What does it mean to be a man according to Walter Lee, Asagai, and George?
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"What defines a man?" is a critical question that Hansberry struggles with throughout the entire play. In many ways, the most debilitating affronts Walter faces are those which relate to his identity as a man, whether it be in his role as father, husband, or son. Being a father to Travis appears to be the role that Walter values the most. He sincerely wants to be perceived as honorable in his son's eyes. Knowing the family has little money to spare, Walter gives Travis a dollar when he asks for fifty cents. Walter chooses the liquor store investment not just to make more money for himself, but also to be better able to provide for his wife and family. He wants to be able to give Ruth pearls and a Cadillac convertible; he wants to be able to send his son to the college of his choice. As a son, he wants to walk in his father's footsteps and provide for his mother in her old age. Walter is framed by the examples of his father and son. At first, Walter is willing to degrade himself in order to obtain these goals, but he faces a critical turning point when he reconsiders Mr. Lindner's offer. Ultimately, he chooses the honorable path so that he can stand before his son Travis with pride.
George considers himself a very masculine man. He believes men to be superior and affords Beneatha little respect for her ideas and dreams. George is well educated, well to do, and very aware of the "class" differences between himself and Beneatha's family.
Asagai is comfortable in his skin and embraces African culture. He emboldens Beneatha and seems to understand her desire to become more... to be more. He does not wear his masculinity on his sleeve and doesn't seem to be threatened by Beneatha's feminist ideas.