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A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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In A Raisin in the Sun, why wouldn't Beneatha marry George?

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George Murchison is an affluent college student who has been casually going out with Beneatha. George is depicted as an educated (and rather arrogant) young man; he is a conservative individual and does not share Beneatha's values regarding her African heritage. George is the antithesis of Joseph Asagai and does not respect Beneatha's dreams or her aspirations.

When Beneatha informs her mother that she will be going on a date with George Murchinson, Lena comments that Beneatha seems to be getting a little sweet on George. Beneatha responds by dismissing her comment before mentioning that she could never take George seriously because he is so shallow.

Beneatha goes on to admit that George is by far the wealthiest boy she's ever dated—and even likes him—but cannot get over his snobbish, conservative personality. Essentially, Beneatha does not have deep feelings for George Murchinson and says that she would never think of marrying him because he is too shallow.

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Beneatha experiments with different identities as all young people do.  At this point in the novel, she is interested in her African identity, something which she thinks George, as an "assimilationist," eshews (which he does). This is why Asagai has so much appeal to her for he represents that new (or original) identity in that he is an educated man from Nigeria, having a tribe to claim as part of who he is. The contrast between George and Asagai represents a theme in the novel concerning what direction the Younger family should go as they move toward the future.  Indeed, Walter Lee's chief dilemma is discovering who he is, finding an identity as a black man in a society that denigrates that identity.  Langston Hughes' poem, which the title of the play alludes to, engages this topic through the metaphor of a dream.

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George is wealthy and college-educated, but Beneatha feels that his values are superficial.  The differences between them are illustrated in his negative reaction when he seas Beneatha dancing in Nigerian dress - he thinks she is "eccentric" and she calls him "an assimilationist".  Beneatha has high aspirations and confidence that she can achieve great things.  She wants to continue with her schooling and become a doctor.  Because of her personal ambitions, not only will she not marry George, she may not marry at all.

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