|A Raisin in the Sun Support Notes
Cultural Assimilation (melting pot theory) – Giving up your individual culture and integrating with the larger community.(Ex: dress, speech, hair etc..)
Cultural Pluralism (salad bowl theory)– Different cultures can exist side by side in the same society while keeping their individual characteristics (speech, dress, hair, etc…)
Mama’s(Lena) Plant symbolizes:
Her caring nature and dreams for her family.
The plant never gets much water, sunlight or the opportunity to grow and bloom, just like the YOUNGER FAMILY.
It also represents Mama’s dream to own a little house with a garden by using her husband’s insurance money as a down payment
Mama is characterized as: the matriarch (female head of the family), strong, religious, kind-hearted, moral
Beneatha’s hair symbolizes:
When her hair is straightened (mutilated) it represents her assimilation into American culture.
After meeting Asagai, she cuts it short. It becomes natural and curly. This represents her embracing her African-heritage.
It also represents her cultural pluralistic beliefs.
Beneatha is characterized as: intellectual, well-educated, dreams of being a doctor, does not share the same religious beliefs as her mother, wants a man to appreciate her intelligence more than her beauty
Walter’s eggs symbolize:
Walter is characterized as: a dreamer, he wants to be rich through investing in a liquor store, loves his son, drinks to avoid problems in his life, works as a chauffeur although he wants to do more with his life
Characterized as: a hard worker who takes care of the tiny apartment., frustrated about living in poverty, wants to rekindle her love with her husband, pretty
The Kitchen Window Symbol:
There is only 1 window in the apartment that allows only a little of sunlight inside
This represents “the small window of opportunity” that the Younger family has to make it out of the ghetto where they currently live
The sunshine that comes in represents the little amount of hope the family has
1) Travis Younger – Walter and Ruth’s son who has to sleep on the couch b/c there is not enough room
2) Joseph Asagai – Nigerian student who is in love with Beneatha. He represents cultural pluralism because he wants to hold on to his African culture
3) George Murchison – George’s white shoes symbolize his embracing White American culture. He is rich and well educated.
4) Mr. Karl Lindner – Offers the younger family money to not move into his all white community (Clybourne Park). He tries to intimidate the family by saying that they may have problems
5) Bobo and Willy Harris – Walter’s friends whom he wants to invest into the liquor store with.
6) Mrs. Johnson – Nosy neighbor who warns the family that they may suffer harm if they move into a white community
Never give up on your dreams
A family’s love can endure hardships
Shattered dreams can be mended through perseverance
Younger family vs. Society – Black family moving into a white community
Beneatha vs. Society – Black female wants to be a doctor
Mama vs. Walter – Different ideas for insurance $
Walter vs. Willy Harris – Steals the insurance $
Beneatha vs. Self – Should she assimilate or not