In hopes to have a career that will
In the play, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry the author illustrates that dreams serve an important psychological function and is the basis of their hope, motivation, and direction towards life, however, are oppressed by one’s own. The play, set in 1959 outlines many gender relations – principally, the rise of feminism. The author explores controversial issues like the value of marriage and gender roles for both women and men. Walter makes a bitter comment towards his sister early morning, “Who the hell told you, you had to be a doctor? If you so crazy ’bout messing ’round with sick people—then go be a nurse like other women—or just get married and be quiet ….” (1.1.1549) Her response, however, speaks well for her character “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.” (1.2.1556) Each of the Youngers takes a different attitude towards shifting gender roles, and the character’s perspectives shed light on their individual identities. Beneatha, who is said to be partly based on herself, holds the most modern views, pursuing her dream to become a doctor, a male-dominated profession at the time and telling Mama and Ruth that she isn’t concerned about marriage. Mama and Ruth are shocked hearing Beneatha because they share more traditional views on marriage and their role as women. Beneatha’s brother, Walter Lee, repeatedly criticizes his sister’s ambition to become a doctor, suggesting that she “just get married.” Beneatha’s conviction to her modernized worldview highlights the strength she holds. She desires to become a doctor and hopes to have a career that will create new beginnings for her. All in all, this was the motivation behind her actions and speech throughout the play. Adding on, by refusing to except to become the traditional, impotent housewife, she continues to challenge the stereotypical female character of the 1950s, much to Walter’s dismay. Ruth and George are in shock after seeing Beneatha’s new look. “Girl, you done lost your natural mind!? Look at your head! What have you done to your head—I mean your hair!” Beneatha replies with much ease, “Nothing—except cut it off.” (2.1.1571) Ruth further taunts her “Now that’s the truth—it’s what ain’t been done to it! You expect this boy to go out with you with your head all nappy like that?” (2.1.1571) The authors view of Beneatha and other women present a constant problem for Beneatha. The siblings constantly quarrel and fight about Beneatha’s expensive ambitions and unruly independence. The obstinate disobedience showed towards her brother throughout symbolizes her defiance of the stereotypical female character. This disobedience is looked down upon by her own family and dearest. Throughout the play, Beneatha searches for her identity by rediscovering her African roots. She wishes to distance herself from many other African- American women that fit the stereotypical appearance and to express herself as a woman of true African heritage which causes her to “naturalize” her hair. Instead of forcing her hair to conform to the style of the stereotypical female of the time, she cuts it off and declares natural is beautiful, much to the humiliation of her brother and also, George Murchison. She wants to overcome the oppression that the society has on women to look a certain way. The beauty of women is supposed to be a certain way to meet some expectation of the society in any given era. Beneatha’s motive was to overcome this thinking and the results would produce outcomes that would lead to a new direction in her life. However, her own brother created many quarrels that distanced her from her dream. At Last, Beneatha felt a need to express herself by rediscovering her roots and present herself in a certain way, in the play, and the troubles she faced entering a male-dominated profession, all, outline how her own suppressed her psychological needs. In the play, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry the author illustrates that dreams serve an important psychological function and is the basis of their hope, motivation, and direction towards life, however, are often oppressed by the society. Hansberry explores the characters of the Younger family through the use of their residency (apartment) and the time in history, the 1950’s. The family lives in a small and cramped apartment on the southside of Chicago. Each character wishes to rise above there current standard of living. In the way of doing so the head of the family, Mama purchases a house in Clybourne Park, a white neighbourhood in Chicago. Everyone is happy that they are moving into a new place until Ruth learns about the location, “Clybourne Park? Mama, there ain’t no colored people living in Clybourne Park.” (2.1.1577) Karl Lindner, the only white character within the play and a representative of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, offers to buy the Younger’s recently bought home back from them. His efforts are motivated by a desire for a very specific type of reason. He explains to the Youngers’ that white people in Clybourne Park are worried about a black family causing trouble in their neighbourhood. Thus the motive being, population control—to prevent new black neighbours from moving to the white community. This puts the hopes of the Younger family down, who thought it was time to move out of the cramped apartment, with a shared bathroom down the hall. The white folks in the society such as Lindner, divert the family in a way that a source of new beginnings in no longer available to them. This view by the Clybourne Park Improvement Association is, however, racist and demotivates the family, dreaming to change the way of living. A whole society of people that share this absurd view about the Youngers’ and many more similar families, leaves the families in an unwelcoming hostile community. Moreover, the characters are wanting to come above the idea of helping the white people of the community and create something of their own. Walter explain his job situation to Mama “A job. (Looks at her) Mama, a job? I open and close car doors all day long. I drive a white man around in his limousine and I say, “Yes, sir; no, sir; very good, sir; shall I take the Drive, sir?” Mama, that ain’t no kind of job … that ain’t nothing at all. (Very quietly) Mama, I don’t know if I can make you understand.” (1.2.1567) The play set in the 1950’s explores the idea of certain shades of people made to do specific jobs in a given time that given time of history and also talks about the African-American community essentially being “sick” of helping the white community. Walter Lee no longer wants to continue his job as a chauffeur but wants to start his own business, a liquor store. He is not able to do either of those due to his standing in society and inability to speak against it. As an African-American residing in the southside of Chicago it is difficult to do something that may exceed societal standards. He wants to invest in a liquor store, which would fulfill his dream of becoming a business owner who can support his family. Working as a chauffeur for a rich white man has got him totally dissatisfied and a sense that as a man he can never provide for his family. There’s no room for advancement, and he hates having to suck up to his boss all the time. The drive to fulfill his dream and giving a new direction to his life is suppressed by the societal views of the given era. To sum up, the location and era that Hansberry sets the play in both impacts the dreams of the Youngers’. The society plays a vital role and acts as an obstacle, driving them far from achieving their set psychological needs.