A Raisin in the Sun

Joseph Asagai Character Analysis

A Nigerian man studying in Chicago, Joseph Asagai is a student who Beneatha met on her college campus. Asagai is a “rather dramatic-looking” young man who takes great pride in his African heritage and dreams of Nigerian independence from colonial rule. Asagai is thoughtful and well-spoken and he fosters Beneatha’s interest in her African roots. At the play’s end, Asagai asks Beneatha to marry him and “come home” to Africa.

Joseph Asagai Quotes in A Raisin in the Sun

The A Raisin in the Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Joseph Asagai or refer to Joseph Asagai. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A Raisin in the Sun published in 2004.
Act 1, Scene 2 Quotes

Asagai: You wear it well . . . very well . . . mutilated hair and all.
Beneatha: My hair – what’s wrong with my hair?
Asagai: Were you born with it like that?
Beneatha: No . . . of course not.

Related Characters: Beneatha Younger (speaker), Joseph Asagai (speaker)
Related Symbols: Beneatha’s Hair
Page Number: 61
Explanation and Analysis:

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Act 3 Quotes

Then isn’t there something wrong in a house – in a world! – where all dreams, good or bad, must depend on the death of a man? I never thought to see you like this, Alaiyo.

Related Characters: Joseph Asagai (speaker), Beneatha Younger
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

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Don’t you see that they will be young men and women – not British soldiers then, but my own black countrymen – to step out of the shadows some evening and slit my then useless throat? Don’t you see they have always been there . . . that they will always be. And that such a thing as my own death will be an advance?

Related Characters: Joseph Asagai (speaker)
Page Number: 136
Explanation and Analysis:

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Joseph Asagai Character Timeline in A Raisin in the Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Joseph Asagai appears in A Raisin in the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 2
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Beneatha answers the phone and has a brief conversation with her classmate, Joseph Asagai, who asks if he may visit Beneatha later that morning. Beneatha agrees. Beneatha explains to... (full context)
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...crying, Beneatha sends Travis back outside to play, “but not with any rats.” Just then, Asagai rings the doorbell and enters, and Mama takes a fragile Ruth to her bedroom to... (full context)
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Asagai notices that Beneatha looks rattled and asks if something is wrong, to which Beneatha says,... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Before Asagai can exit, Mama reenters and Beneatha introduces her to Asagai. Honoring her promise to Beneatha,... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
As he goes to exit, Asagai calls Beneatha by a Yoruba nickname, “Alaiyo.” Mama and Beneatha ask about the meaning of... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
...the radio when Beneatha enters “grandly” from her bedroom, wearing the robes and headdress that Asagai gave her that morning. She tells Ruth, “You are looking at what a well-dressed Nigerian... (full context)
Act 3
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...Walter’s loss of the insurance money fills the apartment with “a sullen light of gloom.” Asagai enters the apartment to visit Beneatha, who is deeply upset about the lost money. Beneatha... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Asagai tries to convince Beneatha of the value of idealism, but she rejects his arguments. She... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...insurance money her dream for the future has been stolen “right out of my hands.” Asagai asks Beneatha whether the money was hers, inquiring more specifically whether she earned it or... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
When Beneatha accuses Asagai of being unable to provide an argument in favor of idealism, Asagai shouts, “I LIVE... (full context)
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
“Rather quietly,” Asagai suggests that Beneatha “come home” with him. At first, Beneatha mistakenly believes that Asagai is... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...of Walter’s decision, focusing instead on the task at hand. Beneatha excitedly tells Mama that Asagai proposed to her that afternoon, but in the busyness of the moment Mama brushes off... (full context)