A Raisin in the Sun
Character Analysis for Walter Lee from the book Raisin in the Sun Analytical Essay
Walter Lee is the only protagonist and antagonist at the same time in A Raising in the Sun. As the play opens, Walter comes out conspicuously due to his ideologies concerning the money the Youngers are about to receive from an insurance firm as life insurance policy for the deceased Mr. Youngers.
Every person in the Youngers family has a different idea on how they should spend the money. Mama, the mother of the house wants to buy a house for the family. Beneatha, Youngers’ daughter wants to pay for her school tuition using part of the money. Ruth, Walter’s wife, supports the idea of buying a house for the family because this would mean better future life for her son Travis.
On the other hand, Walter seems to have a dream for the family. He wants to invest the money in a joint liquor store and co-own it with his acquaintances. This notion of investing for the sake of the family paints Walter as a responsible person; however, his undertakings are poor, exposing his immaturity and gullibility. Nevertheless, with time, he beats all these challenges to become the foundation of this family.
As aforementioned, Walter is the most outstanding character in this play. He is Travis’ cherishing dad, Ruth’s noncompliant hubby, Mama’s boy, and Beneatha’s combatant brother. As the play opens, he fights with nearly every one around him. In Act one, Travis is asking for fifty cents required in school; however, as Ruth tries to explain to Travis how they do not have it, Walter comes from nowhere and gives Travis one dollar. This shows Walters blatant immaturity.
A dollar is a lot of money compared to the required fifty cents. Moreover, disapproving Ruth in front of Travis is contemptuous and immature. He then confronts Beneatha and tells her that she should just forget her medicine course for it would cut into the cheque from the insurance firm. It emerges that the one dollar that Walter had given Travis was meant for his transport. The fact that he gives his transport money knowing that he has to travel to work echoes his immaturity.
Act one scene II, opens with Walter fighting Beneatha for no reason. He promises Willy; his friend and imminent business collaborate that he will take money to him immediately. This promise is immature; Walter knows very well that getting the money to invest in his business remains a point of contention, yet he promises Willy that he would take the money. That evening when he comes home, Walter is only interested in talking about his business contrives.
Ruth wants to talk about her pregnancy; however, this does not bother Walter. He is so engrossed in his business plans that he does not care whether Ruth aborts or not. As a mature responsible father and husband, Walter should address this issue but he chooses to overlook everything, this is immaturity.
After Mama announces that she has paid down payment on the family house, Walter cannot believe it and he accuses his mother of betraying him and thrashing his dream to own a business. He goes into drinking spree for three days until his boss calls Ruth to enquire what has happened. However, when Mama gives him $6,500, to invest part of it in his business, Walter becomes a more responsible man.
He tells Travis how he would invest in a good business that would make their lives better by the time Travis is seventeen. “Your daddy’s gonna make a…business transaction that’s going to change our lives” (Hansberry 23). At least this is a vision of a responsible man who cares about the future of his family (BookRags Para. 5). Nevertheless, this is only the beginning Walter’s change.
In Act II, scene III, Walter is a changed man. He takes Ruth for dinner and makes her happy all the time. For the first time Walter and Beneatha shares a humorous moment as a brother and a sister. When Mr. Lindner comes to urge the Youngers to stop purchasing the house in Clybourne Park because the residents are opposed to it, Walter stands for his family, tells Mr. Lindner that they do not need the money he is offering and requests him to leave immediately.
Walter is now maturing and takes the responsibility of family head as required of him in the absence of his father. Even after Willy Harris runs with his money, he remains composed. Walter’s maturity comes out clearly, when he stands to defend his family. (CliffNotes Para. 6).
When mama decides to reverse her decision of buying the family house, Walter stands his ground and reverses his decision to sign Mr. Lindner’s papers that would prevent them from moving to Clybourne Park. Walter says, “He says, “We have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick. We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbours. Moreover, that’s all we got to say about that. We don’t want your money” (Hansberry 31). The family moves in their new house, they resolve to dissolve their selfish ambitions and work together, and they owe their unity to Walter.
