A Raisin in the Sun – Money
Where money is but an illusion and all it brings are nothing but dreams, one family struggles to discover that wealth can be found in other forms. In the play “A Raisin in the Sun,” Lorraine Hansberry uses the indirect characterization of the Younger family through their acquaintances to reveal that money and materialism alone are worthless.
Living in a society where the fulfillment of dreams is based upon material wealth, the Younger family strives to overcome their hardships as they search for happiness. As money has never been a way of life for the family, the insurance check’s arrival brings each person to see the chance that their own dreams can become reality. Whether in taking a risk through buying a “little liquor store” as Walter wishes to do or in -“[wanting] to cure” as Beneatha dreams, the desires of the family depend upon the fate of Mama’s check. In the mind of Walter Lee Younger, the check is the pinnacle of all, dominating his thoughts, as he does not wait a second before “asking about money “without” a Christian greeting.” He cannot see beyond the fact that he “[wants] so many things” and that only their recently acquired money can bring them about. The idea of money and being able to hold it “in [his] hands” blinds him from the evils of society, as he cannot see that the Willy Harris’s of the world will steal a person’s “life” without a word to anyone. When money becomes nothing but an illusion, Walter is forced to rethink his values and his family’s future, realizing that there is more to living that possessing material riches.
When Walter loses his “sister’s school money,” the consequences are widespread and Beneatha sees that dream diminish before her eyes. She sees her slipping through Walter’s fingers and finds her lifelong goals changing. From the days of her childhood, she has longed “to be a doctor” and “fix up the sick.” While her family and friends do not understand Beneatha’s dream, she continues longing for the education she needs to create a successful life she desires rather than one where she is waiting “to get married.