A Raisin in the Sun Throughout the play, A Raisin in the Sun, the character Beneatha talks about finding her identity. The concept of assimilation becomes very important to the Younger family. Neither of the members of the Younger family wanted to assimilate into mainstream America, they just want to live comfortably. The Younger are an African American family living on the south side of Chicago in the 1950 s. They were living during an era where America was extremely racist towards blacks. The Younger family was made up of Mama, the backbone of the family, her daughter Beneatha, her son Walter, his wife Ruth, and his son Travis.
They all lived in a small two-bedroom apartment where they had to share a bathroom in the hall with their neighbors and Travis slept on the couch. Mama and her family were about to receive a check for $10, 000 from the deceased Mr. Younger's insurance policy. This money seemed like the answer to the family's' prayers.
Everyone seemed to have big dreams for the money. Mama wanted to buy a house, Walter wanted to invest the money into a liquor store, and Beneatha wanted to use the money for her medical school tuition. Ruth agreed with Mama's ideal of buying a house and she thought that the house would provide more space and opportunity for her son. Mama wanted to use the insurance money to buy a house.
She finally had the chance to fulfill the dream that her and Mr. Younger always had. Mama wanted to buy a house in a predominantly white neighborhood but the white people were not thrilled at all by this. They even offered money in return for staying away. Though of course Mama refused the deal. It didn't matter to Mama that they were moving into a predominantly white neighborhood, she just wanted her own home with a garden and a yard.
In the given quote Mama talks about how the world has changed and how Walter is more interested in being rich then his true self, "Mama: Oh-So now it's life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life-now it's money. I guess the world really do change... Walter: No-it was always money, Mama. We just didn't know about it.
Mama: No... something has changed. You something new, boy. In my time we was worried about not being lynched...
You ain't satisfied or proud of nothing we done. I mean that you had a home; that we kept you out of trouble till you was grown; that you don't have to ride to work on the back of nobody's streetcar-You my children-but how different we done become." Walter wanted to invest the insurance money into a liquor store. He thought that the liquor store would solve all of their financial problems for good. He wanted to submerge into mainstream America; he wanted to live the American Dream. Walter was a chauffer and he wasn't pleased with his profession.
In the given quote Walter talks about how he wanted a better life for his son, "Walter: You wouldn't understand yet, son, but your daddy's gonna make a transaction... a business transaction that's going to change our lives... That's how come one day when you 'bout seventeen years old I'll come home... I'll pull the car up on the driveway... just a plain black Chrysler, I think, with white walls-no-black tires... the gardener will be clipping away at the hedges and he " ll say, "Good evening, Mr.
Younger." And I'll say, "Hello, Jefferson, how are you this evening?" And I'll go inside and Ruth will come downstairs and meet me at the door and we " ll kiss each other and she " ll take my arm and we " ll go up to your room to see you sitting on the floor with the catalogues of all the great schools in America around you... All the great schools in the world! And-and I'll say, all right son-it's your seventeenth birthday, what is it you " ve decided? ... Just tell me, what it is you want to be-and you " ll be it... Whatever you want to be-Yessir! You just name it, son...
and I hand you the world!" Beneatha wanted to become a doctor but she didn't have the money to pay for her tuition so she wanted to use the insurance money to pay for it. Beneatha was very different from the rest of her family; she was not interested in assimilating into white culture. Beneatha wanted to find her true self and go back to Africa to get in touch with her African heritage. She was a very independent woman. She just wanted to go to college to become a doctor so that she could live comfortably and be happy. Every member of the Younger family has a separate, individual dream and they each have to struggle to attain these dreams throughout the play, and much of their happiness and depression is directly related to their attainment of, or failure to attain, these dreams.
The concept of assimilation is constantly brought up during the play. Members of the Younger family wanted to improve their life without submerging into mainstream America. The Younger family would all have to come in terms with one another to realize what was really important so they could overcome their struggles together as a family.