Ruth enters and there is a knock at the door. Ruth admits their neighbor, Mrs Johnson who has brought her newspaper with her. After making effusive compliments, Mrs Johnson asks if they have seen the news about ‘the colored people that was bombed out of their place out there’. Ruth looks at her newspaper and with an ‘insincere sense of melodrama’ Mrs Johnson says how ‘it is getting like Mississippi’.
Act 2 Scene 2
Beneatha then comes through to visit the bathroom and is curt with Mrs Johnson. In turn, Mrs Johnson voices criticisms of people with education and says Walter should be satisfied being a chauffeur. Mama disagrees and says that her husband used to argue that ‘being any kind of servant wasn’t a fit thing for a man to have to be’. Mrs Johnson rises, somewhat offended, and says she agrees with Booker T. Washington who said, ‘education has spoiled many a good plough hand’. Mama tells her that sounds like him and calls him a fool.
Mrs Johnson leaves and Beneatha returns and is reprimanded by Mama for being rude. Beneath says there are two things we as a people have to overcome: the Ku Klux Klan and Mrs Johnson. The telephone rings and Ruth answers. It is clear from the conversation that Walter’s employer (Mrs Arnold) has rung and is asking when he will be in for work. Ruth tells Walter and he is clear when she explains he will be replaced if he does not return tomorrow (as he has not been in for three days).