Raison in the Sun



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Aaron Francis

Alwin Firmansyah

Sam Lee

Raj Parekh



Tim Kamstra

Raison in the Sun

Group 7


Analysis

Characterization - Red

Marxist/Social/Cultural/Historical – Blue


ACT 1

SCENE ONE

The YOUNGER living room would be a comfortable and well-ordered room if it were not for a number of indestructible contradictions to this state of being. Its furnishings are typical and undistinguished and their primary feature now is that they have clearly had to accommodate the living of too many people for too many years and they are tired. Still, we can see that at some time, a time probably no longer remembered by the family {except perhaps for MAMA), the furnishings of this room were actually selected with care and love and even hope and brought to this apartment and arranged with taste and


pride.

That was a long time ago. Now the once loved pattern of the couch upholstery has to fight to show itself from under acres of crocheted doilies and couch covers which have themselves finally come to be more important than the upholstery. And here a table or a chair has been moved to disguise the worn places in the carpet; but the carpet has fought back by showing its weariness, with depressing uniformity, elsewhere on its surface.

Weariness has, in fact, won in this room. Everything has been polished, washed, sat on, used, scrubbed too often. All pretenses but living itself have long since vanished from the very atmosphere of this room.
Moreover, a section of this room, for it is not really a room unto itself, though the landlord's lease would make it seem so, slopes backward to provide a small kitchen area, where the family prepares the meals that are eaten in the living room proper, which must also serve as dining room. The single window that has been provided for these "two" rooms is located in this kitchen area. The sole natural light the family may enjoy in the course of a day is only that which fights its way through this little window.
At left, a door leads to a bedroom which is shared by MAMA and her daughter, BENEATHA. At right, opposite, is a second room (which in the beginning of the life of this apartment was probably a breakfast room) which serves as a bedroom for WALTER and his wife, RUTH.

Time: Sometime between World War II and the present.

Place: Chicago's Southside.

At Rise: It is morning dark in the living room. TRAVIS is asleep on the make-down bed at center. An alarm clock sounds from within the bedroom at right, and presently RUTH enters from that room and closes the door behind her. She crosses sleepily toward the window. As she passes her sleeping son she reaches down and shakes him a little. At the window she raises the shade and a dusky Southside morning light comes in feebly. She fills a pot with water and puts it on to boil. She calls to the boy, between yawns, in a slightly muffled voice.  RUTH is about thirty. We can see that she was a pretty girl, even exceptionally so, but now it is apparent that life has been little that she expected, and disappointment has already begun to hang in her face. In a few years, before thirty-five even, she will be known among her people as a "settled woman"


She crosses to her son and gives him a good, final, rousing shake.

RUTH Come on now, boy, it's seven thirty! (Her son sits up at last, in a stupor of sleepiness) I say hurry up, Travis! You ain't the only person in the world got to use a bathroom! (The child, a sturdy, handsome little boy of ten or eleven, drags himself out of the bed and almost blindly takes his towels and "today's clothes" from drawers and a closet and goes out to the bath- room, which is in an outside hall and which is shared by another family or families on the same floor.

RUTH crosses to the bedroom door at right and opens it and calls in to her husband) Walter Lee! . . . It's after seven thirty! Lemme see you do some waking up in there now! (She waits) You better get up from there, man! It's after seven thirty I tell you. (She waits again) All right, you just go ahead and lay there and next thing you know Travis be finished and Mr. Johnson'll be in there and yo.u'll be fussing and cussing round here like a madman! And be late too! (She waits, at the end of patience) Walter Lee it's time for you to GET UP! (She waits another second and then starts to go into the bedroom, but is apparently satisfied that her husband has begun to get up. She stops, pulls the door to, and returns to the kitchen area. She wipes her face with a moist cloth and runs her fingers through her sleep-disheveled hair in a vain effort and ties an apron around her housecoat. The bedroom door at right opens and her husband stands in the doorway in his pajamas, which are rumpled and mismated. He is a lean, intense young man in his middle thirties, inclined to quick nervous movements and erratic speech habits and always in his voice there is a quality of indictment)

WALTER Is he out yet?

RUTH What you mean out? He ain't hardly got in there good yet.

WALTER (Wandering in, still more oriented to sleep than to a new day) Well, what was you doing all that yelling for if I can't even get in there yet? (Stopping and thinking) Check coming today?


Walter’s life revolves around money, the first thing he says in the morning is about money.

RUTH They said Saturday and this is just Friday and I hopes to God you ain't going to get up here first thing this morning and start talking to me 'bout no money 'cause I 'bout don't want to hear it.

WALTER Something the matter with you this morning?

RUTH No I'm just sleepy as the devil. What kind of eggs you want?

WALTER Not scrambled. (RUTH starts to scramble eggs) Paper come? (RUTH points impatiently to the rolled up Tribune on the table, and he gets it and spreads it out and vaguely reads the front page) Set off another bomb yesterday.
(Historical) It shows the time and setting of when A Raisin in the Sun was written about. In this case, it shows that it is during some war possibly Korean War or the Vietnam War.

RUTH (Maximum indifference) Did they?

WALTER (Looking up) What's the matter with you?

RUTH Ain't nothing the matter with me. And don't keep asking me that this morning.

WALTER Ain't nobody bothering you. (Reading the news of the day absently again) Say Colonel McCormick is sick.
(Historical) This quote helps to show some more background of the story by providing an important historical figure within the time period.  Colonel McCormick born 1880-1955 was the owner of a prestigious Chicago Newspaper.  This section helps to narrow the bridge of the time frame in which the story is told, between 1945-1955.

RUTH (Affecting tea-party interest) Is he now? Poor thing.

WALTER (Sighing and looking at his watch) Oh, me. (He waits) Now what is that boy doing in that bathroom all this time? He just going to have to start getting up earlier. I can't be being late to work on account of him fooling around in there.

RUTH (Turning on him) Oh, no he ain't going to be getting up no earlier no such thing! It ain't his fault that he can't get to bed no earlier nights 'cause he got a bunch of crazy good-for-nothing clowns sitting up running their mouths in what is supposed to be his bedroom after ten o'clock at night . . .

WALTER That's what you mad about, ain't it? The things I want to talk about .with my friends just couldn't be important in your mind, could they?

(He rises and finds a cigarette in her handbag on the table and crosses to the little window and looks out, smoking and deeply enjoying this first one)

RUTH (Almost matter of factly, a complaint too automatic to deserve emphasis) Why you always got to smoke before you eat in the morning?

WALTER (At the window) Just look at 'em down there . . . Running and racing to work . . . (He turns andfaces his wife and watches her a moment at the stove, and then, suddenly) You look young this morning, baby.


