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Act 2, Scene 1: Later, the same day Notes from A Raisin in the Sun

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A Raisin in the Sun Act 2, Scene 1: Later, the same day

Ruth is ironing as Beneatha walks into the living room fully clothed in the Nigerian robes from Asagai. She performs a showy African dance so-called welcoming the men back to the village, to Ruth's comic dismay. Walter Lee enters drunk during her performance, making snide remarks on her attempts to find her roots. Bennie encourages Walter's African dance as he jumps on the kitchen table and tears off his shirt, as they believe native Africans to do, pretending to be a chief. Bennie and Walter play-act in a repetitive chant, as Ruth embarrassingly answers the door to let in George Murchison. George plans to take Bennie to the theater and pejoratively puts down her attire. She insults him by saying that he is not proud of his natural heritage, while he claims she looks like an eccentric. She cries that she hates assimilationist Negroes. George's response to Bennie's accusation is derogatory: "Oh, it's just a college girl's way of calling people Uncle Toms - but that isn't what it means at all" Act 2, Scene 1, pg. 72. Bennie rebuts his comment with a massive monologue about her proud heritage and the African heritage being submerged by an oppressive culture, namely America. The two bicker intellectually for a few moments, until Bennie storms out to get ready for the theater.

Ruth invites George to sit down, and attempts to appear cultured and civilized for this wealthy Negro. George boasts of his travels to New York and his experiences with high culture as Walter walks in putting down the "east," saying that New York is no better than Chicago. Walter lies to George about having been to New York and then puts down George and Bennie's college style of clothing. Becoming sober, he then tries to talk business with George, hoping to get some help with his ideas of investing. Ruth is embarrassed during this entire conversation, for Walter is making a fool of himself lying and putting down colored college boys.

Topic Tracking: Money 6

"I see you all the time - with the books tucked under your arms - going to your (British A - a mimic) 'clahsses.' And for what! What the hell you learning over there? Filling up your heads - (Counting off on his fingers) - with the sociology and the psychology - but they teaching you how to be a man? How to take over and run the world? They teaching you how to run a rubber plantation or a steel mill? Naw - just to talk proper and read books and wear white shoes..." Act 2, Scene 1, pg. 76.

Ruth reprimands him and questions why he feels so alone. Walter insists perpetually on stating that he is alone and not even his wife or mother is on his side, working for him to improve his situation and position in life. Bennie enters in cocktail attire and leaves with George, who subtly insultingly calls Walter 'Prometheus.' Walter and Ruth are left to bicker and insult one another. Walter defends his association with Willy Harris and claims that nobody supports him, while Ruth is in shock that her marriage has plummeted so far. She thinks she'll continue with the abortion that she had started.

Walter and Ruth start to speak softly and lovingly to one another when Mama comes home and enters the living room. Walter immediately forgets his wife to his side and jumps up to ask Mama about her afternoon. He hopes she did nothing stupid with the insurance money, because again, he is solely concerned about getting it for himself. Travis camcomes home late after Mama. Mama tells them that she bought a house for them, namely Travis for when he grows up, with the money. Ruth is thrilled, yet Walter is quiet and hurt. Mama tells them that they move on the first of the month to the neighborhood of Clybourne Park. Ruth and Walter are shocked to learn of the location, for it houses no colored people. Ruth eventually accepts the news and flails her arms around saying good riddance to the old house. After she rejoiced for the new home with lots of sunlight, she leaves with Travis.

Topic Tracking: Racism 4

Mama speaks slowly to Walter Lee about her fears about the family falling apart and moving backwards instead of forwards. This is the reason she bought the house and she wants him to understand her actions and emotions. Walter cannot fathom her thoughts and instead voices his bitterness:

"What you need me to say you done right for? You the head of this family. You run our lives like you want to. It was your money and you did what you wanted with it. So what you need for me to say it was all right for? So you butchered up a dream of mine - you - who always talking 'bout your children's dreams..." Act 2, Scene 1, pg. 87.

Topic Tracking: Family 8

He leaves Mama alone in the room.

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