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Raisin in the Sun - Response - Term Paper Example

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Submitted by: Submitted to: Course: Date: Response Paper: A Raisin in the Sun The Gender Issue in 1950’s During the post war period, the American society saw many changes. The society faced several after effects of war. Before war, the American society had fixed gender roles: the male was the bread winner and the female was the house keeper (Dauphin, 2006)…
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Download file to see previous pages Racial issue was also on the rise during the same period. America began to see a trend of sexual equality. Self supporting women, who were often colored, faced more criticism since they were forced into unconventional gender roles (Weiss, 2000).This shift in gender roles was felt by the citizens of society and is evident in literature and art of that period. A sun Raisin in the sun responds to this gender role conflict in an explicit manner; gender discrimination and role conflict are apparent in dialogues of the male as well as female characters throughout the play. Gender Discrimination and Drift in Gender Roles Portrayed In the Play In the opening act of the play, the main male character of the story, Walter expresses his biased beliefs regarding the opposite sex and his frustration about losing authority in these words: ‘You don’t understand about making men feel like they can do something’. This clearly expresses the conflict and insecurity that the male members in sex role transition face. There are many instances in the play that reflect prejudice against women, for example, at one point, Walter comments on women generally: ‘The world’s most backward nation of women!’ Similarly, stereotyping is also evident in the second act, where Walter is sitting with his friends, talking about women: ‘If there is anybody you cannot persuade to take a larger view of life, it is a woman.’ The play also reflects the biased attitude of male members of the 1950’s society towards a woman seeking a professional education, since it was not in accordance with the typical role. Walter says in the second act: ‘Aint many girls who decide to be a doctor’, and he also mentions in the third act that he clearly wants his sister married as soon as possible and he doesn’t care whether she becomes a doctor or not. The other main male character in the play, Asagai, despite being romantically in love with Walter’s sister Bennie, expresses his biased opinion of women in second act by stating ‘Just being loved should be enough for a woman’; implying that a woman should desire nothing more out of life. Female roles in the play are very strong and all three of them express the gender discrimination and sex role conflict in the society via different dialogues. Mama for example despite being a mature and strong willed person, is reluctant to travel alone to Europe and starts comparing herself with stereotyped white women who roam around, unaccompanied by their males. Ruth, Walter’s wife who is a bit more modernized than mama, shows the typical determination of a 1950’s woman by mentioning in the last act, that she will work hard to pay the installments no matter what: ‘I’ll work in all the kitchens of America, ill strap my baby at my back if I have to’. ‘A Raisin in the sun’ also depicts the power and strength of the predetermined gender roles. The women themselves find it difficult to place their selves or other women out of that prescribed gender role. Like at one point in the second act of the play, Mama says to her daughter ‘What do you mean by leaving the house looking like this’; which implies that the older woman finds it unconventional that a woman should go out while leaving the house in a mess, while the younger woman thinks it is normal to do so. The frustration of not ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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