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Lena Younger has received $10,000 from the insurance company because of her husband's death; she gives all of the money to Walter for safekeeping. Part of the money is to be set aside for Beneatha's education to become a doctor.
When Walter's friend takes off with the money for the liquor store (which includes all of Walter's money), the family loses everything.
Beneatha is devastated. She believes she will never become a doctor now. However, Joseph Asagai tells Beneatha that if she really wants to be a doctor, she should. He challenges her to look around her: many people in the world have a life much more difficult than her own. He then proposes marriage after she earns her medical degree.
Beneatha begins to feel better about her situation. Her dream is deferred, but the message of the play that infers difficulties ahead, does not lead the audience to believe that her dream is lost to her; if she works hard, she should be able to achieve her wish to become a doctor.
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