Identity Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”

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By revealing Beneatha’s interest in Africa to be genuine, coupled with her excitement, Hansberry expresses a sense of pride in returning to one’s roots as well as encourages African Americans to embrace theirs. Hansberry connects African heritage to not only a sense of belonging, but also hope in an unpredictable, and difficult future, which as a result gives strength, and hope to African Americans in a time when they faced resentment and segregation in various parts of the United States. This message continues today as a source of pride for one’s heritage as well as hope in times of trouble, such as the economic trouble faced by many Americans in the recent years.

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However, Kristin Matthews argues that the focus on pan-Africanism takes Blacks away from more pressing issues like racism and civil rights.

She states that during Beneatha’s dance her eyes are far away back to the past as a means of challenging the racist capitalist system represented by George Murchison (Matthews 563). Yet, by fantasizing in the past, Beneatha fails to focus on the issues of the present, thus inhibiting her from making time-relevant decisions regarding her current predicament and future. Matthews points out that a returning to one’s African heritage does not solve one’s problems in their own country nor does it change the problems that the Younger family faces moving to an all-white neighborhood. However, despite Matthews’ arguments that returning to one’s African heritage pulls that attention from more issues at home. Hansberry’s focus and encouragement still creates a sense of pride for African Americans in their African roots.

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