Walter is a man with many faces in this story. From an irresponsible immature father, husband, brother and a son, he fights many fights to become his family’s foundation (Robert Para. 9). He made many mistakes like making unwise investment among others. However, as the story ends, he becomes a responsible person. He refuses Mr. Lindner’s money, a move that brings unity, joy, and peace in the family, hence becoming the cornerstone of the family.
BookRags. “Notes on A Raisin in the Sun.” 2010. Web.
CliffNotes. “A Raisin in the Sun.” 2010. Web.
Hansberry, Lorraine. “A Raisin of the Sun.” New York; New American Library, 1994.
Robert, Willis. “A Raisin in the Sun Study Guide.” 2010. Web.
Thematic Analysis of Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun” Analytical Essay
A Raisin in the Sun depicts the life of an African-American family of Youngers living in Southern Chicago during 1950s. The play opens with Youngers preparing to receive $ 10,000 for insurance, from Mr. Younger’s life insurance policy. As a result, all adult members of the family have budgeted for the money with each individual having varying opinions on how to spend the cash. Mama, the head of the family plans to buy a house and fulfill her lifetime dream which she shared with her late husband (Morrin and Hansberry 13).
Walter Lee, Mama’s son is contemplating on investing his share in a liquor store in order to get finances that would salvage the family’s financial status. On the other hand, Walter’s wife shares her vision with Mama and hopes that their son Trivis will find the world a better place to live. Lastly, Beneatha gives her medical school tuition first priority as she tries to figure out her identity by reflecting on their history and Africa.
This competition leads to a clash of dreams as more challenges emerge as the family later moves to Clybourne Park, fulfilling their shared dream. They remain optimistic and united as they hope for a better life in future (Sparknotes 101 literature 703).
The play illustratesa number of themes which the writer illustrates using different events and reactions as portrayed by Mama and her family. All the family members have aspirations and dreams which are universal and shared among other people from different backgrounds (Hansberry 25).
Walter’s understanding of this American dream marks the center of the conflict in the play. Hegets addicted to the middle-class philosophy of materialism and believes in rising to become a better person through hard work and determination. Hansberry illustrates Walter’s perception towards Charlie’s business that earns him $100,000 annually. He ignores everyone’s opinion towards his intentions of running a liquor storewhich he adopts with desperation as means to realize his dream.
The same is demonstrated as Walter considers accepting an offer from Mr. Lindner without visualizing the implication of this business deal. He sees it as the only way to recover his lost money. Walter’s wrong interpretation of the American dream is challenged as he carries illegal transactions before his son. He revises this understanding after finding it hard to deal with Mr. Lindner (Sparknotes 101 literature 703).
Additionally, Hansberry develops female gender identity throughout the play by representing three generations of women. Lena assumes the headship of the family in her early thirties after the death of her husband, Walter Senior. Having been brought up in the South during dangerous times of lynching, she relocates to the Northern part with the hope of finding peace and a better life. Despite the fact that Lena is ahead of time, her dreams remain anchored on the well being of her family rather than selfish interests.
According to Scholar Claudia, Lena’s disregard to herself is fashioned by gender conditioning which affirms that the needs of a woman ought to be connected to the family alone (Washington 113). She puts up with her husband’s immoral behavior under poor conditions and struggles to support him. This clearly portrays a conflict between men and women regarding their positions in the society. Women are not considered for material wealth as they are expected to better the life of their families.
Unlike Lena, Ruth engages her husband in arguments although she goes ahead to please him by commenting positively about the liquor business to Lena. She also pleads with her sister-in-law, Beneatha not to provoke her brother about the kind of businesses he is involved in.
She ends up doing all kinds of jobs to enable the family to move to a better house. On the other hand, Beneatha is a no-nonsense feminist college student who is against the unfair treatment and expectations of the society from women (Hansberry 27). She does not see the reason why women are considered less human yet they are expected to take care of their households.
She constantly rejects and criticizes the ideas of her brother who makes misinformed decisions based on mediocre interpretation of the American dream. She challenges Walter’s male chauvinism and rejects men like George Murchison who have no recognition and single respect for women in the society (Washington 111). The writer clearly exemplifies how the perception of women towards their identity in the society has tremendously changed.
