An Analysis of Beneatha Young’s Struggle With Stereotypes in the Novel A Raisin in the Sun

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Some people believe that money, family or any other importances are necessary to them. Others believe that dreams are necessary to them. In the play A Raisin in the Sun, both characters Walter and Beneatha have dreams that felt were important/necessary to them as food and shelter.

Walter Lee Younger, one of the main characters in the play, is a 35 years old man. His dream throughout the play is to own a liquor store and have enough money to support his family and even move out of the old house. However, the consequences of this dream are that the family doesn’t support it and Willie Harris, the person also helping invest in the liquior store, takes all the money and runs off. In the end, Walter lee learns that family is more important than money. However, walter’s dream also teaches the family that dreams are as necessary as food and shelter.

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Beneatha Younger, another main character in the play, is in her twenties. Her dream is to become a doctor and cure people from all over. Beneatha’s dream is also not supported by the family, instead the family wants her to marry a wealthy man and become a nurse. In the end, she decides that she is going to marry Asagai, an african man that has feelings for her and teaches her his Nigerian heritage, and moves to africa with him to study to become a doctor there.

Are dreams as necessary as food and shelter? We all have dreams we feel that are necessary. Some dreams come true and some dreams might not work. However in the end, that dream was the one thing that was necessary for people to hope and strive for. The play A Raisin in the Sun shows how these two main characters Walter lee and Beneatha, have dreams that they feel are as necessary as food and shelter. Do you think dreams are necessary?

Finally, Beneatha does something that was almost unheard of for women in the 1950’s. She questions marriage. While Ruth and Mama are talking to her, Ruth asks her “RUTH: You mean you wouldn’t marry George Murchison if he asked you someday?…’ ‘BENEATHA: No I would not marry him if all I felt for him was what I feel now…’… ‘BENEATHA: … Listen, I’m going to be a doctor. I’m not worried about who I’m going to marry yet- if i ever get married’ ‘MAMA and RUTH: If!” ( 34).

As you can see from Mama and Ruth’s reactions, it was practically insane to even think about not getting married. For Beneatha to question marriage this way, and make the proposal that she may never actually get married, shows just how much she clashes with the typical 1950’s woman. She considers rejecting the thing that was basically required of women to do back then. Even when Asagai, her Nigerian school-mate with whom she has quite the flirtationship, proposes marriage, she most definitely does not jump at the opportunity.

“‘ASAGAI: … When it is all over… come home with me… to africa’ … ‘BENEATHA: To- to Nigeria?… You’re getting me all mixed up… I don’t know what I feel about anything right this minute” ” ( 118-119). Asagai is someone who Beneatha admires and cares about very much, and if she were any other woman in that time, she probably would have said yes in a heartbeat. However, Beneatha isn’t sure she wants to get married at all, regardless of who’s asking. This is something that sets her far apart from the stereotypical women of the 1950’s.

All in all, Lorraine Hansberry does a fantastic job representing an uncommon but still existent (and ever-growing) gender dynamic in the 1950’s through the character of Beneatha Younger in A Raisin In The Sun by making her go to school, express herself, and question marriage. Beneatha represents what many people have taken decades to become, and for that, she seems out of place in the time period she was written into.

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An Analysis of Beneatha Young’s Struggle With Stereotypes in the Novel A Raisin in the Sun. (2023, Jun 17). Retrieved from

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