The role of the black woman in black literature has changed throughout time in several ways. In the past several women in, black literature was perceived as dark, submissive characters, as time progressed, the black female began to evolve into a stronger being. Black woman in Black Literature were many a times against the elements of society. “A Raisin in the Sun” depicts few issues black woman in literature faced throughout time; they faced issues such as skin color within their race of gender (light skinned vs. dark skinned), submissive woman, and gender roles had an impact in their everyday lives.
More female characters began to take the role of dominant yet respectable role players throughout black literature earning with them a sense of identity. Inner justice and moral responsibility charged black woman to solidify their position as beings of an impenetrable force to be reckoned with. Woman in literature, established at the forefront, a meaningful desire to reveal the many characteristics of what a black female truly is to the Afro-American family as well as society. At the heart of these great struggles “A Raisin in the Sun” illustrates the distinctiveness of the influential roles of black woman in literature.
Black woman empowered themselves in order to generate a community of an encouraging moral and psychological support through trying times, the woman’s movement was well under way through this challenging era. Black women in literature were once perceived as weak, incomprehensible, and obedient towards the fairer sex, the males, which are deemed to be more masculine. Such ideologies never had much restraint to the progressive capabilities of the Afro-American female in black literature, through time we realize that Afro-American women manufactured a great tolerance in the face of oppression and came out victorious.
Black woman are strong beings and black literature represents the ups and downs that they endured in order to reach the continuing success they gain on a daily basis. Light skinned and dark skinned females in Black Literature perceived to have an assortment of different roles from one another. Despite the regular duties of taking care of the home and children, which ultimately placed, all females of all races on the same level of accountability separated them. Dark skinned females were viewed upon as aggressive and less attractive from their counterparts, the light skinned woman.
Light skinned females within Black Literature were depicted as beautiful and electrifying souls of illumination but on the other hand, they were perceived as weak and submissive woman within the household and on a psychological aspect, one can relate this to Beneatha Younger. Their light skin came with the impression that they were weak and unstable to gain the confidence they needed in order to take control of their environment. The dark skinned women in black literature pertaining to “A Raisin in the Sun” were considered as women of the household with much “say so” in the everyday life of the family.
This type of leadership in household causes a conflict with the supposed to be “man of the house”. Dark skinned woman had an aura with them that signified a regressive struggle that in time will turn progressive and it was felt through their personality. Dark skinned women were defiant and carried the emotional burden of freedom wherever they were. Their defiant qualities to not give in societies idealistic ventures led them to become stronger and more independent. The playwright “A Raisin in the Sun” consisted of the element light skinned vs. ark skinned, and it was prominent within the novel. Certain characteristics were attached to certain characters depending on the pigment of their skin. Beneatha Younger, who is light skinned, was depicted as a gorgeous and educated individual that the men just couldn’t resist. Also, Ruth Younger, the wife of Walter Lee Younger, is portrayed as a beautiful glamorous young lady. The irony of these two light skinned females is that one is married to a dark skinned man and the other is currently dating a dark skinned man.
It seems to be that light skinned females were or are identified by a powerful force of a dark skinned man. Light symbolizes of something weak, faint, or non important depending in what form it is used, but in “A Raisin in the Sun” it seems to have a symbolic meaning for help or assistance in order to be defined. The black females within the novel seem to have independence and will power, their skin contains a thicker substance which life’s obstacles cannot weaken. Lena Younger upholds the qualities of a dark skinned woman going against the odds and establishing her grounds.
Submissive woman during this era didn’t help much to the greater cause of the women’s movement. Submissive woman in Black literature usually are burdened by multiple issues within the household and or family. Black woman in literature represent the oppression that they have endured due to the supremacy of African- American men. This is relevant to Ruth Younger, as she tries to connect to Walter on a deeper level he refuses due to his menacing drive to create revenue for his family. Ruth takes a backseat to her husband’s (Walter Lee) life aspirations and vision of becoming financially successful.
Money and personal goals of Walter Lee ultimately places Ruth in an emotional rollercoaster that crushes her spirit on a daily basis. Afro-American woman were labeled as meek characters to underline their inferior social rank in a male dominated society. Ruth, although she did not want too, gave up after a while in keeping her family together, but she did not find herself well equipped for the task at hand. As a people we must understand that our women can only take but so much unaffectionate love before they eventually breakdown. Black women in literature often at times surrender to the needs of a man in return for love.
This is true in a sense, in the novel Ruth gives in to Walter and decides to tell Mama about the investment into the liquor store. Ruth did not want to bring this issue up with Mama but because it made Walter happy she decided to attempt it just so that Walter can acknowledge her in a loving manner. Can the rigid line of Afro-American men and women ever be broken to allow equality? The submissiveness of our women creates a cycle of low self esteem women in our communities which should not be tolerated. Women have become demoralized due to the selfish acts of controllable men.
There is a better way to live than to simply remain under the control of men. Gender roles must be vanished in order to dismantle the submissiveness of our black women. Gender roles within society places a norm that everyone unconsciously abides by without realizing. Have the roles of women progressed or regressed in the battle of equality? The male characters in “Raisin in the Sun” are portrayed as irresponsible and lacking direction for the family (Walter), while the females on the other hand are responsible (Mama), ambitious and disciplined (Benny), and supportively nurturing (Ruth).
The females hold qualities of respectable and determined women that can create change for a bigger purpose. One has to question, if the women of this era can sustain such mannerism, then why can’t they receive the same equal treatment as men? The question will forever live on until society changes that perception of equality. The novel places gender role to bring about the conflict at hand. The conflict is an underlying characteristic of what a man should and should not be. Mama was head of the household because she is responsible enough to budget, be responsible, and are for her family. Since Mama was capable of doing these things she was automatically deemed head of the house, to a man this a big pill to swallow, not being able to be acknowledged as the head of the house challenges the manhood of Walter Lee. The gender role here is reversed and the qualities of a man become apparent in a female, meaning that a man isn’t a man just because of physical attributes but because of the way he upholds and creates opportunities from his responsibilities.
In conclusion, “A Raisin in the Sun” depicts few issues black woman in literature faced throughout time; they faced issues such as skin color within their race of gender (light skinned vs. dark skinned), submissive woman, and gender roles had an impact in their everyday lives both negatively and positively. Dark skinned females were viewed upon as strong emotionally but less attractive to their light skinned counterparts. Black woman in literature represent the oppression that they have endured due to the supremacy of African- American men.
This caused them to become submissive in return for affection. Gender roles within society places a norm that everyone unconsciously abides by without realizing. A Raisin in the Sun identifies the roles of women and how dominant they can become and how they can be dominated as well to the men they love. The strong dominant woman, such as Mama, was a leader within the home because she maintained the responsibilities of a man on a consistent basis. Physical attributes do not make you a man, but the responsibilities and the demeanor of a man are seen through action.