Through this quote, we can observe some of the social and Marxist aspects of the story. Walter identifies some of the white people that are “running and racing to work”. By doing so, we can tell that white people had a strong purpose that many blacks did not have at the time. Also, there is a sense of bitterness in Walter’s voice because he also wants to have a strong purpose like the people he saw and he knows that it may be unattainable for him.

RUTH (Indifferently) Yeah?

WALTER Just for a second stirring them eggs. Just for a second it was you looked real young again. (He
reaches for her; she crosses away. Then, drily) It's gone now you look like yourself again!

RUTH Man, if you don't shut up and leave me alone.

WALTER (Looking out to the street again) First thing a man ought to learn in life is not to make love to no
colored woman first thing in the morning. You all some eeeevil people at eight o'clock in the morning.

(TRAVIS appears in the hall doorway, almost fully dressed and quite wide awake now, his towels and


pajamas across his shoulders. He opens the door and signals for his father to make the bathroom
in a hurry)

TRAVIS (Watching the bathroom) Daddy, come on! (WALTER gets his bathroom utensils and flies out


to the bathroom)

RUTH Sit down and have your breakfast, Travis.

TRAVIS Mama, this is Friday. (Gleefully) Check coming tomorrow, huh?
By Travis also bringing up the “check”, we can tell that even a child at this age has been influenced by money. (Marxist)

RUTH You get your mind off money and eat your breakfast.

TRAVIS (Eating) This is the morning we supposed to bring the fifty cents to school.

RUTH Well, I ain't got no fifty cents this morning.


TRAVIS Teacher say we have to.

RUTH I don't care what teacher say. I ain't got it. Eat your breakfast, Travis.

TRAVIS I am eating.

RUTH Hush up now and just eat!

(The boy gives her an exasperated look for her lack of understanding, and eats grudgingly)

TRAVIS You think Grandmama would have it?

RUTH No! And I want you to stop asking your grandmother for money, you hear me?

TRAVIS (Outraged) Gaaaleee! I don't ask her, she just gimme it sometimes!

RUTH Travis Willard Younger I got too much on me this morning to be

TRAVIS Maybe Daddy

RUTH Travis!

(The boy hushes abruptly. They are both quiet and tense for several seconds)

TRAVIS (Presently) Could I maybe go carry some groceries in front of the supermarket for a little while
after school then?

RUTH Just hush, I said. (Travis jabs his spoon into his cereal bowl viciously, and rests his head in anger upon his fists) If you through eating, you can get over there and make up your bed.

(The boy obeys stiffly and crosses the room, almost mechanically, to the bed and more or less
folds the bedding into a heap, then angrily gets his books and cap)

TRAVIS (Sulking and standing apart from her unnaturally) I'm gone.


The whole entire conversation that morning was about money, which goes to show that money is a social institution that dictates their life. (Marxist)

RUTH (Looking up from the stove to inspect him automatically) Come here. (He crosses to her and she


studies his head) If you don't take this comb and fix this here head, you better! (TRAVIS puts down his books with a great sigh of oppression, and crosses to the mirror. His mother mutters under her breath about his "slubbornness") 'Bout to march out of here with that head looking just like chickens slept in it! I just don't know where you get your slubborn ways . . , And get your jacket, too. Looks chilly out this morning.

TRAVIS (With conspicuously brushed hair and jacket) Im gone.

RUTH Get carfare and milk money (Waving one finger) and not a single penny for no caps, you hear me?

TRAVIS (With sullen politeness) Yes'm.

(He turns in outrage to leave. His mother -watches after him as in his frustration he approaches the
door almost comically. When she speaks to him, her voice has become a very gentle tease)

RUTH (Mocking; as she thinks he would say it) Oh, Mama makes me so mad sometimes, I don't know


what to do! (She waits and continues to his back as he stands stock-still in front of the door) I wouldn't kiss that woman good-bye for nothing in this world this morning! (The boy finally turns around and rolls his eyes at her, knowing the mood has changed and he is vindicated; he does not, however, move toward her yet) Not for nothing in this world! (She finally laughs aloud at him and holds out her arms to him and we see that it is a way between them, very old and practiced. He crosses to her and allows her to embrace him warmly but keeps his face fixed with masculine rigidity. She holds him back from her presently and looks at him and runs her fingers over the features of his face. With utter gentleness ) Now whose little old angry man are you?

TRAVIS (The masculinity and gruff ness start to jade at last) Aw gaalee Mama ...

RUTH (Mimicking) Aw gaaaaalleeeee, Mama! (She pushes him, with rough playfulness and finality, toward the door) Get on out of here or you going to be late.

TRAVIS (In the face of love, new aggressiveness) Mama, could I please go carry groceries?


(Historical, Social, Cultural) This shows that during this time period on how even through all the civil rights achievements to this point black people were still in a sense in servitude to white people. Ruth is a maid to a “white” family, Walter is a chauffeur to a “white” family, and now Travis, as a job, wants to carry groceries for “white” people.

RUTH Honey, it's starting to get so cold evenings.

WALTER (Coming in from the bathroom and drawing a make-believe gun from a make-believe holster and shooting at his son) What is it he wants to do?

RUTH Go carry groceries after school at the supermarket.


WALTER Well, let him go ...

TRAVIS (Quickly, to the ally) I have to she won't gimme the fifty cents . . .

WALTER (To his wife only) Why not?

RUTH (Simply, and with flavor) 'Cause we don't have it.


(Social, Historical, Cultural) This shows that the family did not have money at the time, even a small amount of fifty cents.
WALTER (To RUTH only) What you tell the boy things like that for? (Reaching down into his pants with a
rather important gesture) Here, son
(He hands the boy the coin, but his eyes are directed to his wife's. TRAVIS takes the money happily)

TRAVIS Thanks, Daddy.

(He starts out. RUTH watches both of them with murder in her eyes. WALTER stands and stares
back at her with defiance, and suddenly reaches into his pocket again on an afterthought)

WALTER (Without even looking at his son, still staring hard at his wife) In fact, here's another fifty cents . . . Buy yourself some fruit today or take a taxicab to school or something!


Walter giving his son 50 more cents than he asked for highlights the general perception of black society after WW2 during the height of the civil rights movement, Sticking it to the man presumably enthralled America and gave a unify slogan to the African American race.  We can infer that from this statement that Walter is a very proud man, a very strong black man.  And as he alludes to later on in the passage he hates seeing his son struggle, his wife work endless hours and his family fall apart, he will do anything to make their lives better, anything to make it easier.  And for him to give his only son just a little bit more money than he asked for to see the smile on his sons face, and equally how he sticks it to white society.  During this era black people have been excluded, shunned from public exhibitions and this is Walter’s way opf proving them wrong, proving to society that he is equal to the white man, hat his son and himself are better than anyone else, mater a fact even better.

