Why Does Mama Slap Beneatha?

“Mama” is a character in the play A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry. The play centers on the Youngers, an African American family living in Chicago in the 1950s, and their struggles to achieve their dreams and improve their circumstances. “Mama,” also known as Lena Younger, is the matriarch of the family and a central character in the play.

One of the key events in the play is when Mama slaps Beneatha, one of her daughters. There are several reasons why Mama might choose to slap Beneatha in the play.

One possibility is that Mama is reacting to Beneatha’s defiance and rebellious behavior. Throughout the play, Beneatha challenges the traditional roles and expectations placed on women, especially women of color. She openly resists the idea of getting married and having children, and instead wants to pursue a career as a doctor. Mama, who has lived through a lifetime of struggles and hardships, may see Beneatha’s behavior as a threat to the family’s stability and security. In this context, Mama’s slap could be seen as an attempt to assert her authority and control over Beneatha, and to remind her of her responsibilities as a member of the family.

Another possibility is that Mama is acting out of love and concern for Beneatha. Despite her initial resistance to Beneatha’s dreams and ambitions, Mama ultimately wants what is best for her children and wants them to be happy and successful. If Beneatha’s behavior is putting her at risk of making poor choices or causing problems for the family, Mama may feel that slapping her is the only way to get her attention and make her see the consequences of her actions.

A third possibility is that Mama’s slap is a manifestation of her own frustration and anger. As the head of the household, Mama bears a great deal of responsibility and has to make difficult decisions that affect the entire family. She may be feeling overwhelmed and stressed, and may lash out at Beneatha as a way of releasing her emotions.

Regardless of the specific reason for Mama’s slap, it is clear that it is a significant and emotional moment in the play. It illustrates the complex and sometimes tumultuous relationships within the Younger family, and the tensions and conflicts that arise as they navigate their changing circumstances and dreams.

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