Essay on Themes Of Race And Sexism

1457 Words Dec 16th, 2014 6 Pages
In her play A Raisin in the Sun, playwright Loraine Hansberry uses the characters of Joseph Asagai and George Murchinson to show the themes of race and sexism. Compared to other characters, Asagai and George appear very little. However, their dialogues with the Beneatha display their opinions on the issues of race and sexism. While Asagai symbolizes the African American heritage and support of women’s rights, George displays the assimilationist African American and the sexism found in Chicago during Hansberry’s time. Beneatha’s rejection of George and acceptance of Asagai shows Hansberry’s rejection of sexism and assimilationism. Hansberry also uses them to develop the major themes of sexism and race in A Raisin in the Sun.
Asagai shows Hansberry’s theme through his pride in his heritage. He expresses this pride through encouraging Beneatha to embrace it as well. For instance, he calls her hair “mutilated” because she has changed it from its natural form (745). His comment prompts Beneatha to connect to her heritage by leaving it “close-cropped and unstraightened,” and thus natural (755). Asagai likewise encourages Beneatha to reconnect by giving her “the colorful robes of a Nigerian woman” and calling her “’Alaiyo’. . . It is a Yoruba word . . . it means One For Whom Bread—Food—Is Not Enough” so as to remind her of her heritage (745, 747). Because Beneatha embraces this heritage, Asagai presents Hansberry’s pride. Like Asagai, Hansberry may want the audience to…

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