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ACT III: An hour later
This scene opens an hour later. There is a heavy gloom in the Younger household. Walter is in his room, stretched out on his bed and staring morosely up at the ceiling. Beneatha is sitting mournfully at the table. Mama has suggested that they abandon their plans for moving and stay in the apartment. Ruth, totally upset by the entire situation, insists they most leave this horrible place.
When the doorbell rings, Beneatha gets up to answer it. It is Asagai, who has come to help with the packing. Beneatha blurts out that her brother gave away the insurance money, including her money for medical school. It is obvious that her previous positive idealism has been replaced by a loss of faith. She is expecting Asagai to give her sympathy; instead, he reprimands her for her materialistic outlook. His criticism leads to a heated argument. After Beneatha hears him out, Asagai proposes to her, asking her to marry and move to Nigeria with him.
Walter enters the room and starts searching frantically for Lindner's phone number while ignoring Beneatha's insults. He then leaves the house for a short while. When he returns, he tells the family that he has made a call to Lindner, for he plans to sell the new house to the association at the nice price that they had offered. Beneatha and Ruth are repulsed by the idea. Mama also thinks that it is terrible to accept a bribe to stay out of a white neighborhood. Mama proves that her main concern is keeping the family together. When Beneatha states that she disowns Walter, Mama reprimands her for her disloyalty to her own brother.
Mr. Lindner arrives, which obviously upsets Mama. She sarcastically tells Travis to watch the spectacle of his father giving in to a white man. As Walter begins to speak to Lindner, he at first sounds confused; then suddenly he begins to speak emotionally about the pride of black people. It becomes clear that Walter has made the decision not to sell the new house. Lindner tries to appeal to Mama, but she also refuses, feeling a great pride in her son's bold decision. Lindner has no choice but to leave.
Ruth is ecstatic about the situation. She eagerly watches as the moving men start to move out the furniture. Amongst the excitement, Beneatha tells her mother that Asagai has asked her to marry him; they both seem genuinely pleased. Walter and Beneatha then argue playfully and leave the room. Mama and Ruth are left together; they have a quiet conversation in which Mama tells Ruth that she thinks Walter has finally come into his manhood. Ruth, for the first time, seems proud of her husband. When Ruth walks out of the room, Mama stands alone silently for some time before departing. She is then seen coming back into the house to grab her potted plant. She then walks out of the house for the last time.
At the start of this scene, despair dominates the atmosphere. The loss of the money has been a big blow to the family. Their life had revolved around their anticipation of receiving the insurance money and the ways to spend it. Now that the money has been stolen, life seems a little purposeless to them all. Mama alone accepts things as they are and suggests that they give up the idea of moving into the new house. Beneatha holds her brother responsible for the chaos caused in the family. She says sarcastically that Travis would not even have trusted Willy with his marbles.
Asagai comes calling to help with the packing. When Beneatha tells him about the theft of the insurance money, she expects his sympathy; instead, she earns his criticism. He tells her that she is too materialistic and reprimands her for giving up on her dreams too easily. He then counsels Beneatha spiritually and emotionally, helping her to get back on track as she rails against her brother's foolishness. He explains to all that "making it" with the help of insurance money is not really making it. In the end, he asks Beneatha to marry him and go to Nigeria as his wife. Throughout the scene, Asagai proves that he is a wise, charming, and concerned young man, in sharp contrast to the self-centered Murchison.
Feeling desperate, Walter decides to sell the new house at the handsome price that has been offered by the Clybourne Park Association. As a result, he leaves the house to place a call to Lindner. When he shows up at the Youngers, everyone is disappointed in Walter's decision. They are then amazed when Walter begins to contradict Lindner and talk about black pride in general and Younger pride in particular. In the end, Walter tells the patronizing white man that he will not sell the house under any terms.
The whole family is proud of Walter's decision, realizing that he has finally stood up like a man, much like Big Walter would have done. Ruth is particularly pleased. Not only is she proud of her husband, but she is also excited to finally be moving from the cramped and dingy "rat hole." Mama is also pleased with her son's decision, even though she knows that the family will have to struggle to pay for the house and face the menace of racial discrimination in their new neighborhood.
Hansberry uses the last scene of the play to show how each member of the Younger family has matured during the drama. When Mama first learns that Walter has lost the remaining insurance money, including that belonging to Beneatha, she is furious, even hitting her son in the face. Being a wise and caring woman, she reflects upon her emotions and realizes that she is wrong. With great maturity and understanding, she forgives Walter; she then tells Beneatha that the true test of love is the ability to love a person when he is at his lowest. She is putting her Christian belief into practice. Beneatha also matures in the scene, largely due to the counsel of Asagai. When he criticizes her about her materialism and tells her she must not give up her dreams so easily, she realizes that he is correct. When he asks her to marry him and go to Nigeria, it is apparent that she will agree to become the wife of this caring and wise man.
Walter probably matures more than anyone in this scene. Ashamed of the fact that he has lost the insurance money, he tries to rectify the situation by selling the new house to the association at an inflated price. When Mr. Lindner comes to close the deal, Walter begins to change. He is repulsed by Lindner's pompous and condescending attitude and realizes that pride is more important than money. In the end, he stands up to Lindner and refuses to sell the house. It is ironic that throughout the play Walter has felt that money would buy him freedom; in truth, he finds his freedom by refusing to take the money of a white man. Both Mama and Ruth are very proud that he has finally come into his manhood.
The play appropriately ends with Mama, the pillar of strength in the family and the person who binds everyone together. In the final moments of the drama, as the movers rush around to take the furniture out of the apartment, Mama returns to the stage to retrieve her potted plant that she has cared for throughout the play. Like the Younger family who has suffered from their impoverished environment, the plant has suffered from its lack of fresh air and sunlight. Both the plant and the family, however, have managed to survive and grow. The hope is that at the new house both family and plant will thrive.
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