Review of a Raisin in the Sun
For several of Hansberry’s characters, money is a promise of salvation, a gift to be stored up and fought for whenever possible. But as the story unfolds, the Younger family must repeatedly weigh their wish for material wealth against their wish for freedom. Beneatha, Walter, and the others ultimately choose abstract ideals—education, dignity, love—over easy alternatives that hold out the promise of more money. By dramatizing the crises they face before they arrive at these decisions, Hansberry shows that wealth is not always as desirable as it seems, and she reminds us of the sacrifices people make for their freedom.
Lena’s husband, the family’s father died and his life insurance brings the family $10,000. Everyone, especially the children, are waiting for the payment of life insurance in the amount. Now the question is whether the money should be invested in a medical school for the daughter, in a deal for the son or other dreams. There are conflicts – especially between the siblings – in which it is a matter of who has more right to his dreams, who deserves his dream sooner. Mama Lena is facing difficult decisions. Making the right decision is hard for mother Lena because she wants to make it right for everyone and no one wants to be hurt by a wrong decision. Incidentally, the play tells the story of a family which members diligently pursue work to which in a black-time enemy is neither fulfilling nor bring in a lot of money. As the story of the daughter of Lena, who is still looking after herself, and is, therefore, more volatile while the son of Walter Lee, who soon abandons himself because he wants more from his life because he wants to be respected because he wants to be the white man. Lena’s son Walter Lee Jr. is working as a chauffeur, but wants more out of his life, although he has a respected profession. “Walter believes wealth to be the answer to his feelings of desperation and hopelessness as a slum resident and employee in a dead-end job” (Addell). His wife Ruth is working from day to night, until she breaks down because she is pregnant again. She thinks of abortion, which is banned in the 50’s. Finally, there is Lena’s daughter, Beneatha (desperately wants to be a doctor and her family is very far ahead. Younger than the family believes she would have made the exit from the ghetto, but it must start again from scratch. The story about the Youngers, you can basically understand only if one has lived at the time, but was told the plot very accessible, so that the audience got a feel for this time. The characters could not be more different, but what was very much frightening at first, because one noticed in the faith, was at this time you hold it together more. In principle, the Younger family was doing well, but on the other side as they moved away from each other, when it came to money, the life insurance of the deceased father.As I have said before, each family member has his or her own dream and throughout the play we can see how each member struggles to get this much desired aim. But the story, which shows how different family members are and how selfish their actions, end with a uniting dream. The dream of house is the dream that unites each member of the family. It is the most important dream. It is not for the good of a separate member, but for the good of unity.
Walter Lee also behaves with his mother in the same manner. Walter convinces his mother at several occasions to give him the money as he wants to start a liquor business but becomes angry when mama refuses to give him the money. Actually she does not trust Walter’s capability of running business and this is what hurts him the most. Walter Lee develops a feeling that his mother loves the money instead of him. Walter lee is a day dreamer who wants to do something for his family. He wants to see everybody in a good position and also wants to give them a luxurious life. Walter Lee is not a good decision maker nor does he earns much but he loves everyone in his family and wants to see everybody happy. He believes that he can provide them a comfortable life if he is given the money by his mama to open a liquor business (Hansberry). The character of Walter Lee is the most prominent in the play and has been portrayed by the author in a chirpy manner. Though he is not doing very well in his life but he has a big sense of self respect. He refuses money irrespective of his needs when another man offers to give him the money. This character reminds us about the condition of African American families during the mid twenties. After analyzing the character of Walter Lee, it can be concluded that the character of Walter Lee is the most significant character of this play. Masculinity in his nature is something that is clearly vigilant in his personality. Walter Lee also symbolizes the male ego and describes how African American men used to treat women in the mid twentieth society.
In a word, although Walter had become a man at the end of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, the behavior that Walter exhibits indicates that he unfit to lead the Younger family. His selfishness is one of his worst qualities and this trait could have adverse effects towards his family’s well-being. Everything negative that he does towards his family is led by the fact that he is selfish. Walter’s failure to put family first does not show that he would be a good leader at all because family should always be first. Walter’s trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy causes him to clash with his family, which causes chaos in the Younger house. And his irresponsibility is the last factor in showing that he is unfit to play the part. A leader’s best quality is being responsible. The Younger family will never survive under the hands of Walter Lee Younger.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. USA: Samuel French Incorporated, 1984.