What is the significance of Beneatha's change in hairstyle? Why do Ruth, George and Walter have such strong reactions to it?
Beneatha's allowing her hair to go natural is a disavowal of racist and patriarchal beauty norms, which dictated that she should keep her hair relaxed in order to better mimic popular white hairstyles. Beneatha is seeking to both feel and display pride in her race and natural appearance. This shocks Ruth and George, and amuses Walter, all of whom are surrounded by black women with relaxed hair. They are also doubtless sensitive to the political undercurrents to Beneatha's new hairstyle. Students should be encouraged to thoughtfully discuss how...
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