Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

Start Free Trial

What name did Asagai give to Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun, and why?

Expert Answers

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

The answer to this question can be found in Act I scene 2, when we meet Asagai for the first time. What is really interesting about his character is that he represents a movement within Afro-Americans that concerned a return to Africa and a rediscovering of the importance of their original culture. You can find another literary example of this in the short story "Everyday Use" by Alice Walker, where Dee, the eldest daughter, embraces her African heritage. Thus the name that Asagai gives to Beneatha is a Yoruba name, as he is from the Yoruba tribe. It is "Alaiyo." When asked, he eventually translates it as "One for Whom Bread--Food--Is Not Enough." What is interesting about the meaning of this name is that it presents a comment on the character of Beneatha which perfectly captures her restless desire to know more and better herself. She is literally one for whom bread itself is not sufficient in her life, as she always wants more.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial