How are the female vs male conflicts brought about in A Raisin in the Sun?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The male vs. female conflict is brought about in the play through a variety of different plot elements. There is obvious conflict between Walter and Beneatha, as both want the money from their father's insurance pay out to fund their dreams of setting up a liquor business and becoming a doctor. This also brings Walter into conflict with both Mama and Ruth, as he tries to get Ruth to help him persuade Mama to give him the money and Mama, at first, refuses to have her husband's money spent on a liquor business.

There is also conflict between Beneatha and George and Joseph, as both men vie for her affections. This conflict is expressed most clearly when Beneatha starts wearing her hair in the traditional African style, much to George's shocked amazement.

Perhaps the biggest conflict between the genders in this play is when Mama tells Walter about Ruth's pregnancy and her planned termination. She expects him to become like her husband and to stand up for his family, yet he seems unable to act:

I'm waiting to hear how you be your father's son. Be the man he was... Your wife say she going to destroy your child. And I'm waiting to hear you talk like him and say we a people who give children life, not who destroys them...

It is Walter's inability to become the man of the house and take up his role as head of the household that causes such conflict between him and Mama.

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