TRAVIS Whoopee

(He leaps up and clasps his father around the middle with his legs, and they face each other in
mutual appreciation; slowly WALTER LEE peeks around the boy to catch the violent rays from his
wife's eyes and draws his head back as if shot)

WALTER You better get down now and get to school,


man.

TRAVIS (At the door) O.K. Good-bye.


(He exits)

WALTER (After him, pointing with pride) That's my boy. (She looks at him in disgust and turns back to her work) You know what I was thinking 'bout in the bathroom this morning?

RUTH No.

WALTER How come you always try to be so pleasant!

RUTH What is there to be pleasant 'bout!

WALTER You want to know what I was thinking 'bout in the bathroom or not!

RUTH I know what you thinking 'bout.

WALTER (Ignoring her) 'Bout what me and Willy Harris was talking about last night.

RUTH (Immediately a refrain) Willy Harris is a good-for-nothing loudmouth.

WALTER Anybody who talks to me has got to be a good-for-nothing loudmouth, ain't he? And what you


know about who is just a good-for-nothing loudmouth? Charlie Atkins was just a "good-for-nothing loud-
mouth" too, wasn't he! When he wanted me to go in the dry-cleaning business with him. And now he's
grossing a hundred thousand a year. A hundred thousand dollars a year! You still call him a loudmouth!
(Marxist) Walter defends Charlie Atkins just because he has money. This shows that money within that seems to change the attitude a person has of another person.

RUTH (Bitterly) Oh, Walter Lee . . .

(She folds her head on her arms over the table)

WALTER (Rising and coming to her and standing over her) You tired, ain't you? Tired of everything. Me, the boy, the way we live this beat-up hole everything. Ain't you? (She doesn't look up, doesn't answer) So tired moaning and groaning all the time, but you wouldn't do nothing to help, would you? You couldn't be on my side that long for nothing, could you?


(Marxist) Walter is sick and tired of not being able to climb up in the social ladder. He is stuck at the bottom and blames his colored wife for doing “nothing to help”.

RUTH Walter, please leave me alone.

WALTER A man needs for a woman to back him up , . .
(Social, Cultural, Historical) This quote shows that during this time period a man’s perception of a woman is to “back him up” and support him.

RUTH Walter

WALTER Mama would listen to you. You know she listen to you more than she do me and Bennie. She think more of you. All you have to do is just sit down with her when you drinking your coffee one morning and talking 'bout things like you do and (He sits down beside her and demonstrates graphically what he thinks her methods and tone should be) you just sip your coffee, see, and say easy like that you been thinking 'bout that deal Walter Lee is so interested in, 'bout the store and all, and sip some more coffee, like what you saying ain't really that important to you And the next thing you know, she be listening good and asking you questions and when I come home I can tell her the details. This
ain't no fly-by-night proposition, baby. I mean we figured it out, me and Willy and Bobo.

RUTH ( With a frown ) Bobo?

WALTER Yeah. You see, this little liquor store we got in mind cost seventy-five thousand and we figured the initial investment on the place be 'bout thirty thousand, see. That be ten thousand each. Course, there's a couple of hundred you got to pay so's you don't spend your life just waiting for them clowns to let your license get approved
(Social, Cultural Historical, Marxist) This shows Walter, for money, is willing to do anything even if it taints his integrity. Walter referring to white people as “clowns” is his bitterness towards them and the lack of power he has.

RUTH You mean graft?

WALTER (Frowning impatiently) Don't call it that. See there, that just goes to show you what women understand about the world. Baby, don't nothing happen for you in this world 'less you pay somebody off!
(Social, Historical, Cultural) Walter in this quote patronizes Ruth when she questions his means of getting a license which coincides with the social, historical, and cultural aspect that was existent within the time. Women were considered inferior to men and so in this Walter treats Ruth as inferior to him.

RUTH Walter, leave me alone! (She raises her head and stares at him vigorously then says, more quietly) Eat your eggs, they gonna be cold.

WALTER (Straightening up from her and looking off) That's it. There you are. Man say to his woman: I got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs. (Sadly, but gaining in power) Man say: I got to take hold of this here world, baby! And a woman will say: Eat your eggs and go to work. (Passionately now) Man say: I got to change my life, I'm choking to death, baby! And his woman say (In utter anguish as he brings his fists down on his thighs) Your eggs is getting cold!
(Social, Cultural, Historical) In this quote, Walter is trying to prove a point that a man’s dream is very important and that it is a woman’s job to support that dream. Again, he is looking down upon Ruth.

RUTH (Softly) Walter, that ain't none of our money.

WALTER (Not listening at all or even looking at her) This morning, I was lookin' in the mirror and thinking about it ... I'm thirty-five years old; I been married eleven years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room (Very, very quietly) and all I got to give him is stories about how rich white people live . . .
(Social, Marxist) Walter is in a sense going through a mid-life crisis. He feels that he has not done enough with his life and that the only way to make his life worthwhile is to be successful like the “rich white people”.

RUTH Eat your eggs, Walter.

WALTER (Slams the table and jumps up) DAMN MY EGGS DAMN ALL THE EGGS THAT EVER WAS!

RUTH Then go to work.

WALTER (Looking up at her) See I'm trying to talk to you 'bout myself (Shaking his head with the repetition) and all you can say is eat them eggs and go to work.

RUTH (Wearily) Honey, you never say nothing new. I listen to you every day, every night and every morning, and you never say nothing new. (Shrugging) So you would rather be Mr. Arnold than be his chauffeur. So I would rather be living in Buckingham Palace.


This quote helps to show Ruth’s role as a wife. She says that she listens to Walter “every day, every night and every morning” which shows her obedient and monotonous role as a wife. (Social, Cultural)

WALTER That is just what is wrong with the colored woman in this world . . . Don't understand about building their men up and making 'em feel like they somebody. Like they can do something.


Walter has a negative attitude towards “colored women in this world” because they do not give the needed support that black men need. He is uses his wife as a scapegoat to why he cannot be successful. In this way, the quote shows that black men at the time, needed more support to “do something” than white men. (Marxist)

RUTH (Drily, but to hurt) There are colored men who do things.

WALTER No thanks to the colored woman.
(Social, Cultural) Walter is condescending towards his wife and has an attitude that men do not need “colored women”

RUTH Well, being a colored woman, I guess I can't help myself none.


Ruth has a sarcastic tone when she says this but even so, we can tell that she understands her place as a “colored women” who is considered to be helpless at the time. (Social, Cultural, Historical)
(She rises and gets the ironing board and sets it up and attacks a huge pile of rough-dried clothes,
sprinkling them in preparation for the ironing and then rolling them into tight fat balls)

WALTER (Mumbling) We one group of men tied to a race of women with small minds!


