How is the theme of assimilation treated in "A Raisin in the Sun"?

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Hansberry examines the theme of assimilation primarily through the characters of Beneatha and Joseph Asagai. Beneatha is a forward-thinking young woman, who struggles to find her identity as a black woman in America. Joseph Asagai is an African student, who is completely against assimilation and influences Beneatha to connect with her African heritage. When Asagai first arrives at the Younger's apartment, he gives Beneatha a gift of traditional Nigerian robes and criticizes her for the way she "mutilates" her hair. Beneatha takes offense to Asagai's criticism and boldly denies that she is an "assimilationist." She is attracted to Asagai's enchanting description of African culture and listens as he encourages her to move back to Africa with him.

Later on, Beneatha dresses in the traditional Nigerian robes and wears her hair naturally, which disturbs George Murchison, who embodies assimilation and the Western civilization view of success. Walter Jr. also criticizes Beneatha for her traditional...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 530 words.)

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