What internal struggle (person vs. self) does Beneatha experience because of Joseph Asagai’s return home in A Raisin in the Sun?

Because of Joseph Asagai’s plan to return home, Beneatha experiences an internal struggle about whether to marry him and move to Nigeria with him or to practice medicine in the United States.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When Joseph Asagai tells Beneatha that he will return to Nigeria, he also asks her to marry him and move to his home country with him. As the play ends, she is still struggling with her decision, as it would require a major change of direction away from working as a physician in the United States. Joseph seems open to her completing medical school but practicing in Nigeria.

Throughout A Raisin in the Sun, Beneatha Younger is constantly presented as strongly committed to her undergraduate studies in a pre-medical track and her plans to complete medical school and become a doctor. Beneatha has decided on this educational and career path after much soul-searching. She is an idealistic and caring person who dreams of helping others and succeeding in a career that was not very welcoming to African American women.

Beneatha’s relationships with two different men, in contrast, undergo numerous changes throughout the play. Initially, she is dating George Murchison, an African American man from a well-to-do family. Although her intentions regarding a future with George are by no means certain, her family members seem to think they will end up together. Beneatha is also friends with a Nigerian man, Joseph Asagai. She becomes increasingly dissatisfied with George’s bourgeois values as her interest in Africa deepens.

Near the play’s end, it becomes clear that Joseph’s interest in her was not just friendship, as he asks her to accompany him to Nigeria. When the play ends, she has not yet decided whether to accept Joseph, but empathically rejects any idea of marrying George.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on March 4, 2021
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial