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