This quote helps to identify Walters negative attitude towards a women’s intelligence. Many men during the time were like Walter and believed that women had “small minds” because of their gender. (Social, Cultural, Historical)

(His sister BENEATHA enters. She is about twenty, as slim and intense as her brother. She is not as


pretty as her sister-in-law, but her lean, almost intellectual face has a handsomeness of its own.
She wears a bright-red flannel nightie, and her thick hair stands wildly about her head. Her speech
is a mixture of many things; it is different from the rest of the family's insofar as education has per-
meated her sense of English and perhaps the Midwest rather than the South has finally at last
won out in her inflection; but not altogether, because over all of it is a soft slurring and trans-
formed use of vowels which is the decided influence of the Southside. She passes through the room without looking at either RUTH or WALTER and goes to the outside door and looks, a little
blindly, out to the bathroom. She sees that it has been lost to the Johnsons. She closes the door with
a sleepy vengeance and crosses to the table and sits down a little defeated)

BENEATHA I am going to start timing those people.


WALTER You should get up earlier.

BENEATHA (Her face in her hands. She is still fighting the urge to go back to bed) Really would you suggest dawn? Where's the paper?

WALTER (Pushing the paper across the table to her as he studies her almost clinically, as though he has never seen her before) You a horrible-looking chick at this hour.

BENEATHA (Drily) Good morning, everybody.


WALTER (Senselessly) How is school coming?

BENEATHA (In the same spirit) Lovely. Lovely. And you know, biology is the greatest. (Looking up at him)


I dissected something that looked just like you yesterday.
Beneatha is an example of a girl that tries to rebel against the typical female stereotype that women are stupid. As you can see, she thinks “biology is the greatest” and stands up to her brother unlike other women. At the time, women were still under male dominance but a rare amount of women were beginning to become more independent.

WALTER I just wondered if you've made up your mind and everything.

BENEATHA (Gaining in sharpness and impatience) And what did I answer yesterday morning and the day
before that?

RUTH (From the ironing board, like someone disinterested and old) Don't be so nasty, Bennie.


There is a strong contrast between Ruth’s tone of voice and Bennies. Ruth represents the majority of women at the time that are obedient and dominated by males while Bennie represents the rare amount of women that rebel against this female attitude. (Social, Cultural, Historical)

BENEATHA (Still to her brother) And the day before that and the day before that!

WALTER (Defensively) I'm interested in you. Something wrong with that? Ain't many girls who decide
This quote helps to show that many women at the time did not attempt to become individually successful. (Social, Cultural, Historical)

WALTER and BENEATHA (In unison) "to be a doctor."


(Silence)

WALTER Have we figured out yet just exactly how much medical school is going to cost?

RUTH Walter Lee, why don't you leave that girl alone and get out of here to work?

BENEATHA (Exits to the bathroom and bangs on the door) Come on out of there, please!

(She comes back into the room)

WALTER (Looking at his sister intently) You know the check is coming tomorrow.

BENEATHA (Turning on him with a sharpness all her own) That money belongs to Mama, Walter, and it's for her to decide how she wants to use it. I don't care if she wants to buy a house or a rocket ship or just nail it up somewhere and look at it. It's hers. Not ours hers.

WALTER (Bitterly) Now ain't that fine! You just got your mother's interest at heart, ain't you, girl? You such a nice girl but if Mama got that money she can always take a few thousand and help you through school too can't she?

BENEATHA I have never asked anyone around here to do anything for me!
Beneatha represents one of the few women at the time that is very independent. (Social)

WALTER No! And the line between asking and just accepting when the time comes is big and wide ain't it!

BENEATHA (With jury) What do you want from me, Brother that I quit school or just drop dead, which!

WALTER I don't want nothing but for you to stop acting holy 'round here. Me and Ruth done made some sacrifices for you why can't you do something for the family?

RUTH Walter, don't be dragging me in it.

WALTER You are in it Don't you get up and go work in somebody's kitchen for the last three years to help put clothes on her back?


This quote helps to identify the servitude that Ruth had to do. As a colored woman, the only job she was able to get was working in “somebody’s kitchen for the last three years” (Social, Cultural)

RUTH Oh, Walter that's not fair . . .

WALTER It ain't that nobody expects you to get on your knees and say thank you, Brother; thank you, Ruth; thank you, Mama and thank you, Travis, for wearing the same pair of shoes for two semesters
The fact that Travis has worn the “same pair of shoes for two semesters” shows that the family struggles with financial issues and that Walter wants to be able to provide his son with these kind of things out of pride. (Social, Cultural)

BENEATHA (Dropping to her knees) Well I do all right? thank everybody! And forgive me for ever


wanting to be anything at all! (Pursuing him on her knees across the floor) FORGIVE ME, FORGIVE
ME, FORGIVE ME!

RUTH Please stop it! Your mama'll hear you.

WALTER 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 . . .
In this quote, Walter holds a very dominant male attitude towards women. He tells his sister to work like typical women as a nurse rather than a doctor or get married. This dominant male attitude was very common at this time period and also shows that average women were meant to do jobs that were lower in rank than jobs for men.

BENEATHA Well you finally got it said ... It took you three years but you finally got it said. Walter, give up;


leave me alone it's Mama's money.

WALTER He was my father, too!

BENEATHA So what? He was mine, too and Travis' grandfather but the insurance money belongs to
Mama. Picking on me is not going to make her give it to you to invest in any liquor stores (Underbreath,
dropping into a chair) and I for one say, God bless Mama for that!

WALTER (To RUTH) See did you hear? Did you hear!


RUTH Honey, please go to work.

WALTER Nobody in this house is ever going to understand me.

BENEATHA Because you're a nut.

WALTER Who's a nut?

BENEATHA You you are a nut. Thee is mad, boy.

WALTER (Looking at his wife and his sister from the door, very sadly) The world's most backward race of people, and that's a fact.

BENEATHA (Turning slowly in her chair) And then there are all those prophets who would lead us out of the wilderness (WALTER slams out of the house) into the swamps!
RUTH Bennie, why you always gotta be pickin' on your brother? Can't you be a little sweeter sometimes? (Door opens. WALTER walks in. He fumbles with his cap, starts to speak, clears throat, looks everywhere but at RUTH. Finally:)

WALTER (To RUTH) I need some money for carfare.

RUTH (Looks at him, then warms; teasing, but tenderly) Fifty cents? (She goes to her bag and gets money) Here take a taxi!

