Describe Mrs. Johnson in A Raisin in the Sun. What is the purpose of her visiting the Youngers?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Mrs. Johnson is the Younger family's nosy neighbor, who visits their apartment to gather more information about their upcoming move and to offer her opinion on their decision to purchase a house in the white neighborhood of Clybourne Park.

When Mrs. Johnson first enters the apartment, she comments on Ruth's pregnancy and mentions that the Youngers are moving up in the world. Mrs. Johnson easily accepts a piece of sweet potato pie, some milk, and a cup of coffee as she proceeds to compliment Lena Younger and her family. Despite Mrs. Johnson's friendly comments, the audience senses that she is insincere, and Mrs. Johnson proceeds to bring up the recent bombings.

Mrs. Johnson then mentions that by this time next month she expects to see the Younger name in the papers as victims of another bombing. She then criticizes Beneatha's attitude and refers to the Younger family as a "proud-acting bunch of colored folks."

Mrs. Johnson is the epitome of a bitter, jealous neighbor who attempts to portray herself as a friend but deeply resents the Younger family's good fortune. However, Lena and Ruth are able to control their feelings and act civilly in front of Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson simply visited the Younger apartment to learn more about their move and subtly critique their way of life.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial