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Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun Mama As The Ideal Mother

1241 words - 5 pages

Mama as the Ideal Mother in A Raisin in the Sun

 
    W. S. Ross once said “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.”  As simple as this quip may sound, its complex implications are amplified through the life of every person born since the beginning of humanity. What attribute makes a mother such an extraordinary influence over her young? One such attribute is the ability to nurture. Beyond the normal challenges of cooking, cleaning, schooling, singing, feeding, and changing is the motivation by which such sacrifices are made possible. One cannot raise a child without mutual respect. Emotion and anxiety must drive her instincts. Her ability to foster is only heightened by minute personal imperfections and overwhelming responsibility that lead to a lack of confidence. Yet the prevailing characteristic that separates a ‘birth giver’ from a ‘mother’ is the unconditional, undying, and at times underestimated love for her child. To be a mother in the purest sense, she must embrace this notion of nurture.

 

      Respect is one of the most sought after elements of society second only to money. Some must have it. Others need to command it. Without it hearts filled with dreams shrivel up like “a raisin in the sun”(1730). An example of such a circumstance is observed with the character Walter Lee Younger. He is the son of Lena Younger in the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. Walter is caught up with his dream to lead his family out of the ghetto by opening a liquor store (1736). He hopes to do so with an insurance settlement his mother will receive due to the death of her husband (1741).  Mama (Lena Younger) is opposed to the idea because of religious beliefs(1740). Walter then becomes like a restless caged animal longing for freedom. He feels trapped and inadequate. The problem at hand is an exterior symptom to a deep inner problem. Lack of mutual respect. Lena realizes she is not encouraging the respect her son requires to lead his family; thus giving him the opportunity he needs by trusting him with some of the money from the settlement. This action effects him greatly and completely changes the mood of the family atmosphere. Respect is a mutual relationship – a two-way street. A mother longs to feel respect from her children especially in her later years.  Any hint to a lack of respect becomes, in her mind, a negative mark against her mothering skills. In the same play Beneatha, Lena’s daughter, is searching for her true beliefs and identity (1745). Mama Lena tells Beneatha that she is to respect the religious beliefs while she is living at home. Beneatha respects her mother but repels against the idea of God (1745).

 

      Along with mutual respect, emotion and anxiety play a significant role of nurture in motherhood.  The two control her inner conscience which in turn leads her maternal instincts.  A mother knows (has a feeling) when her child is ill when he/she is away at school.  She...

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