Discuss how minor characters represent the ideas against which the main characters react.

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

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In many respects, some of the minor characters represent the thematic elements that challenge the thematic battles that the main characters endure.  For example, Joseph Asagai would represent the ethnocentric elements of identity that Beneatha struggles as a woman of color.  Lindner represents the resentment and racism that White society poses to families of color like the Youngers that wish to improve their lot in life through advancement in the opportunity ideology.  George Murchison represents the economic advancement element that challenges how members of the African- American community must battle through economic and racial elements in their narratives.  These characters are minor in the drama, yet help to bring out the thematic elements that surround the main characters.  Essentially, in this light, the drama is thematic study with the characters representing different elements of these themes.  The minor characters help to bring out the difficulty and conflict these themes bring to the major characters, revealing complexity and intricacy to ideas and concepts where ambiguity is of vital importance to understanding.