In addressing gender imbalance in the society, Hansberry defines a man using Walter whose course of action is mainly dictated by the fact that he is a man (Washington 111). In his capacity as a son, husband and father, Walter demonstrates men’s view over gender balance and discrimination. He pretends to love his son so much and wants to appear innocent and honorable in hiseyes.
He understands the financial constraints of the family yet he manages to give a dollar to his son every time he requests for fifty cents (Morrin and Hansberry 12).
Walter chooses the liquor business to make personal wealth and to provide for his family. He wants to make his wife happy and take his son to a prestigious college of his choice. He provides for his mother by stepping in his father’s shoes during her old age. He decides to degrade in his futile efforts to achieve his goals.
The play generally describes several themes which revolve around the life of African-Americans in 1950s. Through gender issues, American Dream and poverty, Hansberry discusses family life in a contextual manner that permits imagination of the social set up of Youngers.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A raisin in the sun. New York: Vintage Books, 1994. Print.
Morrin, Maxine, and Lorraine Hansberry. A Raisin in the Sun. Piscataway, N.J: Research & Education Association, 1994. Print.
Sparknotes 101 literature. Botley, Oxford: Spark Educational Publishing, 2004. Print.
Washington, Charles. “A Raisin in the Sun Revisited.” Black American Literature Forum 22. 1 (1988): 109-124. Print.
A Raisin in the Sun (Researched Analysis) Research Paper
The paper is an analysis of the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. This was the first play written by a black woman and first appeared in 1959 and it about the life of Youngers, an African-American family. Youngers resided in a segregated neighborhood in Chicago.
The play through its various well nurtured characters have successfully brought out various themes such as sexuality, American dream, civil rights, culture, poverty, faith, compromise, tolerance and prejudice, primacy of family racism and oppression (Hansberry 55).
The essay will concentrate on the climaxes in the play, faith as well as racial discrimination. Climax in this play has been brought out clearly and successfully by the author. Climax is a situation in which there is a clear twist of events that usually take either form, good or bad.
Similarly, climax is used to refer to the end of the piece of art that is usually captivating and can leave people either happy or sad and mostly in dilemma. On the other hand racial discrimination refers to a situation where an individual or a group of persons are treated in an unfair manner due to their skin color or cultural background (Orlando 7).
Thirdly, the issue of faith comes out clearly in the play. This is true and clearly depicted by mama, after receiving the check, she indeed bought a house and entrusted his son with the remaining some. Additionally, the family of Youngers again confirmed their faith in Walter after he refused to take the offer Mr. Lindler was offering the Youngers’ so that they cannot move to their new apartment.
Racial discrimination has occurred and supported by the fact that the Youngers were unfairly treated by Mr. Lindler who tried to block them from going to their newly bought house.
Climax in the play is realized when Walter is made to understand by Bobo that Willy, the man entrusted with the money to start a liquor business has run away with the money, this thus killed Walters dream of becoming a business man. Another climax based on the second definition is when Mr. Lindler the white man was bluntly informed by Walter that the Youngers have not relented on their quest to move to their newly acquired house.
By definition, racial discrimination refers to a situation whereby someone’s skin color is used as a factor to determine a number of issues such as concerning jobs, acquisition of property, and promotion among others. It is generally the unfair treatment of an individual or group of persons on the basis of their skin color. In the play A Raisin in the Sun, there are clear instances where the Youngers have been sidelined as a result of being black (Hansberry 148).
The first case of racial discrimination is depicted when the life style of Youngers is described, a bigger family that only have one bathroom and where one must wait for his turn to get a shower. This kind of life facing the Youngers can be associated with the difficulties of black American to secure employment.
In case they are lucky, they are only capable of working in jobs that have very little earnings that cannot sustain life of an average human being. From the play we are told Walter works as chauffer for a white family, the salary from such kind of work cannot be sufficient enough to sustain such a big family.
Similarly, what Mama says summarizes it all, “We just plain working folks.” On the same note what Walter says about his wife that she has been working “in somebody else’s kitchen for the last three years to help put clothes on her [Beneatha’s] back” (Hansberry 111). It is presumably house of a white native and she endured unfair treatment while struggling to fend for the family.
