! We got to get OUT OF HERE!!â€ [Hansberry 140]. Her true feelings and personality appear fairly low-key when Mama informs the family that they may not be able to move. It is only then that she assertively expresses her views.
Another stereotypical woman in this drama is Lena â€œMamaâ€ Younger. This spirited woman seems to be the head of the household. Â A proud woman, Lena Younger does not have much material wealth, but she walks tall, exudes dignity, and carries herself, as Hansberry says, with the "noble bearing of the women of the Hereros of Southwest Africa,â€ as though she walks with a "basket or a vessel upon her head." [Hansberry39]. In the beginning, she is in charge of all decisions. As suggested by her name, Lena, her family â€œleans onâ€ or depends on her strength to replenish their own. Despite the implied backbone of Lena, the reader/viewer becomes conscious of the intense sadness and ambivalence in this main and primary character. It is revealed to the reader/viewer that Lena has lost a child in the past and also that she has recently lost her husband. â€œWalter: Have a seat. Iâ€™m Mrs. Youngerâ€™s son. I look after most of her business matters.â€ [Hansberry 114]. Due to her undisclosed distress, Lena becomes hesitant in her decision making and, briefly, the authority in the house is lost to her son, Walter. During this period in the drama, Hansberry brings to the reader/viewerâ€™s attention that Lena may be disappointed with how her family has unfolded. The reader/viewer learns that the Younger family is in no way, shape, or form how Lena had planned it out to be. When this rather â€œtouchyâ€ subject is intimated, the indubitable feelings of Lena Younger become apparent and her personality is leaked.
Beneatha and Ruth are the two characters...