The Protagonist in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

In the Play “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry there are two main character’s that many people debate upon to be the protagonist of the play. Those two characters are Mama and Walter. The story is about an African American family living in Chicago in the 1950’s. During this time period race was a large issue in that area. The family consists of three generations, Mama being the mother and grandmother has a lot of responsibilities as what I see her to be as the families anchor. The next generation is Walter his wife Ruth and his sister Beneatha. Walter and Ruth have a song Travis who is ten years old at the time of this play. Mama is the moral supporter of the family and believes that everything has a purpose and that things should be done by design. One of the main events in this play is the life insurance settlement check for ten thousand dollars that Mama receives. This being a large amount of money during that time period creates many arguments between the families about what to do with the money. Walter is the type of guy that believes his family shouldn’t settle like everyone else and believes that they shouldn’t be held back just because they are an African American family living in what is referred to as a “white man’s world”. I believe that Walter is the protagonist of the play for two main reasons, he isn’t a selfish man, he doesn’t feel the family should be limited because they are African American and he has distinct options or plans for the future of his family.

The first reason I believe that Walter is the protagonist is because he isn’t a selfish man. What I mean by this is when he is talking about issues he tends to discuss family issues above his own personal things. Though at times in the play when he is drunk and loses his temper he does start speaking selfishly, I believe that his overall attitude in the play is for his family to move up the world. I believe that Walter’s son Travis is the main reason why he acts so unselfishly. He seems to want the best for this son and doesn’t want his son to feel that there isn’t anything he can’t have or do.

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