Additionally, the issue of discrimination came to light in the play when mama bough a new house in Clybourne Park. Mr. Lindner, a white later come to the Youngers family and claimed to be the chairman of Clybourne Park Improvement Association.
When he was offered a drink, he blatantly refused just because it was offered to him by a black. We later learn that his motive was to purchase the house bought by the Youngers, since he (Mr. Lindler) claims that the place where the newly acquired house for the Youngers is unsuitable for them; they do not deserve to leave in such an area.
He plainly puts it, “Negro families are happier when they live in their own communities.” (Hansberry, 73) Although it is not very clear whether, Beneatha refusal to accept the attention of Murchison George a local was on the basis of race, it is clear that she liked Asagai more so because he was intelligent, articulate and proud of their race, Africans.
Use of climax as a literature style is very significant as it keeps things or themes in the piece of art rolling as well as bringing things into conclusion. A good example of climax is depicted where Bobo brought made it known that Willy did run away with the money Mama had given Walter which he intended to open a liquor business, the hidden agenda of Walter then comes to light (Hansberry 91).
As a result of such revelation, every member of the Youngers family was now aware of what Walter was unto with all the money entrusted to him by mama. Walter trust by mama has now diminished so to speak.
This again makes the trust Mama had in him fade away, although she claimed previously when asked by Walter, “You trust me like that, Mama? Mama echoed that she still trusts him. Similarly, Walters’s dream of trying his hands on liquor business hit a snug. Another clear example of climax in the play is when Walter stood on his ground against what he had promised Mr. Lindner concerning the buying of the house the Youngers had acquired (Cummings 12)
The news of Ruth being pregnant can also provide us with a typical example of climax. Although it was not planned by mama, we see her assigning some $3, 500 dollars as well as providing moral support and strongly object the idea of Ruth aborting.. Again the argument between Walter and his wife Ruth resulted to Walter proposing that Beneatha should either concentrate on her nursing career or just get married (Orlando 2).
Faith in the play is depicted especially by mama. She strongly believes in her family despite the fact that she is in hard financial times. After receiving her check, she bought a house for her family; this not only depicts motherly love but also faith in her family members (Hansberry 126).
Additionally, she entrusted Walter, her son with the remaining sum of money. We see Walter being amazed and asking his mother if she had that strong believe in him, and what mama replies is that no single day has she lost trust in him (Cummings 4).
Additionally, through Hansberry 126 we see an act of faith when mama set aside money for the purposes of educating Beneatha. The amount totals to $3,500. No one could have done that especially considering that the family was African-American. This shows us that mama has a dream that Beneatha is indeed capable of becoming a nurse which is her dreams.
On the other hand, Ruth, Walter’s wife has no faith in him. When she found out that she was pregnant, after fainting earlier that day, she immediately opted for an abortion on the grounds that Walter will not provide for the additional kid due to financial problems (Hansberry 117).
From the review of the play A Raisin in the Sun, the use of climax has been brought out effectively making the work interesting as well as captivating. Among the examples of climax in the play is when Walter refused Mr. Lindner offers on the house Mama had bought, additionally, the reporting of Willy running away with the money Walter had given him brought a new twist of events.
On the other hand, the play brings out clearly the issue of racial discrimination. It is evident that the Youngers were leaving in a congested house since they could not secure well paying jobs due to their skin color.
When mama bought a new and bigger house for the family, the white man who purported to be the chairman of Clybourne Park Improvement Association attempted to frustrate their effort just because the Youngers are black. Faith is also clearly depicted by mama in the play. This play is a typical literature on what happened to blacks in the past and indeed to a small extent at the present.
Cummings, Michael. Lorraine Hansberry’s – A Raisin in the Sun / (The Ghetto Trap). 2010. Review of Arising In The Sun.
Hansberry, Lorainne. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Vintage Books, 1988.
Orlando Green Review: “A Raisin in The Sun”, 2000. Web.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun Summary. Web.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry Essay (Book Review)
This play starts with the younger family waiting for the arrival of the check. The check is on life insurance and is to be given to Lena due to the death of her husband. The family lives in an extremely tiny room where this play takes place. Children of Lena are Walter Lee and Beneatha.
