A Raisin in the Sun Act 2 Scene 1 Summary

     Act 2 begins later that same day. Beneatha enters wearing her new robes and puts on the African records that Asagai gave to her. Beneatha is singing and dancing to the music when Walter enters very drunk. He joins his sister, pulls open his shirt and jumps onto the table pretending he is an African hunter. He pretends to talk to his black brothers, which Beneatha encourages. Then George Murchison enters to pick up Beneatha for their date, shocked by what he sees. When Beneatha removes her headdress, they all see that her hair has been cut short and unstraightened. Beneatha and George argue about assimilationism. George insults their heritage while Beneatha attempts to defend it. Finally, she agrees to change her clothes before they go to the theater. In his drunkenness, Walter insults George's shoes then inquires about George's father's latest business deals. Walter says he'd love to talk to George about some ideas he has, and Walter nods politely but obviously uninterested. Beneatha returns after changing her clothes and leaves with George.

     Once alone together, Walter and Ruth commence arguing about Willy Harris and Walter's unfulfilled dreams. Ruth wants him to stop arguing with her, and he responds by saying, "Who even cares about you?" which is hurtful. Ruth tells him they have grown apart and apologizes for the new baby that they have to deal with. They talk about how they wish things could be different and then kiss as Mama returns home. Walter wants to know where Mama went because he's concerned about what she might have done with the money, but she evades his question. Travis returns home, and Ruth is angry with him for having run off, but before Ruth can punish him, Mama wants to talk to him. His grandma hugs him and explains that she bought him a house. Ruth pushes Travis out of the room and expresses her delight in Lena's purchase. She wants Walter to be happy too, but he is not. Mama explains that they can move the first of the month. It's a three bedroom house in Clybourne Park. Ruth says that she didn't think any colored people lived in Clybourne Park, and Mama responds that they will soon. Walter can't believe that Mama would try to move their family to an unsafe neighborhood. Mama justifies it by saying the houses are much cheaper there. Ruth celebrates escaping their tiny apartment then leaves to punish Travis. Before exiting Walter points out that Mama is the head of the family, and she can do what she wants with her money even crush her children's dreams.

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