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A Raisin in The Sun' by Joseph Asagai: Critical Essay

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In the story, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, the dichotomy of African American life is explored within the roles of Joseph Asagai and George Murchison; Boyfriends of Beneatha Younger. Asagai and Murchison represent this conflict. Despite both characters being attracted to Beneatha, George is Joseph’s polar opposite. George is a wealthy pedant, who values material success and embraces Western civilization. He is depicted as a rather callous man with a superiority complex, and he does not support Beneatha’s future aspirations. Unlike Joseph Asagai, George has very little in common with Beneatha and is more concerned with his social status than appreciating his African ancestry in experience, when they want to take either American or African. African Americans experience a good deal of struggle when they want to take both African and show more content.

This conflict between assimilation and entirely assuming Pan-Africanism is depicted by the roles of George and Joseph. George is the person who personifies assimilation. He criticizes Beneatha’s raw hair and measures individuality by American standards. Joseph Asagai is George’s foil and the ardent advocate of Pan-Africanism. Joseph is an international student from Nigeria who is madly in love with Beneatha and expects her to go back with him to Nigeria. While Beneatha is more attracted to the honest, charming, caring Joseph Asagai, she is not willing to totally accept Pan-Africanism and refuses to assimilate into African society. Beneatha’s reluctance and difficulty in choosing the right way in presenting some African American citizen's struggle to accept Pan-Africanism within the mid-twentieth century period.

Joseph Asagai shows up twice in the play, in Act I Scene II, and in the third and last act. His name, fundamentally his last name, uncovers a great deal about this character, as an Asagai is a war spear utilized by exploiting the groups of southern Africa. However, it could also be interpreted as a trace of a distinctive variety of struggles: the one for finding one’s identity. As will be called attention to, Asagai is a key decision as Beneatha continued looking for herself. There is no direct data on Asagai’s bodily facets or his fashion of dress. But in view that he factors out that Beneatha’s coiffure imitates the hair of a white man or woman in Act I, Scene II, and considering he takes a lot of satisfaction in his African identity, we can anticipate that he does now not costume in an “assimilated” way with nearly entire certainty. This would be a contradiction to his moves, and in the play, there is no information that factors into Asagai being a contradictory persona in this aspect. Apart, Beneatha, a wise and assured character, would likely have pointed out his contradictions if there have been any. Asagai himself mentions in Act III that in his village “it is the incredible man 'who can even study a newspaper” (Hansberry, p. 1002), from which we can also conclude that he is from the Nigerian countryside.

Throughout the play, Asagai is portrayed as an intelligent, well-mannered, and eloquent character that additionally suggests a lot of recognition to the elderly, in this case to Mama in Scene II of the first act. Nevertheless, in the first act, he talks truly mockingly to Beneatha, teasing her about the seriousness of her search for her identity. Since Asagai is positive about his identification, he talks from a role of superiority that comes close to arrogance. On the other hand, he suggests that his relationship with Beneatha is something he values and takes seriously, in fact, he is the one longing for something “more unembellished”, while Beneatha wants time. His items to Beneatha replicate her wish to be aware of her African heritage, demonstrating that despite his from time to time mocking tone, he respects and supports her to find her racial identity. This is why he made the quite a terrific effort to deliver her his sister’s clothes. His nickname for Beneatha, “Alaiyo” (meaning “one for whom food is no longer enough” in his native language Yoruba) is some other proof of Asagai’s grasp of Beneatha’s intelligence, the pursuit of information and mental qualities. His second entrance to the play is in Act III, set a few weeks after the first act. The cause for his entrance is that he gives to help the household pack boxes, which suggests his correct manners and helpfulness. In this act, Beneatha and Asagai interact in a considerate conversation, and the mocking tone and his desire to exhibit his superiority, which I have noted in the remaining paragraph, are gone. We can therefore conclude that his relationship with Beneatha has developed. All in all, the character of Asagai shows a lot of qualities, he is depicted in a very high-quality manner. Asagai is polite, thoughtful, eloquent, and helpful, and his intentions with Beneatha are sincere.