Walter is married to Ruth while Beneatha thinks of studying and become a doctor in the future. On the other hand, Walter Lee works as a chauffeur. Every member of the family does not want to work with the money. Walter is working together with men from a low social level. However, he is seriously obsessed with money and feels that life is tremendously unfair especially for his wife and children.
Therefore, he decides to start a business with two men. This is a clear indication that he wants to get money very fast. In college, Beneatha is courted by two men, George and Joseph. George is a person who is rich and is concerned with the materialist things. On the other hand, Joseph is an African who admires Beneatha’s intelligence and spirituality. This younger family likes George just because he is rich.
Afterward, when the check reaches, Lena realizes that the amount of insurance is to take part of her husband. The family advises her to do what she wishes with the money. Walter tells his mother to give him the money arguing that his wife, Ruth is pregnant. Mama makes her mind to pay part of the money for a good house in Clybourne to act as life security for Wilter’s son in future. He pleads with his mother to give him the rest of the money.
The whole family is deeply hurt by the fact he misused the money instead of paying his sister’s school fees. Afterwards, Joseph Asagai comes in and helps the family in packing. He finds Beneatha terribly disheartened and asks her get married to him. Afterwards, Walter is transformed to a very mature man. The whole family is truly happy; they live the, old, tiny, house and go to live in Clybourne Park (Sussman, Linda, Hansberry, Friedland, and Rikki Kessler).
Dreams of Walter, Beneatha, Ruth, and Mama
Walter loves money and, therefore, his dream is to continue satisfying his family’s needs. His love for money and his hard work with the street men and his plan to do business with two men are a clear indication of his dream. Wilter asks for the insurance money in order for him to work with it and raise his family’s standards of living.
In the play, Beneatha has a dream to study and become a doctor in the future. Mama has a dream of raising her family from poverty to a higher standard of living. Ruth’s dream is to see that her husband owns his own business and offers her the best basic needs. Mama is the most admirable character since she provides her children with unconditional love in a low social economic environment.
This play indicates that there is the celebration of materialism as the younger family favors George who is rich. On consumerism, the family of Lena Younger celebrates the insurance money through paying medical school fees for Beneatha and giving a down payment for a good house where they finally move to live.
This play does not promote the idea that blacks should want to be like whites. This is because Joseph, who is one of the boys that Beneatha was courting in college, did not lose his identity as an African man to marry her. He did not have to seize his African characters or culture for Beneatha to marry him.
There are some conflicts in the play, whether internal or external. Wilter has internal conflict since he is not getting money to provide for his family. This goes on until the time he is seeking for two men to start his own business. This is a conflict that is not solved at any time. This is because he did not save the money his mother has given him for his family.
On the hand, there is a conflict that is solved when Wilter is converted to manhood. Also, the conflict between Ruth and her husband does not end since she wants to abort. Wilter is trying to borrow money from his mother to solve this conflict problem but he ends up with no money.
Gender issues in the play
This is first presented by lack of peace in the family of Wilter Lee and Ruth. Her pregnancy is the one that is bringing this issue of lack of peace in the family. When Wilter uses his sister’s school fees to start his own business, he brings out a gender issue in the play.
“A raisin in the sun” is a quote that has a great meaning in the play. It means that all characters in the play have dreams. First, one of the characters wants to move the family to larger home in, the future, the other one’s dreams to become a doctor, while the one wants to improve his family’s living conditions.
Sussman, Linda, Lorraine Hansberry, Joyce Friedland, and Rikki Kessler. Raisin in the sun [by] Lorraine Hansberry: a study guide. New Hyde Park, N.Y.: Learning Links, 1996. Print.
Compare and Contrast Lena Younger and Walter Lee Younger Essay
In the process of developing characters in their plays, poems or films, the playwrights, poets and filmmakers strategically feature both similarities as well as differences in the characters. Lorraine Hansberry provides the best illustration of this claim through the way he presents the characters in his play A Raisin in the Sun. Lena Younger and Walter Lee Younger are similar and at the same time different based on some parameters discussed in the paper. For instance, while Lena loves her family directly, Lee does it, but indirectly.
