Keeping It Together What a loving mother! Lena Younger, or Mama, is nurturing and supportive when it comes to raising and maintaining a family. Personally speaking, being nurturing means to love, care for, and show concern over someone. Analyzing Mama's relationships with family members can show us her view on parenting and ultimately show us her devotion to her family. In A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, Mama is a nurturing mother who cares for and protects her family in her struggle to keep them unified.
Not only does Lena Younger protect Travis from getting yelled at by his mother, but also she protects his feelings. At this point in the play Mama's nurturing attitude is seen through her defending Travis from the authority of his mother. On one occasion Travis gives his grandmother a gift, a hat which he is very proud of. At the sight of her gift the rest of the family breaks out in laughter. Without skipping a beat Mama's nurturing bursts out. She quickly snaps, "What's the matter with you all! This here is a beautiful hat!" (Hansberry 1433).
To me this can be seen as commanding respect for Travis. By automatically respecting Travis, the family could be brought closer together and could display a sense of equality. Mama is a loving, nurturing woman and her interactions with her grandson express this point. Mama's most blatant act of unification of this family is centered around Travis.
Upon coming back to the house after playing all day, Travis gets snapped at by his mother and then Mama tells him with she has done for him. Mama looks at Travis and says that she .".. went out and... bought you a house! ... It's going to be yours when you get to be a man" (1417). This gift to Travis serves two purposes.
Not only does it provide him with a stepping stone for starting his own family but also it is a tie that will bind the Youngers closer together. Mama knows that money and living space is a difficulty for her family. Mama's gift to her grandson shows how she is trying to help her family move on and move up in life. Mama's relationship with Beneatha expresses a sense of nurturing shown in life lessons. A very subtle display of gentleness towards her daughter is in reference to relationships. When Mama inquires about a young African American man her daughter has an interest in, Beneatha tells her mother that he is a fool.
Mama's response is merely "Well - I guess you better not waste your time with no fools" (1420). Mama's lack of questioning or second guessing her daughter and her understanding and respecting her view are well received by Beneatha. This sense of nurturing brings them closer together and leaves both mother and daughter happy. Family values are the context of Mama's second nurturing lesson to Beneatha. After a conflictive encounter with her brother, Beneatha expresses a lack of respect and love for Walter. Lena Younger first quickly ensures that she correctly heard her daughter.
Although Mama does not come across as gentle as she has in the past, her nurturing attitude comes out again. Her response to her daughter is that "There's always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing" (1443). Family is an important part of the Youngers' life and Mama's nurturing quality helps to ensure that it continues to be. Although Mama may come off as being hard on Walter, she is nurturing to him nonetheless through releasing him into his own manhood. While arguing over Mama's decision to purchase a house, Walter is cut loose and set free into manhood.
Mama tells her son to take the left over money and deposit it into a bank account. She goes on to say .".. from now on any penny that come out of it or that go into it is for you to look after. For you to decide" (1425). This is the first time that we see Walter in a position of power.
Throughout the play we hear that money is power, so what Mama has done is handed the power over to Walter, giving him a sense of meaning and pride. Mama draws the family closer together by endowing Walter with a position of power. Mrs. Younger looks at her son and says "I'm telling you to be the head of this family from now on like you supposed to be" (1425).
Mama could see that her family was not faring well against the difficulties they faced and knew that something needed to be done. In response to these obstacles she does her best to mend things. From this we can plainly see how she will do what she needs to do to protect her family; she sacrifices to keep them unified. So what do you think? In Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun we can see that Mama is caring and protective when it comes to family. After observing the way Mama handled certain situations we can clearly see her caring, protective attitude show through. Family is very important to the Youngers and Mama is clearly doing her part to keep it that way.
Work Cited Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature. Ed. Michael Meyer.
5 th Ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000. 1384-1446.