American Literature 3/9 – A New Perspective

After hearing very interesting presentations on the context in which A Raisin in the Sun was created, did you notice differences in your way of reading of Act II Scene I as compared to prior acts?

What are some passages in this scene that might have become clearer or more connected by gaining broader background knowledge? Give examples and explain.

As always, please feel free to refer to prior comments.

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10 thoughts on “American Literature 3/9 – A New Perspective

  1. Based on Act 2 Scene 1 I saw a few differences that made me think clearer about the book and realize a few things. Based on prior acts we see a new character that Beneath invites over name Asaiga who is shown to be different from Beneatha’s friend George. Asaiga is a character who’s more connected to his heritage and teaches Beneatha about her heritage and gives her the opportunity to embrace herself more choosing not to assimilate into the white culture during the time, but when we officially meet George in Act 2 Scene 1 he is the opposite of Asaiga. George is shown to have assimilated into the white culture as we view in page 80 George did not appreciate what Beneatha was wearing as he says “Look honey, we’re going to the theatre–we’re not going to be in it … So go change, huh?” George chooses to somewhat berate Beneatha based on what she wears and what she did with her hair calling her “eccentric.” Based on the two characters we see in the play, I believe it could create an influence to Beneatha whether she chooses to stay connected to her heritage, embracing herself, and learn more from Asaiga or choose to assimilate to the white culture, changing herself to please others, and be influenced by George.

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  2. In Act II scene I, leads to a complete conflict of identity of African American that took place in the 1950s and the 1960s. For example George and Asagai fall into completely different categories. Asagai stands for his African culture while George as a black person assimilating into the white culture. Therefore Beneatha and Asagai shared common beliefs and ideas as to keep their culture alive. In general the entire family are confused in whether to join white culture that might help them to accomplish their dram or keep their culture alive. Their opportunity to succeed is very limited due the existing of discrimination against them. Therefore the story wanted to reveal how during the 1950s and the 1960s The American dream for African Americans were impossible to accomplish due to oppression that is happening against them.

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  3. To agree with Angelica, we see this shift in Beneatha’s character. In Act 1 she doesn’t really embrace where she came from, except when it was brought to her attention by Asagai. Him being in touch with his heritage criticises Beneatha of becoming accustom to the white culture. He points out an example of her hair, telling her she wasn’t born with “mutilated ” hair. Beneatha took what he said into consideration changing up her while look. Becoming eccentric as her friend George out it. Wearing her natural hair, and dressing like a Nigerian queen, listening to her heritage music. The views that both George and Asagai have, really seem to influence Beneatha’s character. Sort of playing tug of war with her, while she is trying to find herself not knowing whether to become assimilated or stay true to her heritage.

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  4. I also think what Beneatha will be affected in a way where she wants to know about her culture and where she comes from as well as trying to adapt to things they do like wearing certain type of clothes that connects to the heritage she comes from. Which she got by being influenced by Asiaga who is more connected to herself and where she comes from than others who want to just forget where they came from and adapt to the American and white culture like George who might feel embarrassed walking with Beneatha dressed a certain way because of being in an American place which is influenced of American culture. Which in my opinion isn’t right and seems scary on Georges part because George might want to be like everyone else there and want nothing to do with his past and is scared of being criticized.

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  5. After the multiple presentations this past week I gained more knowledge on some events in history but nothing that dramatically changed how I read the book. Most of the important events I already knew about and took them into consideration while reading them before hand. Most of the historical events shared to the class have always been incorporated in my views while learning about new things specifically while reading this book. The book does however give me a more relatable story to connect to these historical events. For example, I always knew about segregation and how it affects neighborhoods. However, in Act II Scene I when mama says the neighborhood of their new home Walter’s reaction made me actually think deeper into the situation. So far this book has given me a relatable story to connect all these events to and show how it affects a family and their daily lives.

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  6. To agree with Desuray, I’ve noticed a big change in how Beneatha portrays herself and how she is no longer assimilating into the “American way”. In act one Asaigi criticized Beneatha because she would straighten her hair and ignore her roots. But she’s learned to celebrate where she comes from. Learning more about through the presentations definitely made me see a different outlook on Beneatha. Before a big impact like the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s African Americans often ignored their roots because society told them that they weren’t good enough. But with the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, like the creation of the Black Panther Party, they were tought to embrace their culture, features, and their background which was something never seen before.

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  7. I notice how mama is the center of the family and how she is always trying to keep the family together throughout the scenes. Mama puts a down payment on a house revealing her belief that the Youngers should their own space and property to be happy. Her dream is an example of the quintessential American dream which is the simple desire for consumer goods. Although she wants the best for her family, she has absorbed the materialism drives that society shows. Yet, they are still kind of radical, because African-Americans were largely left out of depictions of the American dream during the 1950’s. Only white families populated suburban television programs and magazine advertisements.

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  8. I believe that after reading Act II, Scene I, that Walter’s dream is in reference to Martin Luther’s I Have a Dream speech. In this speech, Mr. King outlines his dream of racial, social and economic equality, during a time when African Americans were suppressed by unfair schools, facilities and other resources. I believe the two are similar because if Mr. King wasn’t an activist and did nothing, there would be no change or progress. In Walter’s case, he has a big dream, under the similar conditions where African Americans are treated unfairly, if he did not try to do anything to pursue his dream, it will never be reached. In the scene when Walter is seen talking to George, he tries to convince George to get his father to invest in Walter’s dream, this shows Walter trying to pursue his dream. If he did not confront George or anyone in general and told them about his dream, then no one would realize that he has that dream. It is similar to Mr. King’s I have a Dream speech because if Mr. King did not raise awareness of segregation and its unfair living conditions, then not many people would know about it and not that many people would stand up against it.

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  9. after the presentation, I have definitely learned some new information about the historical events, however, act ll scene 1, Mama bought a house for the family, but in the future the house will belong to Travis according to mama, this made me think about my presentation because mama bought the house in a white neighborhood so they are somewhat worry about moving in there, but mama is excited to go there to live because this is a new beginning for them. My presentation was about The March on Washington, African american protested for equal employment opportunity, now that mama bought a house in a white community demonstrates that the march was completely success for African American.

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  10. 1) I didn’t read any differently than in act 1 to act 2. Page 80-81 “because I hate assimilationist Negroes!” This left an impression because Beneatha called George out on him trying to supress his heritage and that he is ashamed. Beanie is fighting for her heritage while George is trying to get rid of it to be appected in the social standard of society. The background knowledge of Nigeria and the type of folk dance and purpose of it. This would help understand what the chanting the clothes represented and means.

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