(WALTER exits. MAMA enters. She is a woman in her early sixties, full-bodied and strong. She is one of those women of a certain grace and beauty who wear it so unobtrusively that it takes a while to notice.  Her dark-brown face is surrounded by the total whiteness of her hair, and, being a woman who has adjusted to many things in life and over- come many more, her face is full of strength. She


has, we can see, wit and faith of a kind that keep her eyes lit and full of interest and expectancy. She is, in a word, a beautiful woman. Her bearing is perhaps most like the noble bearing of the women of the Hereros of Southwest Africa rather as if she imagines that as she walks she still bears a basket or a vessel upon her head. Her speech, on the other hand, is as careless as her car- riage is precise she is inclined to slur everything but her voice is perhaps not so much quiet as simply soft)

MAMA Who that 'round here slamming doors at this hour?


Shows her dominance within the family and the household

(See crosses through the room, goes to the win- dow, opens it, and brings in a feeble little plant growing doggedly in a small pot on the window sill. She feels the dirt and puts it back out)

RUTH That was Walter Lee. He and Bennie was at it again.

MAMA My children and they tempers. Lord, if this little old plant don't get more sun than it's been getting it ain't never going to see spring again. (She turns from the window) What's the matter with you this morning, Ruth? You looks right peaked. You aiming to iron all them things? Leave some for me. I'll get to 'em this afternoon. Bennie honey, it's too drafty for you to be sitting 'round half dressed. Where's your robe? Her , verymily


Spring-archaetype for a new beginning, a resurrection.
Mama is concerned with her family, very protective and all knowing
Shes the idealist mother figure, concerned with every aspect of everyone life.

BENEATHA In the cleaners.

MAMA Well, go get mine and put it on.

BENEATHA I'm not cold, Mama, honest.

MAMA I know but you so thin . . .
BENEATHA (Irritably) Mama, I'm not cold.

MAMA (Seeing the make-down bed as TRAVIS has left it) Lord have mercy, look at that poor bed. Bless his heart he tries, don't he


Shows her religious perspective.  We can tell that shes been through a lot.

(She moves to the bed TRAVIS has sloppily made up)

RUTH No he don't half try at all 'cause he knows you going to come along behind him and fix everything.
That's just how come he don't know how to do nothing right now you done spoiled that boy so.

MAMA (Folding bedding) Well he's a little boy* Ain't supposed to know 'bout housekeeping. My baby, that's what he is. What you fix for his breakfast this morning?


Boys aren’t supposed to know about housekeeping.  Shows the social attitude of the time period, women are undermined.  Women are perceived as the backbone of the house, the sole person in charge for keeping the house clean and running smoothly.

RUTH (Angrily) I feed my son, Lena!

MAMA I ain't meddling (Underbreath; busy-bodyish) I just noticed all last week he had cold cereal, and
when it starts getting this chilly in the fall a child ought to have some hot grits or something when he goes out in the cold
Continously shows her caring nature, the over-zealous mothering sense.  Mama can’t help to intrude, shes trying to help Ruth , make her life better, make her go without the struugles she had in her life.

RUTH (Furious) I gave him hot oats is that all right!

MAMA I ain't meddling. (Pause) Put a lot of nice butter on it? (RUTH shoots her an angry look and does not reply) He likes lots of butter.
This shows Mamas complete full knowledge of the family.

RUTH (Exasperated) Lena

MAMA (To BENEATHA. MAMA is inclined to wander con- versationally sometimes) What was you and your brother fussing 'bout this morning?
Mama needs to know everything that is happening in her house.  She is the mediator, the mother, the unbiased typical motherly figure.

BENEATHA It* s not important, Mama.

(She gets up and goes to look out at the bath- room, which is apparently free, and she picks up
her towels and rushes out)

MAMA What was they fighting about?

RUTH Now you know as well as I do.

MAMA (Shaking her head) Brother still worrying his-


self sick about that money?
Mama knows that her son Walter is infatuated with money, a Marxist minded attitude toward a goal in which he will nerve be able to obtain.  But Mama even knowing that Walter is on a failed course, but continues to try and make her son happy.

RUTH You know he is.

MAMA You had breakfast?
This quote reiterates Mama’s caring nature as a mother

RUTH Some coffee.

MAMA Girl, you better start eating and looking after yourself better. You almost thin as Travis.
Mama is portrayed as a motherly figure to Ruth. There is a hint of concern in Mama’s voice when she talks to Ruth.

RUTH Lena

MAMA Un-hunh?

RUTH What are you going to do with it?

MAMA Now don't you start, child. It's too early in the morning to be talking about money. It ain't Christian.
This quote shows a little of Mama’s background. You can tell that she is very religious and does not like to think about money too much.

RUTH It's just that he got his heart set on that store

MAMA You mean that liquor store that Willy Harris want him to invest in?

RUTH Yes

MAMA We ain't no business people, Ruth. We just plain working folks.
This quote shows Mama’s attitude and thoughts on her own race. She feels that being African American meant having to be “working folks” rather than “business people”. At the time, not many African Americans owned businesses and it was rare that those who had businesses ended up succeeding. With that said, Mama’s attitude was shared among the majority of society at the time.

RUTH Ain't nobody business people till they go into business. Walter Lee say colored people ain't never


going to start getting ahead till they start gambling on some different kinds of things in the world investments and things.

MAMA What done got into you, girl? Walter Lee done finally sold you on investing.


You can tell from this quote that Mama is still very skeptical about Walter trying to invest.

RUTH No. Mama, something is happening between Walter and me. I don't know what it is but he needs something something I can't give him any more. He needs this chance, Lena.


This quote shows the change of dynamics that is occurring between the family. Ruth begins to sense that Walter “needs something” that she cannot give to him. This “something” could be identified as his desire to have more power in society. (Marxist)

MAMA (Frowning deeply) But liquor, honey


This quote identifies Mama’s disapproval with liquor. As a strong Christian, she feels that investing in liquor is not a good idea and strongly looks down upon Walter doing so.

RUTH Well like Walter say I spec people going to always be drinking themselves some liquor.

MAMA Well whether they drinks it or not ain't none of my business. But whether I go into business selling it to 'em is, and I don't want that on my ledger this late in life. (Stopping suddenly and studying her daughter-in-law} Ruth Younger, what's the matter with you to- day? You look like you could fall over right there.
Mama believes in the freedom to choose whether to consume liquor or not but she is against going “into business selling it to ‘em”. She feels that by doing this, she is encouraging those to drink and that is against her values. After saying this, Mama begins to worry about Ruth. She is concerned about Ruth’s strange attitude and senses that something is not right with her.

RUTH I'm tired.

MAMA Then you better stay home from work today,
You can tell from this quote that Mama worries more about Ruth’s health than her ability to work.

RUTH I can't stay home. She'd be calling up the agency and screaming at them, "My girl didn't come in today send me somebody! My girl didn't come in!" Oh, she just have a fit ...

MAMA Well, let her have it. I'll just call her up and say you got the flu
This reiterates Mama’s motherly attributes and her willingness to stick up for Ruth.

