Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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Within the Younger household in A Raisin in the Sun, there are three generations of women. Compare and contrast how the characters each form their unique identities.

In A Raisin in the Sun, Lena Younger is the oldest member of the family and maintains traditional beliefs. Ruth is younger than Lena but harbors some traditional views. However, she willing to get an abortion and risk their family's finances on her husband's far-fetched dream. Beneatha is the youngest of the three women and is portrayed as an educated, independent woman who is determined to become a female doctor. Her progressive ideology seems foreign to Lena and Ruth.

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Lena Younger is the head of the household and the oldest member of her family. Lena wants what is best for her family and embodies traditional views and beliefs. Despite her good intentions, Lena struggles to accept some of Ruth and Beneatha's life choices. For example, Lena cannot fathom that Ruth is thinking about getting an abortion and finds it difficult to accept Beneatha's dream of becoming a female doctor. Lena also has a strong Christian faith and severely chastises her daughter for denying God in her home. Although Lena subscribes to a different ideology, she supports Ruth's dream of leaving their tiny apartment and sets aside money for Beneatha's education.

Ruth is younger than Lena but older than Beneatha, and she struggles to relate to both characters. Ruth is primarily concerned with making Walter happy and even petitions Lena to invest in his ridiculous dream. Ruth also shares Lena's views regarding Beneatha's goal of becoming a doctor and believes that she should focus on marrying the wealthy George Murchison.

Beneatha embodies the progressive younger generation and is portrayed as an independent, forward-thinking woman. Beneatha supports the Pan-African movement by embracing her ancestral roots and is determined to become a female doctor, which is unheard of at the time. Beneatha is also a staunch atheist, which leads to a brief conflict with her mother. Overall, Lena, Ruth, and Beneatha represent three generations and are portrayed as strong, independent women with different views and beliefs which highlight their unique personalities.

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