A Raisin in the Sun

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George Murchison Character Analysis

A wealthy young man who dates Beneatha. Raised in a well-to-do black family, George is somewhat shallow and conceited, taking great pride in his family’s social status and his ability to make highbrow cultural references. In addition to his wealth George is good-looking, and the Youngers approve of his relationship with Beneatha, although her interest in him is never strong and fades during the course of the play. Unlike Asagai, George does not pride himself on his African heritage and he isn’t interested in Beneatha’s intellect.

George Murchison Quotes in A Raisin in the Sun

The A Raisin in the Sun quotes below are all either spoken by George Murchison or refer to George Murchison. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dreams Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of A Raisin in the Sun published in 2004.
Act 2, Scene 1 Quotes

Oh, dear, dear, dear! Here we go! A lecture on the African past! On our Great West African Heritage! In one second we will hear all about the great Ashanti empires; the great Songhay civilizations; and the great sculpture of Bénin – and then some poetry in the Bantu – and the whole monologue will end with the word heritage! Let’s face it, baby, your heritage is nothing but a bunch of raggedy-assed spirituals and some grass huts!

Related Characters: George Murchison (speaker)
Page Number: 81
Explanation and Analysis:

Beneatha enters the living room, clad in the Nigerian robes that Asagai has given her. She changes the record Ruth is playing, saying “Enough of this assimilation junk,” puts on a Nigerian record, and dances. Ruth teases Beneatha for her behavior, but Beneatha keeps dancing. Walter then enters the apartment after a night of drinking. He drunkenly dances along with Beneatha, and then turns to see George Murchison, Beneatha’s suitor, at the door. Shocked by her appearance, George looks at Beneatha’s robes and asks her to change. She then takes off the headdress to reveal natural, curly hair cut short. George and Ruth are stunned that Beneatha proudly wears her hair in its natural form. In a moment of awe, George says, "What have you done to your head?" Beneatha answers matter-of-factly that she's cut her hair off. George then tells Beneatha that she isn’t making a statement—she’s just being eccentric. Making a jab at George, Beneatha replies that she “hates assimilationist negroes,” describing them (and thereby George) as people who give up their own culture to survive in an oppressive one. George replies with this quote, which infuriates Beneatha. 

Here, George expresses his exhaustion with Beneatha's newfound "Back to Africa" sentiments, and even pokes fun at the heritage they share. In this moment, Hansberry distills an important cultural conversation that was happening during the time A Raisin In The Sun was written. In the 1950s and 60s, many Civil Rights leaders like Malcolm X reinforced the idea that black people should reclaim their African heritage. Many believed that assimilating to American culture meant assimilating to White culture, and thus submitting to the oppressor. However, others believed that in order to close the racial gap in America, people had to come together. Some simply felt that making a statement like Beneatha's was petty and unnecessary. George represents this group of people. He is in many ways self-hating and discriminatory against his own heritage. George prides himself on his education and upward mobility, and sees Beneatha's act of expression as childish and silly.

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George: You’re all wacked up with bitterness, man.
Walter: And you – ain’t you bitter, man? Ain’t you just about had it yet? Don’t you see no stars gleaming that you can’t reach out and grab? You happy? – You contented son-of-a-bitch – you happy? You got it made? Bitter? Man, I’m a volcano. Bitter? Here I am a giant – surrounded by ants! Ants who can’t even understand what it is the giant is talking about.

Related Characters: Walter Lee Younger (speaker), George Murchison (speaker)
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:

Just before this, Walter mocks George's appearance and then comments on the success of George's father. He hints that he has a business venture he wants to get into, and would like to sit down with George to talk about it. George clearly dismisses Walter. This infuriates Walter, who retorts with a series of insults. Walter tells George that his education is pointless and all he is learning is to "talk proper and read books and wear them faggoty looking white shoes." George tells Walter that he's just bitter about his own lack of success. Walter, angrily expresses that he doesn't understand why people won't allow themselves to dream as big as he does. In his mind, George should also be bitter. Walter has dreams he can't touch and George chooses to ignore them. In Walter's perspective, George is an ant with small goals and small aspirations. 

In this scene, Hansberry brings up themes of dreams, pride, and gender roles. George's blatant ignoring of Ruth (as he does earlier in the conversation) and engagement with Walter highlights different forms of disrespect. George doesn't bother paying attention to or listening to Ruth because she is a woman. On the other hand, he is also rude and sarcastic with Walter. This moment also highlights different types of pride. George's pride lies in his social standing, education, and assimilation into white society. Walter's pride is in his dreams. Both also hold pride in their manhood. Walter comments on George's clothes, hinting that they are flamboyant and feminine, while also referencing himself as a "volcano" as a means to reinforce his masculinity. 


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George Murchison Character Timeline in A Raisin in the Sun

The timeline below shows where the character George Murchison appears in A Raisin in the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Dreams Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...will go on a date with tomorrow night. “With displeasure,” Beneatha says it will be George Murchison, a “rich” young man whom she condemns as “shallow.” Ruth disagrees with Beneatha’s dismissal... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...subtly” to convey the intensity of Walter’s vision. Suddenly, Ruth turns off the music and George Murchison arrives at the apartment, putting an end to Walter’s fantasy. (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Embarrassed, Ruth orders Walter off of the table. He exits. Looking at Beneatha’s African garb, George tells Beneatha to go dress properly for their date, snidely saying that they’re going to... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Ruth tries to make small talk with George while Beneatha dresses. George, fairly indifferent, ignores most of Ruth’s chitchat, only commenting in order... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Walter then launches into a critique of George’s college education, questioning whether his expensive schooling is “teaching you how to be a man?”... (full context)
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
After George exits, Ruth and Walter puzzle over the meaning of “Prometheus.” Ruth advises Walter to ignore... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
On a Friday night a few weeks later, George and Beneatha enter the apartment after a date. Packing crates, signifying the family’s upcoming move,... (full context)
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Mama asks Beneatha about her date, and Beneatha responds by telling her mother that, “George is a fool.” Mama replies matter-of-factly by saying that Beneatha shouldn’t waste her time “with... (full context)