A Raisin in the Sun Symbols

Mamas Plant – The most important symbol in the play is Mama’s plant it represents both Mama’s care and her dream for her family. At the start of the play Mama confesses that the plant never gets enough light or water, but she takes pride in how it still stands under her care. Her care for her plant is similar to her care for her children, and unconditional love for her family and despite a less-than-perfect environment for growth and money.

Beneatha’s Hair – At the beginning of the play Beneatha had straightened hair. Halfway through the play after Asagai visits her and questions her hairstyle, she cuts her Caucasian-seeming hair. Her new, afro represents her embracing of her heritage. Beneatha’s cutting of her hair is a very powerful social statement, as she symbolically declares that natural is beautiful, prefiguring the 1960s cultural credo that black is beautiful. Rather than force her hair to conform to the style society dictates, Beneatha opts for a style that enables her to more easily reconcile her identity and her culture. Beneatha’s new hair is a symbol of her anti-assimilationist beliefs as well as her desire to shape her identity by looking back to her roots in Africa.

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