"A Raisin in the Sun," Vocabulary from Act II 30 words

Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" from 1959 is a play about struggling to get ahead while still remaining true to yourself.

Learn these word lists: Act I, Act II, and Act III.
  1. ornate
    marked by complexity and richness of detail
    She is coquettishly fanning herself with an ornate oriental fan.
  2. enrapture
    hold spellbound
    Beneatha (listens, enraptured, her eyes jar away "back to the past")
  3. yonder
    distant but within sight (`yon' is dialectal)
    In this context, it is almost as if one points in the direction of something that is not physically present.
    Walter: Do you hear the screeching of the cocks in yonder hills beyond where the chiefs meet in council for the coming of the mighty war?
  4. eccentric
    conspicuously or grossly unconventional or unusual
    George: Oh, don't be so proud of yourself Bennie, just because you look eccentric.
  5. dominant
    exercising influence or control
    Beneatha: It means someone who is willing to give up his own culture and submerge himself completely in the dominant, and in this case oppressive culture!
  6. sobriety
    the state of being sober and not intoxicated by alcohol
    Walter (Feeling his head; sobriety coming) Where's Mama?
  7. scrutinize
    examine carefully for accuracy with the intent of verification
    Looking Murchison over from head to toe, scrutinizing his carefully casual tweed sports jacket over cashmere V-neck sweater over soft eyelet shirt and tie, and soft slacks, finished off with white buckskin shoes.
  8. straddle
    sit or stand astride of
    Walter (sipping and wiping his lips with the back of his hand, and straddling a chair backwards to talk to the other man) Shrewd move.
  9. shrewd
    marked by practical hardheaded intelligence
    Walter (sipping and wiping his lips with the back of his hand, and straddling a chair backwards to talk to the other man) Shrewd move.
  10. indifference
    apathy demonstrated by an absence of emotional reactions
    Walter (Understanding the indifference, and offended) Yeah well, when you get the time, man.
  11. sociology
    the study and classification of human societies
    Filling up your heads (Counting off on his fingers) with the sociology and the psychology but they teaching you how to be a man?
  12. psychology
    the science of mental life
    Filling up your heads (Counting off on his fingers) with the sociology and the psychology but they teaching you how to be a man?
  13. gleaming
    bright with a steady but subdued shining
    Don't you see no stars gleaming that you can't reach out and grab?
  14. plaintively
    in a plaintive manner
    Ruth ( Plaintively) Walter Lee why don't we just try to talk about it ...
  15. resignation
    the act of giving up (a claim or office or possession etc.)
    Ruth: Well (She waits a long time, and then with resignation starts to put away her things) .
  16. misgiving
    uneasiness about the fitness of an action
    Ruth: (Coming to him, gently and with misgiving, but coming to him) Honey . . . life don't have to be like this.
  17. implore
    call upon in supplication; entreat
    (An imploring quality in her voice, her manner, makes her almost like a girl now).
  18. abruptly
    quickly and without warning
    (Ruth's radiance jades abruptly)
  19. hostility
    a state of deep-seated ill-will
    (Walter finally turns slowly to face his mother with incredulity and hostility)
  20. exuberant
    joyously unrestrained
    (And she builds with momentum as she starts to circle the room with an exuberant, almost tearfully happy release).
  21. stead
    the post or function properly or customarily occupied or served by another
    In context, "stead" means "instead."
    We was going backwards ' stead of forwards talking 'bout killing babies and wishing each other was dead .
  22. presumably
    by reasonable assumption
    Beneatha and George come in, presumably from an evening out again.
  23. rebuff
    reject outright and bluntly
    (He starts to kiss her, she rebuffs him again and he jumps up)
  24. weary
    physically and mentally fatigued
    Mama and Ruth exchange weary and knowing glances.
  25. acute
    extremely sharp or intense
    Mama (Changing her expression to acute delight and a ringing cheerful greeting) Oh hello there, Johnson.
  26. vigorously
    with vigor; in a vigorous manner
    She is inclined to wave her wrist vigorously at the height of her exclamatory comments.
  27. emphatic
    spoken with emphasis
    Johnson: (All is a coo, an emphatic coo) Aw ain't that lovely.
  28. melodrama
    an extravagant comedy in which action is more salient than characterization
    (With a tremendous and rather insincere sense of melodrama) 'Course I thinks it's wonderful how our folks keeps on pushing out.
  29. undaunted
    resolutely courageous
    ( Undaunted) My goodnight coffee, I calls it!
  30. hysterical
    marked by excessive or uncontrollable emotion
    (Walter's voice has risen in pitch and hysterical promise and on the last line he lifts Travis high)