Throughout the entire story, the themes of dreams, family, and love have been clearly relevant in A Raisin in the Sun. The audience can tell how much each idea means to the play and how much they contribute to the story. I believe that all of the characters have dreams and it is clear to see that, but in my opinion, Beneatha’s dreams are the most interesting and thought out, to me. All of these themes come to a head at the end of the play with the help of Beneatha’s storyline.
Beneatha has always dreamed of changing the label that has been put on her for being a woman of color that has goals and dreams. She is very intellectual, level-headed, and goes to college hoping she could further her career in being a doctor someday. She has always been the odd one out in her family. They always tease her about chasing her dreams, but that has never stopped her from trying to accomplish just that.
When her friend from Nigeria, Asagai, comes into the picture he encourages her to explore more of her culture and identity.
ASAGAI. Then isn’t there something wrong in a house – in a world – where all dreams, good or bad, must depend on the death of a man? I never thought to see you like this, Alaiyo. You! Your brother made a mistake and you are grateful to him so that now you can give up the ailing human race on account of it! You talk about what good is struggle, what good is anything! Where are all going and why are we bothering? (Act III, Page 135).
Asagai is, clearly and undeniably, in love with Beneatha, and although Beneatha is “dating” George, based on their body language alone, the audience can detect the love and chemistry they have with each other. After Walter gets rid of all of Beneatha’s money for school, she turns to Asagai. She was so distraught, and Asagai knew exactly what to say to her. For example, on page 136, Asagai helps and supports Beneatha, but also challenges Beneatha with a very important question:
ASAGAI. Good! Then stop moaning and groaning and tell me what you plan to do?
ASAGAI. (Rather quietly for him) That when it is all over- that you come home with me-
BENEATHA. (Staring at him and and crossing away with exasperation) Oh- Asagai- at this moment you decide to be romantic!
Asagai literally and figuratively proposes to Beneatha by asking her to come back to Africa with him, to not only marry him, but to also live out her dreams and practice medicine in Africa. Beneatha realizes what she wants and by the end of the novel, she makes the decisions to go to Africa with Asagai, and pursue her dreams to help cure people and to be with the one she loves.
While her family (especially Walter), was very hesitant at first, they all knew that going to Africa was the best thing for her. Walter’s main focus in life is money, so I was not shocked why he was questioning Beneatha’s choices because he would have wanted her to marry George since he has money and could provide for her. This made me dislike Walter even more than I already did because he seemed like he was being selfish towards Beneatha and had no regard for her own dreams and plans.
Although, the Younger family has their issues, Beneatha knew it would be a tough decision to leave her family. They mean everything to her no matter how much they bicker and argue, and she knows they always want the best for her. Even at the very end when Beneatha and Walter are bickering, Mama and Ruth know how much they care for each other. I think that scene is so important because even after how much they fought over the money and the choices Walter made, they can come back together, even if they do start playfully bickering again, as siblings do.
In my opinion, Beneatha’s dream, love life, and family life are key points during Act III of the play. They are all important ideas in everyday life and are shown throughout the play. The idea of the sibling bond that Beneatha and Walter have is something that is so relevant and sometimes, these kind of arguments over money and our own personal relationships can get in between a family. Although, Beneatha has overcome struggles and everyone has their own opinions about the situation, she has prevailed through all of them. Personally for me, I like how she ended it because not every story is going to be this “Happily Ever After” scenario and it seemed very realistic to me, like not everything is going to be perfect. The questions I want to leave you guys with is what do you think of Beneatha becoming independent and stepping out on her own (with the help of Asagai) to further her career and relationship? And lastly, what are your overall thoughts on how the play ended and why do you think Lorraine Hansberry decided to end the play the way she did?