Act II Scene 2

In Act II Scene II Hansberry reveals two values that regard education. Beneatha believes in education as a way in understanding self- fulfillment and George sees education as a way to get a good job in the future. These views about education show the deeper distance between the two characters- idealism vs pragmatism. Beneatha believes that in order to change society it needs to be done through self knowledge and through the celebration of ones heritage. However, George’s family that they key to a successful future is to get wealthy and gain respect through their economic status. Walter’s view of education falls somewhere between Beneatha and Goerge’s. Walter seems to care more about Travis’ education then Benethas mostly because Travis is a male and Beneatha is a female. This shows the restrictions that black women have. One, their black, and two, their women, and those were two very opressed categories. Walter has his son’s interest held more closely to him even though Beneatha has shown that she is just as academically capable as Travis. Walter believes that the insurance money can help him put Travis through school, who is more of a priority then Beneatha.

Walter describes his materialistic fantasy about the future with Travis- he wants to be a part of the culture that excludes him with all the rich people. In his mind being rich is the solution to all his problems. Most of all, Walter wants his son to have a better life then he himself had and wants to provide Travis with the best education he deserves. Going deeper into this however, this is also selfish of Walter. In his mind, the success of his son will let him feel more like a man and that Travis’ success would be a reflection of his own success as the man of the house.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What effects of Walter’s prioritizing of Travis’ education verses Beneath’s education have on Walter’s and Beneath’s relationship?
  2. Is Beneatha correct about how to change society?

12 thoughts on “Act II Scene 2”

  1. In your blog, I like how you compare how Beneatha and George view education. “Beneatha believes that in order to change society it needs to be done through self knowledge and through the celebration of ones heritage. However, George’s family that they key to a successful future is to get wealthy and gain respect through their economic status.” In this play Beneatha is looked down upon for going to college. During this time period, few women reached a higher education. I like how you showed Beneathas desire to change that statistic. Good Job Mellisa!

    1. I agree with Abby. As I was writing my annotations for this act, I noticed that George was becoming very disrespectful towards Beneatha’s views on education. I also really liked how Melissa mentioned the quote above that Abby pointed out about “ones heritage”. This was shown in the previous act, as well. One thing that caught my eye in this blog post was when Melissa said, “Walter seems to care more about Travis’ education then Benethas mostly because Travis is a male and Beneatha is a female.” I never thought about it that way and would really like to see a quote that would connect to this statement. Overall, Melissa you did a very good job! 🙂

  2. I like how your blog post mentioned the importance of education and how each person views it differently. One thing I’m not entirely sure of is when you said “Walter seems to care more about Travis’ education then Benethas mostly because Travis is a male and Beneatha is a female.” In the text it doesn’t mention anything about Walter choosing the education of his son over the education of his sister. I could be wrong, but I was interested in where you found that. Also, when you wrote “Walter believes that the insurance money can help him put Travis through school, who is more of a priority then Beneatha.” I’m not sure if this is actually true. Yes, Walter does mention Travis’ education, but I don’t believe that he necessarily thinks that Travis’ is more important than his sister’s. Coming off of that however, I do appreciate your opinion on what Walter thinks is more important, as I didn’t think to draw that from the text. Nice blog post overall!

  3. In your blog, you mention that, “Walter seems to care more about Travis’ education then Benethas mostly because Travis is a male and Beneatha is a female.” This was my exact thought when I was reading the play. The double standard that Walter presented does not seem to be the only one, either. He tells Travis that he should not accept a job working for someone with more money, that he should strive for a better profession. He then immediately mentions the landscaper that he plans to hire once he has the funds to do so. This most likely will have a very negative impact on Walter and Beneatha’s relationship if she were to find this out, because she will realize that her brother is seemingly sexist, and this has already drawn her away from George. Beneatha is correct with how she wants to change society. Without women going to school and following their dreams, they would continue to just be seen as objects for men, to look pretty without ever sharing their skills and dreams. Overall, well done with your blog!!

  4. In the first few sentences of your blog post, you mention the differences between George and Beneatha. While reading the beginning of act 2 scene 2, I thought of George to be quite ignorant. He didn’t care about Beneatha’s thoughts and the creativity of her mind which bothered me. I agree with Beneatha and the idea of education to be “self fulfilment”, like you mentioned in your blog post. I also really like your ideas on how education is seen as more important for Travis over Beneatha just because of gender. It’s saddening how men’s education are seen as more important than a woman’s education. Walter was so enthusiastic and eager to tell Travis about his plans for the future so he could have a great education. This wasn’t the case for Beneatha, which in my opinon, is very unfair and unsettling. On the other hand, I believe that Mama is a great influence on Beneatha and her education! Great blog post; I really enjoyed reading it.