RUTH (Laughing) Why the flu?

MAMA 'Cause it sounds respectable to 'em. Something white people get, too. They know 'bout the flu. Other- wise they think you been cut up or something when you tell 'em you sick.
Mama tries to find an excuse that would be acceptable to a white person. She does this because she still feels that white people seem to look down upon her race. Indeed, at the time, you could tell that whites simply degraded blacks and felt like they were lower than them

RUTH I got to go in. We need the money.


This portrays the family’s poor financial situation and how much they need money.

MAMA Somebody would of thought my children done all but starved to death the way they talk about money here late. Child, we got a great big old check coming tomorrow.


This quote shows how Mama is not concerned about money and how money is not a topic she likes to discuss in the family. In addition, she is very optimistic now that the family will be receiving the “big old check”.

RUTH (Sincerely, but also self-righteously) Now that's your money. It ain't got nothing to do with me. We all feel like that Walter and Bennie and me even Travis.

MAMA (Thoughtfully, and suddenly very far away) Ten thousand dollars
At the time, ten thousand dollars was a huge amount of money. With this amount, you were able to boost a family’s social status.

RUTH Sure is wonderful.

MAMA Ten thousand dollars.
Mama repeats the amount of money she is receiving because it still feels surreal that she is receiving this great amount of money.

RUTH You know what you should do, Miss Lena? You should take yourself a trip somewhere. To Europe or South America or someplace

MAMA (Thrrowing up her hands at the thought) Oh, child!
Mama feels the idea of taking a trip somewhere is ridiculous

RUTH I'm serious. Just pack up and leave! Go on away and enjoy yourself some. Forget about the family and have yourself a ball for once in your life

MAMA (Drily) You sound like I'm just about ready to die. Who'd go with me? What I look like wandering
'round Europe by myself?
Mama is skeptical about leaving the house and taking a vacation. She does not want to be wandering by herself and seems to enjoy staying with the family more.

RUTH Shoot these here rich white women do it all the time. They don't think nothing of packing up they suit- cases and piling on one of them big steamships and swoosh! they gone, child.


This quote helps to portray some of the social aspects of society during the time. Ruth mentions that “rich white women” were able to take trips whenever they wanted while African Americans like herself were not able to have this pleasure.  This comes to show that white women still have more power than African American women, and that African American women dream about having the same lifestyle as white women.

MAMA Something always told me I wasn't no rich white woman.


While Ruth looks up to white women and want their lifestyle, Mama does not feel the same way. Mama seems to understand and accept her social status.
RUTH Well what are you going to do with it then?

MAMA I ain't rightly decided. (Thinking. She speaks now with emphasis) Some of it got to be put away for Beneatha and her schoolin' and ain't nothing going to touch that part of it. Nothing. (She waits several sec- onds, trying to make up her mind about something, and looks at RUTH a little tentatively before going on) Been thinking that we maybe could meet the notes on a little old two-story somewhere, with a yard where Travis could play in the summertime, if we use part of the insurance for a down payment and everybody kind of pitch in. I could maybe take on a little day work again, few days a week


This quote shows that Mama values Beneatha’s “schoolin” and buying an “old two-story” where “Travis could play in the summertime more than Walter’s desire to invest in a liquor store. Mama is even willing to work again to keep a new house for themselves.

RUTH (Studying her mother-in-law furtively and concentrating on her ironing, anxious to encourage without seeming to) Well, Lord knows, we've put enough rent into this here rat trap to pay for four houses by now

MAMA (Looking up and then looking around and leaning back and sighing in a suddenly reflective mood ) "Rat trap" yes, that's all it is. (Smiling) I remember just as well the day me and Big Walter moved in here. Hadn't been married but two weeks and wasn't planning on living here no more than a year. (She shakes her head at the dissolved dream) We was going to set away, little by little, don't you know, and buy a little place out in Morgan Park. We had even picked out the house. (Chuckling a little) Looks right dumpy today. But Lord, child, you should know all the dreams I had 'bout buying that house and fixing it up and making me a little garden in the back (She waits and stops smiling) And didn't none of it happen.
This quote helps to show some of Mama’s background with Big Walter. Mama did not want to live in the house she was  living in “no more than a year” when she initially bought it. She talks about her dreams of creating her own garden and how she was not able to do it. Mama is disappointed with her inability to grow her own garden and longs to find a new house where she could finally do this.

(Dropping her hands in a futile gesture)

RUTH (Keeps her head down, ironing) Yes, life can be a barrel of disappointments, sometimes.

MAMA Honey, Big Walter would come in here some nights back then and slump down on that couch there and just look at the rug, and look at me and look at the rug and then back at me and I'd know he was down then . . . really down. (After a second very long and thoughtful pause; she is seeing back to times that only she can see) And then, Lord, when I lost that baby little Claude I almost thought I was going to lose Big Walter too. Oh, that man grieved hisself ! He was one man to love his children.


This shows Mama’s love for Big Walter. She praises him as a good father that truly loved his children. By describing Big Walter, Mama also shows her own personality. You can tell from her descriptions that Mama feels that the amount of love you have is the one thing that defines a good person.

RUTH Ain't nothin' can tear at you like losin' your baby.

MAMA I guess that's how come that man finally worked himself to death like he done. Like he was fighting his own war with this here world that took his baby from him.

RUTH He sure was a fine man, all right. I always liked Mr. Younger.

MAMA Crazy 'bout his children! God knows there was plenty wrong with Walter Younger hard-headed, mean, kind of wild with women plenty wrong with him. But he sure loved his children. Always wanted them to have something be something. That's where Brother gets all these notions, I reckon. Big Walter used to say, he'd get right wet in the eyes sometimes, lean his head back with the water standing in his eyes and say, "Seem like God didn't see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worth while." (She smiles) He could talk like that, don't you know.
Mama’s general judgment of a person is shown within this quote. When describing Big Walter, Mama reveals that the most important thing for a person in her eyes is to have love for your children. Even though Big Walter was, according to Mama, “hard-headed, mean, kind of wild with women”, Mama emphasizes that “he sure loved his children”. There are also some social, cultural, and historical aspects within this quote. When Big Walter used to say that “God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams”, it shows that African Americans, when Big Walter was alive, were not able to take much action in the world.

RUTH Yes, he sure could. He was a good man, Mr. Younger.

MAMA Yes, a fine man just couldn't never catch up with his dreams, that's all.
She feels sympathy for Walter because she knows that there was a lot of things that he wasn’t able to accomplish before his death. You can infer, that she really loved Walter and really misses him. Also considers the money that is coming as a parting gift.

(BENEATHA comes in, brushing her hair and looking up to the ceiling, where the sound of a vacuum cleaner has started up)

BENEATHA What could be so dirty on that woman's rugs that she has to vacuum them every single day?