There exist some differences between Walter Lee and his mother Lena. Lena is a loving mother, a trait that provides the reason behind her patience, selflessness and understanding. She seems determined and caring to her family because when faced with discrimination she migrates with it from the south to Chicago (Hansberry 112).
She is a mother who cherishes and values the unity and family as opposed to Lee. On the other hand, lee is more ambitious and he tries his best level to reach more people by fully living the American dream by working towards economic success in order to improve the living condition of his family. However, he develops an ambition of owning a liquor store thereby concentrating on the business more than his family as his mother does.
When it comes to an idea of freedom, the two characters have different perspectives and understanding. Lena sees freedom of living as more important compared to money. She seems more concerned about the status of living conditions and the ability to enjoy the freedom as opposed to being in possession of money.
On the other hand, Walter Lee is so much engrossed with money. He thinks that money is the real freedom, which can rescue him from the many life obstacles (Cliff 12). He believes that money is the only thing, which brings happiness and comfort in the lives of people. Therefore, a clear cut of their differences is that while Lena’s experience of racism forms the basis of her decisions, Walter Lee on the other hand bases his on his dreams of owning many businesses.
There are also similarities that these two characters depict in the play. For instance, both are determined and brave. The two make a decision to move to the white neighborhood amidst resentments and threats by some weak representatives who claim that Chicago, their intended destination, is not a place they can be welcomed.
However, they defy the claim and make their way to Chicago where they manage to buy a house regardless of the financial obstacles. They run through a financial crisis after the collapse of the liquor business opened by Lee whose friend runs away with some of the money that Lee intends to invest in the business (Cliff 43). Regardless of the impediments, Lena uses her savings to facilitate their resettlement in the new land because for her, determination welcomes no barrier.
In addition, the two characters value their family as opposed to anything else though the degree of the value differs. Lena is more concerned about the life of her family more than anything else to the level of struggling to ensure that she provides a good house for her family. On the other hand, Walter Lee is also concerned about his family members.
In fact, he dreams about providing the best support for his family and that is why he is so concerned about its economic situation. He goes as far as convincing his mother to give him money to begin liquor selling business though she mother had earlier on opposed. He does all this to ensure that his family is satisfied and lives well (Hansberry 23). This character eventually realizes the need for family ties and closeness after his business and search for money becomes unsuccessful.
Cliff, Anthony. A Raisin in the Sun, 2008. Web.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1959.
“The Day it Happened” by Rosario Morales and “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry Essay
Literary works reflect people’s longings and focus on particular facets of the human live. Thus, Morales and Hansberry tell a story of the life of minority groups who have to struggle with numerous issues. Importantly, each genre has its characteristic features which largely determine the development of characters.
It is possible to trace this difference while considering the characters of Walter and Ramon. These two characters have a lot in common, but they also differ in a number of ways. At that, the development of these characters is also different.
Thus, it is necessary to note that the two characters are males who are breadwinners and have to provide for their women. Ramon has a young pregnant wife, Walter lives with his wife and his son, his mother and sister. The two men are representatives of minority groups who have severe financial constraints.
It is clear that the two men wish to be wealthier. However, they are hard workers and hardly have an opportunity to become richer in the nearest future. These financial problems and overall dissatisfaction with their life (as well as status) makes them abusive. The two men similarly try to assert themselves at the expense of their women.
However, this is where similarities end as it is obvious that the two characters are very different in many ways.
One of the most obvious differences is that Walter abuses his wife psychologically while Ramon often physically abuses his wife even though she is pregnant with his child. Ramon would beat his wife and poor woman “was scared he would hurt the little baby” (Morales 561).
Walter is very rude and mean all the time he accuses his wife of being unsupportive, “moaning and groaning” even though she tries her best to take care of him and their family (Hansberry 494).
Nonetheless, he never beats her like Roman does with his wife. Another important difference is that the two men have different aspirations. Thus, Walter wants to become rich and more powerful.