  5. I also liked how you compared Beneatha’s and George’s views on education. It is very obvious in this section of A Rasin in the Sun that they both have completely different views. I liked how you stated that Walter didn’t choose Beneatha or George to side within the argument by saying “Walter’s view of education falls somewhere between Benatha and George’s.” Walter believes going to school is an important thing to do in order to educate yourself but he also believes that higher education is a good way to make a lot of money. The points that you brought up in your blog post about the differences between the characters views made me begin to think that Beneatha is in a very difficult situation. All Beneatha wants to do is work hard in school to become a doctor. She has many factors that are trying to hold her back. George doesn’t agree with Beaneatha which can be somewhat discouraging for her. Also, she is an African American women trying to become a doctor. During this time period, it was mostly only common for white males to become successful doctors. Although all of these obstacles kept showing up, Beaneatha is a motivated character and is determined to become a doctor despite what anyone else thought. I enjoyed your blog post and I thought it was very thought-provoking.

  6. The comparison you made between Travis’s and Beneatha’s education is an interesting take on the reading; I myself never made this comparison so it is compelling to see this new viewpoint. Now, looking at the reading I can clearly see this comparison. In Act 1 scene 1, Walter shows his disapproval of Beneatha’s education, “..why can’t you do something for the family?” This display of discontent is a repeating occurrence throughout the play, but he wants the best for his son, Travis. It is unfortunate that Beneatha has to deal with this discouragement at home when she is already dealing with several, as you stated. As her brother, Walter should be supporting her hopes and dreams just as much as he does for his son, but he fails to do so.
    To add to your blog post, it is condescending that Walter is always talking about how much he hates his job and wishes he could make more money. But, Beneatha is going to school so she can have an exceptional job and make more money for herself, and potentially her family, but yet Walter is extremely against that idea.
    Your blog post opened my eyes to an idea I did not see in the play and is allowing me to make even more connections than I did before. Great ideas and blog post!

  7. I like the in depth connections you made in reference to George and Beneatha’s view points on social issues. In an era where assimilation was a huge conflict in the African American community, this on-going battle Beneatha has with finding her heritage helps the play fit into the social climate of the depicted decade; this makes the setting more realistic and mirrors the real world. Raisin in the Sun does a great job pulling the audience into the Younger’s lives. I also enjoy your analysis of Walter, and I can tell you have a great understanding of the text. Overall great job and can’t wait to hear more in class.

  8. In your blog I liked the fact that you mentioned how Beneatha and George shared different views on the value of education. When you said, “These views about education show the deeper distance between the two characters- idealism vs pragmatism.” It was a clever way of comparing the deeper meaning behind what these views mean about the social expectations in their time period. The fact that George values education because of the hopeful financial outcome, and Beneatha values education because of the actual value of one’s education stands out to me. I believe that it has a lot to do with the fact that schooling for men is more of the norm and therefore gives it a lesser value. Also because of the social expectations that men are the financial providers, that causes their view on education to be focused mainly on how education is a resource that allows them the tools they need to be able to attain better careers. Therefore, bringing in more money for them as the provider to their family. On the other hand, women in this time are expected to be the caregiver to the family therefore it is unnecessary for women to obtain an education, in fact it was seen as a waste of time. This can be seen through Walters statement in act one when he says “Who the hell told you you had to be a doctor? If you so crazy ’bout messing ’round with sick people then go be a nurse like other women or just get married and be quiet . . .” Education is of no value for a women, in fact it is seen to be a waste of time and money, because women do not need to pay for an expensive education when they can be taught by their mother how to be a caregiver for the family. This is a main reason Beneatha saw education as her escape from the social boundaries set on her as a woman and why she values the tool of knowledge so much. Over all I agree that Walter may be more involved with the education of Travis because he may believe that it is of greater value to the family’s social status. Overall, I liked your view on this scene!

  9. Love your blog Melissa! After reading Act 2 Scene 2 I also made the connection about education and the different point of views, but your blog goes into greater detail than I ever thought. When you stated, ” shows the deeper distance between the two characters- idealism vs pragmatism” , it opened my eyes as you connected their thoughts about education to their personalities. I also liked your two questions, because they are open ended and their could be various correct responses.

  10. While reading Act II, Scene II, at first I didn’t necessarily agree with your idea of Walter disregarding Beneatha’s big dream of becoming a doctor just because she’s a female. When I read this I figured it was because during this time it was a social norm to expect males to be more successful than females. This is definitely true, but after reading your blog and analyzing it, you did a great job at helping me see your point of view.

  11. Melissa-
    I also believe education is a major value in this play and has an impact on almost everyone in its life. It’s interesting that you pointed out the concept of “idealism vs pragmatism” since it is something I failed to notice in the text, but now that you mentioned it I do understand where you may see that, but if there was a line you found that represented that then I may understand it better. Although, I did not see the idea that Walter favors travis’ education more than Beneatha’s, and I’m a little curious to see where you got that idea from as well.
    In the second paragraph, you describe Walter as only caring about being rich, and I agree that he most certainly wants wealth and money. I think though that he cares about his family and what would help them all strive, so it may not be as much about the money as it is about the greater good of the family. He is always thinking about the big picture, but sometimes he tends to get caught up in his ways of getting there. Great concepts, I’m excited to get more education on your thoughts in your presentation tomorrow!

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