Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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Describe the differences between Asagai and George Murchinson in A Raisin in the Sun.

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As was mentioned in the previous post, George Murchinson and Joseph Asagai come from opposite backgrounds and have drastically different personalities throughout the play. George Murchinson comes from a wealthy, established family and Beneatha considers him to be snobbish and superficial. George offends Beneatha because he finds it funny that she is going to school to be a doctor and criticizes her hairstyle before they go to the theater. Although Beneatha enjoys going on dates with George, she tells her mother that she can never take him seriously because he is shallow.

Unlike George, Joseph Asagai values traditional African culture and intellectually stimulates Beneatha. He encourages Beneatha to get in touch with her African roots and supports her independent personality. Beneatha is attracted to Joseph's lifestyle and creative nature. She is influenced by Joseph's spiritually enlightened, positive personality and even wears the African robe that he gives to her as a gift. Essentially, Joseph is George's foil throughout the play. Joseph symbolizes the African identity of African-Americans living in the United States, while George represents the African-Americans wanting to assimilate into American culture.

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George Murchinson is a rich man. He and his family are quite snobbish because of their wealthy status. He is a college prep.

Beneatha states that the only thing worse than rich, white people is rich colored folk. Although Beneatha is dating George, she prefers Asagai. She only dates George to pass the time away. He does take her to the theater, and she enjoys that. When she comes out of her room dressed in African clothes, he makes fun. He says that they are going to the theater, not going to be in it. Beneatha resents his comments. That is why she prefers to be with Asagai.

Asagai is from Nigeria. He still has his Yoruba accent. He respects his homeland so much until he refuses to assimilate. He gives Beneatha clothes from Africa. He realizes that Beneatha is truly interested in her African roots. Asagai truly cares about Beneatha and he asks her to go with him to Africa.

Beneatha prefers to be with Asagai becasue he is down-to-earth. He does not keep up a facade. He is a real man who has sincere, genuine feelings for Beneatha and he is teaching her about his homeland.


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