“African- American girls are better taught to reach stars"


the discourse of power
the American dream

How to Cite



Hansberry raises racial and gender issues by putting on stage an African family whose female members have gone through an alienating experience because of gender inequality and racial denigration. This article studies the double marginalization of women within a community of white Americans. The play encompasses three generations of African American characters who, although do not share the same mindscape, have the same goal of debunking stereotypes. The first generation is represented by Mama Lina, who strives to achieve her dream of racial integration. She debunks the traditional image of black mammies who used to be servants. The second generation is embodied by Ruth, who goes out of the domestic sphere and helps her husband in achieving the American dream of financial success. The third female voice has a more revolutionary spirit. Beneatha is the paragon of female intellectual talents. She is constantly looking for self-definition and has a fervent wish to become a philanthropic doctor. She celebrates her African roots after she meets her Nigerian lover. She wears traditional African cloths, uses the Yoruba dialect, learns about the glorious history of the ancient continent “Mama Africa”, and loves her nappy hair.

In order to study the subtle review of the masculine discourse of power, as made by the playwright, this paper will be divided into two parts. The first discusses the historical background of the condition of African American women in the aftermath of the Second World War, and the policies of the Truman administration regarding black women. Then, a thematic study will be conducted. I will analyse the way in which each of the three women dismantles the racial fetters.