Roles of Women in A Raisin In the Sun, The House On Mango Street, and A Yellow Raft In Blue Water
A Raisin In the Sun, The House On Mango Street, and A Yellow Raft In Blue Water all contain strong, defined images of women. These women control and are controlled. They are oppressed and liberated. Standing tall, they are confident and independent. Hunched low, they are vulnerable and insecure. They are grandmothers, aunts, mothers, wives, lovers, friends, sisters and children. Although they span a wide range of years and roles, a common thread is woven through all of their lives, a thread which confronts them day in and day out. This thread is the challenge they face as minority women in America to find liberation and freedom from lives loaded down with bondage. These women fight to live and in their living they display their strengths and their weaknesses. They demonstrate the opposition many women face being viewed as the inferior sex as well as discrimination against their ethnicity. In this struggle Hansberry, Dorris and Cisneros depict women attempting to find confidence and security in the society around them. Comparing and contrasting the novels A Raisin In the Sun, The House On Mango Street, and A Yellow Raft In Blue Water, three principal images of women emerge: their strength, bondage and liberation. These images combine to depict the struggle of many minority women, regardless of their ethnic background, and shapes the character they draw from society.
"Now--you say after me, in my mother's house there is still God...There are some ideas we ain't going to have in this house. Not long as I am at the head of this family" (Hansberry 51). From Mama's ardent statement in A Raisin In the Sun, addressed to Beneatha, it is evident that Mama is a very strong woman, her strength lying in both her bones and her soul. Mama is stable and solid, unwavering with the winds of change and the force of opposition. She takes charge of the Younger family with the strength and determination of a woman who has the experience and wisdom of living. With this sensibility she will not be challenged in the authority she holds, which is evidenced by the way she speaks also to Walter. "I don't 'low no yellin' in this house, Walter Lee, and you know it" (Hansberry 70). Her strength is also apparent as she refuses defeat even though they face opposition from Karl Lindner and the prospect of hostility and harassment in their new neighborhood. Mama stands firm in her decision to move into Clybourne Park. She is fully aware of the danger that will accompany their move, but says only, "Father, give us strength" (Hansberry 120).
A similar woman in A Yellow Raft In Blue Water who shows strength and competence is Evelyn. Evelyn carries herself with a confidence that is evident upon first meeting her. She doesn't need to speak to Father Tom, only to stand up to him with a single glare. "Evelyn beats him down with her gleaming look, reads him his...