Beneatha's dream is to become a doctor. What obstacles could defer her dream in A Raisin in the Sun?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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This is an intriguing question.  Hansberry shows Beneatha to be the embodiment of the modern woman of the time period.  Questioning the social construction of what it means to be both a woman and one of color, Beneatha is shown to be an individual who is constantly utilizing her freedom to explore different notions of who she is.  At the same time, Hansberry does a very skilled job of bringing out the realistic implications of this pursuit.  There is the monetary dimension.  Beneatha's search for identity is an expensive one, as Walter notes.  Given the family's financial condition, this is something that will pose challenges and problems for them and can be as something that will bring out a fundamental level of challenge to her dreams as she needs a part of the insurance money that is coming to the family.  I think that another aspect of challenge or potential deferral would come from social inertia that a woman of color of the time period must face.  In many ways, Beneatha is battling the social dimensions of class, race, and gender in her own life and the convergence of these forces can be seen as potential obstacles to the achievement of her own dreams, in this case of becoming a doctor.

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