A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun book cover
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Apart of the symbol of the plant, what other symbol(s) can you bring out from the play A Raisin in the Sun?

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Apart from the straggly plant that Mama nourishes in A Raisin in the Sun, there are many other symbols in the play. One such symbol the author uses is the reference to the eggs that Ruth cooks for Walter. Walter feels that the eggs are symbolic for Ruth discouraging his dreams:

“That’s it. There you are. A man say to his woman: I got me a dream. His woman say: Eat your eggs. ” (15)

Ruth does try to hush Walter up by insisting that he eat his eggs. When Ruth tells Walter to hush up and eat his eggs, she is instructing him to accept life the way it has been dealt to him. Walter believes that Ruth is keeping him from achieving his dream. He blames her for not being supportive. 

Another symbol in the play is connected to Beneatha's hair style. In the beginning, she has a straightened hair style that conforms to the expectations of a Caucasian society. Later, Beneatha cuts her hair in a radical Afro style. She symbolically is saying that black and natural is beautiful.

Beneatha's new hair style is a symbol of her anti-assimilationist beliefs. Her actions are radical as she tries to shape her identity to her roots in Africa. Beneatha's new hair style is a symbol that Beneatha is in conflict with trying to fit in and desiring to go back to her roots.     

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