RUTH I wish certain young women 'round here who I could name would take inspiration about certain rugs in a certain apartment I could also mention.

BENEATHA (Shrugging) How much cleaning can a house need, for Christ's sakes.

MAMA (Not liking the Lord's name used thus) Bennie!


This shows Mama’s religious devotion.

RUTH Just listen to her just listen!

BENEATHA Oh, God!

MAMA If you use the Lord's name just one more time


Mama is so religious that she becomes angry when Beneatha uses Gods name in vain.

BENEATHA (A bit of a whine) Oh, Mama

RUTH Fresh just fresh as salt, this girl!

BENEATHA (Drily) Well if the salt loses its savor

MAMA Now that will do. I just ain't going to have you 'round here reciting the scriptures in vain you hear me?
This again shows Mama’s religious attitude and formality.
BENEATHA How did I manage to get on everybody's wrong side by just walking into a room?

RUTH If you weren't so fresh


BENEATHA Ruth, I'm twenty years old.

MAMA What time you be home from school today?


Even though Beneatha is twenty years old, Mama still thinks of her as a child and acts as a motherly figure by asking this question.

BENEATHA Kind of late. (With enthusiasm) Madeline is going to start my guitar lessons today.

(MAMA and RUTH look up with the same expres- sion)

MAMA Your what kind of lessons?

BENEATHA Guitar.

RUTH Oh, Father!

MAMA How come you done taken it in your mind to learn to play the guitar?
You could tell from the way Mama talks in this quote that she is not very educated because her grammar is heavily mistaken.

BENEATHA I just want to that's all.

MAMA (Smiling) Lord, child, don't you know what to get tired of this now like you got tired of that little
do with yourself? How long it going to be before you play-acting group you joined last year? (Looking at
RUTH) And what was it the year before that?
Mama is skeptical about Beneatha learning how to play guitar after she ended up quitting her “play-acting group”. This shows that Mama is very involved with Beneatha’s life.

RUTH The horseback-riding club for which she bought that fifty-five-dollar riding habit that's been hanging in the closet ever since!

MAMA (To BENEATHA) Why you got to flit so from one thing to another, baby?
This reiterates that fact that Mama takes interest in Beneatha’s life and wants what is best for her.

BENEATHA (Sharply) I just want to learn to play the guitar. Is there anything wrong with that?

MAMA Ain't nobody trying to stop you. I just wonders sometimes why you has to flit so from one thing to another all the time. You ain't never done nothing with all that camera equipment you brought home
Mama wants what is best for Beneatha but at the same time, she tries to give her some freedom to do things her way. Mama tries to give advice to Beneatha without forcing her to do something she does not want to do.

BENEATHA I don't flit! I I experiment with different forms of expression

RUTH Like riding a horse?

BENEATHA People have to express themselves one way or another.

MAMA What is it you want to express?

BENEATHA (Angrily) Me! (MAMA and RUTH look at each other and burst into raucous laughter) Don't worry I don't expect you to understand.

MAMA (To change the subject) Who you going out with tomorrow night?
This is another example of how Mama is portrayed as a typical mother. Typical mothers always ask these kind of questions in order to either make sure Beneatha is safe or relieve the curiosity that comes with being a mother.

BENEATHA (With displeasure) George Murchison again.

MAMA (Pleased) Oh you getting a little sweet on him?

RUTH You ask me, this child ain't sweet on nobody but herself (Vnderbreath) Express herself !


(They laugh)

BENEATHA Oh I like George all right, Mama. I mean I like him enough to go out with him and stuff, but

RUTH (For devilment) What does and stuff mean?

BENEATHA Mind your own business.

MAMA Stop picking at her now, Ruth. (She chuckles then a suspicious sudden look at her daughter as she turns in her chair for emphasis) What DOES it mean?

BENEATHA (Wearily) Oh, I just mean I couldn't ever really be serious about George. He's he's so shallow.

RUTH Shallow what do you mean he's shallow? He's Rich!

MAMA Hush, Ruth.

BENEATHA I know he's rich. He knows he's rich, too.

RUTH Well what other qualities a man got to have to satisfy you, little girl?


(Marxist) Ruth is basically saying all an ideal husband needs is money which is a social institution Beneatha has put beneath her and wants someone intellectual and passionate like her.

BENEATHA You wouldn't even begin to understand. Anybody who married Walter could not possibly understand.

MAMA (Outraged) What kind of way is that to talk about your brother?

BENEATHA Brother is a flip let's face it.

MAMA (To RUTH, helplessly) What's a flip?

RUTH (Glad to add kindling) She's saying he's crazy.

BENEATHA Not crazy. Brother isn't really crazy yet he's an elaborate neurotic.

MAMA Hush your mouth!

BENEATHA As for George. Well. George looks good he's got a beautiful car and he takes me to nice places and, as my sister-in-law says, he is probably the richest boy I will ever get to know and I even like him sometimes but if the Youngers are sitting around waiting to see if their little Bennie is going to tie up the family with the Murchisons, they are wasting their time.

RUTH You mean you wouldn't marry George Murchison if he asked you someday? That pretty, rich thing? Honey, I knew you was odd


(Social, Historical, Cultural, Marxist) Ruth can’t comprehend why Beneatha won’t marry George when he has so much money and because she is so clouded by money she can’t see that Beneatha does not care about the money but about the personality.

BENEATHA No I would not marry him if all I felt for him was what I feel now. Besides, George's family wouldn't really like it

MAMA Why not?
This is social, Beneatha doesn’t feel that George would want to marry her because they are not in the same social class. In a sense, she is similar to her mother because she is not about the money. She believes in the person as a whole rather than the material possessions. She wants to marry a person she truly loves and doesn’t want to conform to society’s beliefs in marrying for status or money.

BENEATHA Oh, Mama The Murchisons are honest-to- God-real-live-rich colored people, and the only people in the world who are more snobbish than rich white people are rich colored people. I thought everybody knew that. I've met Mrs. Murchison. She's a scene!

MAMA You must not dislike people 'cause they well off, honey.

BENEATHA Why not? It makes just as much sense as disliking people 'cause they are poor, and lots of people do that.


Beneatha shows throughout the story thus far that she is, in a sense, ashamed of the black race. She feels that colored people are going to remain on the bottom of the social class. She is a prime example of the typical women that wants to break away from this male dominant society. (Social, Historical, Cultural)

RUTH (A wisdom-of-the-ages manner. To MAMA) Well, she'll get over some of this

BENEATHA Get over it? What are you talking about, Ruth? 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!


(Social, Historical, Cultural) Women back in the day were expected to be married and lived a regular life performing motherly roles such as cooking and raising children. Mama and Ruth are shocked to hear that Beneatha is actually given thought of not marrying. It was abnormal for the time period for women to think like this.

