A Raisin in the Sun Act I, Scene 2: Questions and Answers

Lorraine Hansberry

Act I, Scene 2: Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. Which theme that has been raised before is referred to in the reference to roaches “marching…like Napoleon”? Who was Napoleon? What relevance might references to him have for this play?

2. What issue in particular is alluded to when Beneatha says, “All everyone seems to know about when it comes to Africa is ‘Tarzan’”?

3. What recurring theme is alluded to when Beneatha says, while talking about how missionaries save people, “I’m afraid they need more salvation from the British and the French”?

4. In terms of the imagery associated with the rat Travis and other children are chasing, what deeper meaning do you think might be conveyed by Travis’s words as to there being rat blood all over the street? You must “read between the lines” to answer this question.

5. What theme is reiterated by the fuss over Beneatha’s hair?

6. When Mama asks Beneatha where she is going, why does Beneatha answer, “To become a queen of the Nile”? Where is the Nile, and what great civilization in antiquity flourished on the Nile? Why would that interest Beneatha?

7. When the check arrives, why does Mrs. Younger just stare at it for some time before the family urges her to open the envelope? What is her reaction to actually seeing the check?

8. Why does Mrs. Younger say, “Ten thousand dollars they give you. Ten thousand dollars”?

9. What family problem between Walter and Ruth is again reflected in his saying to his mother, about his wife: “I can talk to her later”?

10. What impending crisis are we reminded of when Ruth says that Walter’s drinking behavior makes her sick to her stomach?

Answers
1. The issue of tyrants and tyranny is alluded to in the reference to marching roaches. Napoleon was a French emperor in the early nineteenth century who deposed the French government, declared himself head of state, rallied his military, invaded and conquered...

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