Although the importance of family is an obvious theme, Handlebars intensifies the fact that those who are in severe poverty have to make hard decisions in order to survive. Rut’s decision to abort her pregnancy due to the fact that there is not adequate space or financial means for the new baby is the greatest sacrifice. The last thing she is thinking about is the importance of a seventh generation of the Younger family. As for Lena the acting head of the household, she is determined to provide for her family.
She is more concerned about encouraging moral values and supporting the current condition of her family, than whether or not she is going to have more grandchildren. Ordination makes reference to the Book of Ruth, stating, “the character Ruth resembles the biblical Ruth in her devotion to her mother-in-law’ (1). Although there is some resemblance, for instance how Ruth is devoted to Lena, Ordination’s article seems to focuses more on the story of Ruth rather than what the Book of Ruth is really trying to convey.
In the bible, the Book of Ruth is a tale of loyalty and love. The crucial points are faithfulness, compassion, respect, protection and redemption and seem to be the main theme of Handlebars play. Lena remains faithful to her family and to God throughout the play, sugarless of the hardships. When Beneath begins to question her belief in God by stating “God is just one idea don’t’ accept” (Handlebars 1926). It is her mother who brings her back to reality by forcing Beneath to repeat, “In my mothers house there is still a God” (Handlebars 1926).
It is also Lena that places trust in her son, Walter Lee, when she gives him the remainder of the inheritance, offering him the chance to prove his accountability to his sister and as head of his household. Lena believes good ethics and believing in God will bring good fortune. It is Lens’s devotion to her family that reunites them n their time of confliction. Once the Younger begin to respect one another and accept that they each have a dream, they begin to reunite and fight against the forces of poverty and discrimination.
The characters accept that life is full of uncertainty by moving into a neighborhood where they may not be welcomed and vow to work hard to succeed. By putting the family first, the individual dreams begin to emerge. Beneath is offered a chance to become a wife and a doctor in Africa. Walter Lee finally becomes head of the household after standing up for his family’s rights. Ruth is TABLE to protect her family and avoided aborting ere baby. Lena was TABLE to continue to nurture her family by providing them with new home while obtaining her dream of one day having a garden.
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