A Raisin in the Sun Character Analysis: Asagai and Murchison
This essay will provide a character analysis of Asagai and Murchison from “A Raisin in the Sun.” It will explore their contrasting personalities, ideologies, and influences on the protagonist, Beneatha, highlighting their roles in the narrative and the themes they represent. Moreover, at PapersOwl, there are additional free essay samples connected to A Raisin In The Sun.
In literature, a foil is a character that shows qualities that contrast with another character’s qualities. The importance of this is to shed light on the qualities of the other character. Foil characters may, but not always, be antagonists. Sometimes, alongside the protagonist, foils are even other characters. When an author uses a foil, they want to ensure that the reader picks up on important differences between the character’s traits and characteristics. Therefore, it is important to keep an eye out for foils in literature.
Foils in “A Raisin in the Sun”
In Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, there is a notable comparison and contrast between the characters Joseph Asagai and George Murchison, who evidently are shown to be foils to each other. Asagai and Murchison share one common love interest in one of the main characters, Beneatha; however, they have major differences that make each have unique qualities. Comparing and contrasting these two based on their upbringing, culture, mindsets, and personality shows how different the two are.
How it works
Joseph Asagai: Embracing Cultural Identity
Joseph Asagai comes from a Nigerian background and seems to value his culture very much. Asagai represents the inner desire of a person who wants to express themselves through their original background. Throughout the play, he encourages Beneatha to go to school and study to become a doctor. He believes she has the potential to make something of herself, in which he supports her dream of becoming a doctor. Beneatha is attracted to Joseph because of the way he enlightens her about the African culture and his traditional lifestyle. In a way, she wants to be like him to be able to follow that path of being traditional and not assimilated into American society. While spending time together, he is able to intellectually stimulate her in ways that make her want to connect with her African roots and pursue her independence.
Then isn’t there something wrong in a house – in a world – where all dreams, good or bad, must depend on the death of a man? I never thought to see you like this, Alaiyo. You! Your brother made a mistake, and you are grateful to him so that now you can give up the ailing human race on account of it! You talk about what good is struggle, what good is anything! Where are we all going, and why are we bothering? He is eager for Beneatha to follow her goal of being an independent woman, and uplifts her spirits about it.
George Murchison: Assimilation and Indifference
Unlike Asagai, George is an assimilated African American who comes from a well-established, wealthy family. He doesn’t respect Beneatha’s opinions and points of view. He represents the complete opposite of what Asagai stands for. Beneatha becomes unattracted to him and his ideal that it’s okay to assimilate into white American society and not want to take an interest in his origins. Moreover, Murchison doesn’t take Beneatha’s goals seriously. He makes fun of her for wanting to become a doctor and makes a rude comment about her hairstyle before going to the theater.
- Hansberry, L. (1997). A Raisin in the Sun. Random House.