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Information on his family background is brought indirectly, in a dialog between Ruth, Mama, and Beneatha in the first scene of the play. Beneatha describes Murchison as “probably the richest boy I will ever get to know” (quoting Ruth), however during the conversation we research that the Murchisons are no longer solely well-off, however also snobbish (Beneatha: “...the only people in the world that are more snobbish than rich white people are rich colored people. ” (Hansberry, p.954), and Beneatha would not feel welcome in their family. In the identical conversation, we additionally get to recognize that Beneatha does no longer consider George Murchison a genuine love of hers, as she points out pretty directly: “Oh I just suggest I couldn’t ever be absolutely serious about George. He’s so shallow” (Hansberry, p. 954). Additionally, when asked with whom she is going out, she says his title with displeasure. In distinction to Beneatha, her family is quite fond of the notion that their daughter or granddaughter ought to marry such a prosperous person. Beneatha, on the other hand, confidently assumes that as a future doctor, she will no longer need to take money into account when deciding on a husband.

Compared to Asagai, George Murchison doesn’t disclose a lot about his thoughts and political or intellectual positions. On stage, he doesn’t talk as lots as Asagai and on the whole reacts to different characters with one-liners. As I will point out below, this contributes to his look as a “shallow” character that he is portraying himself throughout the entirety of the play and that the readers would assume that he is the bad character that everyone would assume and hurt Beneatha due to his ideologies.

Physically, he is described as good-looking, except for any greater unique information. He wears stylish clothes that disclose that he is coming from a rich historical past and are regarded as typical of “college boys” by way of Walter. He orders Beneatha to exchange her coiffure returned to the one she wore earlier than Asagai satisfied her to swap to an extra herbal one, and to alternate her clothes, when you considering that she is wearing the African robes Asagai gave to her. In doing so, his tone is downright disrespectful (“Look honey, we’re going to the theater, we’re not going to be in it...” (Hansberry, p. 972). Regarding Beneatha’s quest for know-how on African culture, Murchison also indicates a boastful and dismissive attitude. This goes beyond the discussion about hairstyles, as Beneatha shifts the theme to a more typical one, exclaiming that she “hates assimilationist Negroes” (p.972). Murchison reacts by mocking her, paraphrasing the Pan-Africanist discourse of pride in the outstanding West African civilizations. Thereby he reveals a crucial characteristic of his: his rejection of his African roots is not fueled by using ignorance, he knows the terminology of Pan- Africanism. Rather, he openly dismisses it because he thinks it has no value. He is an individual who does now not -want to know more, for the reason that his best is adapting to mainstream American society.

This first impression is deepened in the second scene of Act II when Murchison and Beneatha enter the stage again. In this scene, we analyze that Murchison is in fact not fascinated in getting to recognize Beneatha’s personality. He brazenly states that he wants her to “cut it out” and that “guys [...] are going to go for what they see. Be glad for that.” (p.982). His shallowness and anti-intellectualism are pleasantly summed up by means of his closing assertion in the play: “You read books - to analyze data - to get grades - to omit the route - to get a degree. That’s all. It has nothing to do with thoughts.” This announcement demonstrates the unmistakable difference between Asagai's optimism and intellectualism and shows why Asagai and Beneatha are completely a higher and more noteworthy fitting fit for each other. In the event that we consider the two men's portrayals of Pan-Africanism and assimilationism, at that point we need to presume that this delineation is never again nonpartisan, yet an underwriting of Pan-Africanism and the idea of dark social liberation. George Murchison is now not basically introduced as any person who doesn’t understand about his heritage, but as any person who doesn’t -want to recognize whatever about it. His pursuit of cash and an instructional degree is fueled with the aid of egoistic and material desires, no longer by idealistic motives, as in the case of Asagai.

In conclusion, with these two characters Joseph Asagai and George Murchison, it is shown throughout the play that they are two completely polar opposites, and how they are treating Beneatha and the effects that are shown towards the family and her.

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