A Raisin in the Sun Act 3: An hour later
The ominous mood lingers in the living room as Walter lies on his back staring at the ceiling and Beneatha sits at the table. Asagai rings the doorbell, coming over to help the Youngers pack. He loves moving and tells Bennie it makes him think of Africa. Before he becomes more excited, Bennie solemnly tells Asagai that Walter gave the money away to a man even Travis would not have trusted. She tells him a story about a young boy named Rufus who fell on his face and was fixed up by doctors. Since then, she wanted to become a doctor so that she could cure - become close to the truth. She no longer feels that anymore. Asagai pleads with her to see the truth and the light after she questions him on the name of Independence for the black people.
"I live the answer! (pause) In my village at home it is the exceptional man who can even read a newspaper...or who ever sees a book at all. I will go home and much of what I will have to say will seem strange to the people of my village...But I will teach and work and things will happen, slowly and swiftly. At times it will seem that nothing changes at all...and then again...the sudden dramatic events which make history leap into the future. And then quiet again. Retrogression even. Guns, murder, revolution. And I even will have moments when I wonder if the quiet was not better than all that death and hatred. But I will look about my village at the illiteracy and disease and ignorance and I will not wonder long. And perhaps...perhaps I will be great man...I mean perhaps I will hold on to the substance of truth and find my way always with the right course..." Act 3, pg. 124.
Beneatha cuts him off, bitterly calling him a martyr, but truly understands everything he says. Asagai then asks her to come home with him - to Africa. He plays the role of the African prince to her, once more, sweeping her up in romantic passion. She is confused and needs time to digest all of the events of the day. Asagai leaves her to think and lets himself out with poetic words flowing from his mouth.
Bennie immediately jumps on Walter for being a failure and an idiot. Walter storms out of the house, slamming the door. Ruth enters, curious about the noise, hoping Bennie didn't say anything bad to him. Mama enters, forlorn and saddened, walks to her plant and replaces it on the windowsill. She feigns cheerfulness and tells everyone to start unpacking. Ruth tries to convince her to still move, that she will work all day every day so that they can afford the new place. Mama knows that they cannot move. She sees things clearly now and says, "Sometimes you just got to know when to give up some things...and hold on to what you got" Act 3, pg. 130.
Walter enters, exhausted, and tells everyone that he called the man to come over. He plans to put on a show for Mr. Lindner and to take the money that he offered earlier. He claims that life is divided into two groups: the takers and the 'tooken,' and he plans to be a taker. People like Willy Harris are takers and now, he wants to take money, as well, because he deserves all the fine things in life, just as much as white people. Bennie and Ruth and Mama are disgusted by his speech. Mama tells him that they are not so poor that they need to be paid to be told they are not fit to live.
Mama tells him that his insides are rotting and that he is sinking too low. An enraged Walter continues on his rampage to get back the money he lost, if even by playing the role of the inferior Negro to a white man. While on his knees, he breaks down crying and leaves. Bennie calls Walter a rat and claims that he is not her brother. Mama is appalled at Bennie's comments and tells her that she is no better than Walter. She and Daddy taught her to love. "There is always something left to love. And if you ain't learned that, you ain't learned nothing" Act 3, pg. 135. She tells her that you must love your family especially when they are at their lowest, because that is when they are the most needy.
Travis explodes into the room stating that the moving men are downstairs at the same moment as Mr. Lindner enters the living room. Mama warns Walter not to become like Willy Harris and throw his proud generations away as he talks to Lindner. Walter tells Mr. Lindner about his proud family and his father. He informs him that they are a plain family, but a proud family who will still move into Clybourne Park. Mr. Lindner leaves defeated.
Ruth screams to the family to move out of the house quickly because the movers are here. Mama is silently beaming with pride for her son, fixes everyone up quickly, and runs to get her plant. As the moving men take all the furniture out of the house, Bennie tells Mama that Asagai proposed marriage to her that day and asked her to move to Africa and practice medicine there. Mama tells her she's too young and Walter tells her he thinks she should marry George Murchison, whom she despises. The two siblings bicker as they walk out the house. Mama and Ruth share a moment of happiness as they see their family united again. Mama tells Ruth, "He finally came into his manhood today, didn't he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain..." Act 3, pg. 141. Ruth nods and leaves. Mama looks at her old house one last time before joining the family outside.