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Compare and contrast George Murchison and Joseph Asagai and their views about life.

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gabriela123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 30, 2007 at 8:14 AM via web

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Compare and contrast George Murchison and Joseph Asagai and their views about life.

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bmadnick | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted May 30, 2007 at 9:24 AM (Answer #1)

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The two men are exact opposites from one another.

Joseph Asagai is from Nigeria and encourages Beneatha to be proud of her African heritage, such as letting her hair grow naturally rather than straightening it. He wants black Americans to embrace their roots and not be afraid of showing where they come from. He does still have old-fashioned ideas about a women, however. He doesn't think women should be independent from a man.

George Murchison is from a wealthy black American family. He doesn't care about his African roots or heritage. He feels money and education is the only way to be successful. He's very concerned about outward appearances and behaving properly in white society.

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alanrice | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Adjunct Educator

Posted June 6, 2007 at 3:15 AM (Answer #2)

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One of the most significant differences is how these two characters see themselves. George is an assimilationist. He acts white, embraces white values, and even dresses like a white man, down to his "faggotty white shoes." The theme of identity is central to the play, and George seems to be trying to reinvent himself as something he is not. He is ambitious, materialistic, and self-centered.

Asagai is proud of his heritage, but he doesn't make any particular effort to prove to others who he really is. And by the same token, he believes that service to others is a worthy, worthwhile thing, in contrast to George's materialism. Asagai is not afraid of being different; he would be one to embrace what we now call "diversity.

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