Literary Analysis of A Raisin in the Sun Essay

Walter Younger is the most hopeful character throughout the play, A Raisin in the Sun. He has hopes of providing for his family, even if his hopes may not be the best way to go about earning a living. Throughout the play he is always saying how he wants to provide a better life and home for his family. He is so focused on that goal that he fails to realize the impact of his dreams on the remainder of his family. Walter Younger possesses the traits of an African American man living in Chicago during the times of oppression wanting to live the American Dream.

In the exposition of the play, Walter is obsessed with the check coming in the mail, and Mama giving him the money so he can open a liquor store with two of his friends, Bobo and Willy. The liquor store is the way in which Walter plans to provide a decent life for his family and for himself. He wants the power over the white man, and he believes the liquor store will make him even, or even superior to the white man during the times of oppression. He feels undermined, because he is a chauffeur and because his son, Travis, has to sleep on the couch because they cannot afford to buy a bigger place. However, his obsession with his dream takes a negative toll on the other members of his family. The money is Mama’s and so she gets to decide what to do with it. She plans to put part of it toward her daughter, Beneatha’s, tuition to become a doctor. Beneatha and Walter’s wife, Ruth, both share the belief that the money is Mama’s to spend and she should be the one to decide what to do with it. Walter is so obsessed with his dream that he fails to notice his wife’s unhappiness that pushes her to the decision to get an abortion. His dreams of a better life actually cause h…

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… the realization that he does not need a liquor store to make him happy. He needs his family to be happy in order for him to be happy. Walter matures throughout the story, and his American Dream disappears, and new dreams appear.

Walter Younger is the most dynamic character throughout A Raisin in the Sun. The reader can see the immense change in his character: from needing money and power to buy his happiness to his families happiness providing his happiness. He starts off wanting the liquor store, and then he ends up standing up to a racist man so his family can be happy and proud of him. At first, he fails to realize his wife’s and mother’s unhappiness, but throughout the story he begins to notice and he, in turn, becomes more mature. Walter faces some set backs on his dreams and happiness, but in the end he turns out to be a better person because of them.

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