MAMA Now, Bennie

BENEATHA Oh, I probably will ... but first I'm going to be a doctor, and George, for one, still thinks that's pretty funny. I couldn't be bothered with that. I am going to be a doctor and everybody around here better understand that!
(Social, Historical, Cultural) It is amusing to George that Beaneatha wants to be a doctor because women in general were not doctors. For her to be colored and wanting to be a doctor isn’t normal. A doctor is a male dominant occupation and extremely unlikely for a colored women to become.

MAMA (Kindly) 'Course you going to be a doctor, honey, God willing.


Mama knows that her daughters dreams are a little farfetched but still believes in her.

BENEATHA (Drily) God hasn't got a thing to do with it.


MAMA Beneatha that just wasn't necessary.

BENEATHA Well neither is God. I get sick of hearing about God.


MAMA Beneatha!

BENEATHA I mean it! I'm just tired of hearing about God all the time. What has He-got to do with anything? Does he pay tuition?

MAMA You 'bout to get your fresh little jaw slapped!
The conversation with Beneatha is getting to the point that it is annoying Mama and there is foreshadowing that Beaneatha is about to get slapped. So far, whenever it comes to God with Mama; she takes it very seriously. Beneatha is making fun of God and in a sense she is making fun of Mama’s ideals at the same time.

RUTH That's just what she needs, all right!

BENEATHA Why? Why can't I say what I want to around here, like everybody else?

MAMA It don't sound nice for a young girl to say things like that you wasn't brought up that way. Me and your father went to trouble to get you and Brother to church every Sunday.


Mama’s beliefs are an extension of societies’ beliefs and therefore this upsets Mama when Beneatha suddenly doubts Mama’s beliefs. This also shows that the way Beneatha is acting is not socially acceptable. This also shows that Mama and her husband did their best to imbed the Christian values in their children.

BENEATHA Mama, you don't understand. It's all a matter of ideas, and God is just one idea I don't accept. It's not important. I am not going out and be immoral or commit crimes because I don't believe in God. I don't even think about it. It's just that I get tired of Him getting credit for all the things the human race achieves through its own stubborn effort. There simply is no blasted God there is only man and it is he who makes miracles!


Beneatha starts criticizing God and this really upsets Mama. This shows that Mama is very religious and truly believes in god as much more than idol. In Mama’s point of view, Beneatha is being foolish about god and life in general. Her daughter doesn’t understand what society expects of her. This is a powerful scene because this is the first time that Mama gets really upset to the point that she uses violence to stop Beneatha’s muttering.

 Also back then, colored people tended to be more religious because it was usually the colored people that faced with many dilemmas financially and socially during this era. Usually when people are in need they go to religion and God to take their mind off their actual situations and this is extremely prevalent, especially, in the life of Mamma who has already gone through so much.  (Social, Historical, Cultural)             

(MAMA absorbs this speech, studies her daughter and rises slowly and crosses to BENEATHA and slaps her powerfully across the face. After, there is only silence and the daughter drops her eyes from her mother's face, and MAMA is very tall before her)

MAMA Now you say after me, in my mother's house there is still God. (There is a long pause and BENEATHA stares at the floor wordlessly. MAMA repeats the phrase with precision and cool emotion) In my mother's house there is still God.


Mama is extremely upset that her own daughter is doubting her religion and ideals. She slaps Beneatha and tells her that she must understand that there is God in the household. Colored people truly believe in God because they believe that with all the hardships that they have gone through their lifetime that they are able to survive. By Beneatha, condemning god basically throws away years of history and hardships.

BENEATHA In my mother's house there is still God.


(A long pause)

MAMA (Walking away from BENEATHA, too disturbed for triumphant posture. Stopping and turning back to her daughter) There are some ideas we ain't going to have in this house. Not long as I am at the head of this family.

This is signifying the impact and influence religion plays in the life of Mamma. Up until this point Mamma seems to be understanding of different situations such as Travis not making his bed, however, when Beneatha criticizes God Mamma takes it personally and unleashes a fury and anger upon her.

BENEATHA Yes, ma'am.

(MAMA walks out of the room)

RUTH (Almost gently, with profound understanding) You think you a woman, Bennie but you still a little


girl. What you did was childish so you got treated like a child.

BENEATHA I see. (Quietly) I also see that everybody thinks it's all right for Mama to be a tyrant. But all the tyranny in the world will never put a God in the heavens!

(She picks up her books and goes out. Pause)

RUTH (Goes to MAMA'S door) She said she was sorry.

MAMA (Coming out, going to her plant) They frightens me, Ruth. My children.
Mamma feels that her children are strong-willed, however, in a more negative sense. All the values that she has and feels strong about have not translated into her children, Walter and Beneatha. She’s “frightened” of the fact that they are so different from her ideals.
RUTH You got good children, Lena. They just a little off sometimes but they're good.

MAMA No there's something come down between me and them that don't let us understand each other and I don't know what it is. One done almost lost his mind thinking 'bout money all the time and the other done commence to talk about things I can't seem to understand in no form or fashion. What is it that's changing, Ruth.


Again, Mamma is confused at how her children have values so different from her. She is a strong, Christian woman who prioritizes her family above all else, yet she’s disappointed that her children are so different her to the point where communication ceases to exist or becomes difficult.

RUTH (Soothingly, older than her years) Now . . . you taking it all too seriously. You just got strong-willed children and it takes a strong woman like you to keep 'em in hand.

MAMA (Looking at her plant and sprinkling a little water on it) They spirited all right, my children. Got to admit they got spirit Bennie and Walter. Like this little old plant that ain't never had enough sunshine or nothing and look at it ... {She has her back to RUTH, who has had to stop ironing and lean against something and put the back of her hand to her forehead)

RUTH (Trying to keep MAMA from noticing) You . . . sure . . . loves that little old thing, don't you? . . .

MAMA Well, I always wanted me a garden like I used to see sometimes at the back of the houses down home. This plant is close as I ever got to having one. {She looks out of the window as she replaces the plant) Lord, ain't nothing as dreary as the view from this window on a dreary day, is there? Why ain't you singing this morning, Ruth? Sing that "No Ways Tired." That song always lifts me up so (She turns at last to see that RUTH has slipped quietly to the floor, in a state of semiconsciousness) Ruth! Ruth honey what's the matter with you . . . Ruth!
Ruth mentions that Mama is a strong women and as soon as she mentions that Mama turns to her plant. This symbolizes that the plant is a symbol of her family and that she is nurturing the plant and in a sense her family. In the beginning of this scene there are many arguments, which means that the plant is wilting. So if Mama is sprinkling water it shows that she is making improvements in her family.




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