He is tired of living in the minority neighbourhood and he is ready to take risks to earn a lot of money and to become a part of the majority group. Whereas, Ramon’s aspirations are not vivid but it is clear from the text that he is focused on his job and his household.
The two characters’ attitude towards their background is also different as Ramon is proud of being Hispanic and he speaks Spanish with his wife when he pleads her to stay, “Si te vas me mato. Te lo juro” (Morales 562).
However, Walter is willing to forget about his background and wants to enter the white middle class or even upper-middle class. He thinks he is “a giant – surrounded by ants” (Hansberry 530). He does not want to associate himself with the people living in his neighbourhood.
At this point it is important to add that the development of the two characters is also different due to the genres chosen. In the play, the author reveals Walter’s aspirations and fears through his interactions with other characters. Walter appears to be a well-developed character whose major features of character are on the surface.
However, the character of Ramon is not that developed as it is hard (or even impossible) to reveal major features within a short story. The reader is not sure about Ramon’s aspirations as he also could strive to get rich and he could also be involved in some financial operations.
In conclusion, it is possible to state that Walter and Ramon are two representatives of minority groups who have a lot in common, though differ considerably. One of the most obvious differences is their attitude towards their background.
Other differences are less explicit due to different of the literary works as the short story is unable to reflect all the facets of a character while the play has all tools to do it effectively.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. n.d. Web.
Morales, Rosario. The Day It Happened. n.d. Web.
Play Review: “A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry Critical Essay
“A Raisin in the Sun” was the first play by an African American woman to be staged on Broadway. This play was written by Lorraine Hansberry fifty-four years ago and its plot borrows heavily from her own experiences.
This play addresses the hottest topics of the 1950s including white skin privilege, gender roles, patriarchy/matriarchy, and poverty. This thematic content is one of the reasons why this production has continued to garner critical success. The play also acts as a teaching aid to the later day “hip hop” generation.
The story’s plot revolves around the Younger family. The family is living in a shabby South Chicago apartment and each of the family’s members is on the pursuit of his/her dream. There is Travis who dreams of opening a big business that will change his life.
His wife Ruth takes care of their little boy while Travis spends most of his time either complaining or dreaming. Beneatha is his sister who dreams of becoming a doctor although everybody else thinks she has better chances of getting into nursing.
The matriarch of the Younger family is Lena whose only goal is to provide her family with a foundational home. Lena’s husband Walter is recently deceased leaving behind a substantial life insurance check. All the family members’ dreams are pegged on this ten thousand- dollar check.
Lena is the one who has the responsibility of adjudicating over this insurance money. All the players in “A Raisin in the Sun” are African Americans except for Karl Lindner the neighborhood association chairman. Beneatha attracts two suitors in the characters of Joseph Asagai and George Murchison.
The family’s life is turned upside down when Lena decides to use the insurance money to purchase a house in an all-white neighborhood.
When this play first debuted in 1959, it had a significant political message. However, half a century later this political message is no longer a hot topic. The recent staging of this play under director Bill Duke took on a new dimension by reminding the audience about the black culture.
The first producer of this play had a hard time raising funds for its production because most people felt that only African Americans were able to relate to the themes of the play.
However, when the play finally made it to Broadway it was able to attract sizeable crowds from all races. Duke fashioned his production in such a manner that the play was able to maintain this original momentum.
The play features very prolific actors whose expertise is a major attraction during the staging of this play. The actors give a stage presence that cannot be compared with any other visual media. Dan Glover who plays the character of Walter Lee the patriarch of this family delivers a convincingly isolated performance.
As an experienced actor, Glover shows a strong sense of direction. In the scene where he gets down on his knees to beg for money, he is able to capture the audience with his portrayal of immense tension. Glover is charged with portraying a hardworking man whose progress is bound by the chains of racism.
The play is based on how the situation used to be in 1950s. Therefore, Glover has to convey to the modern audience what it meant to be a man in those times. Glover does not disappoint because he is able to depict what manhood meant in relation to his family and to the rest of the world.
His performance is as rhythmic as a heartbeat. No one in the audience wants to miss any part of his crowning portrayal of the resilient Walter Lee.
Lena, played by Ester Rolle is the play’s centre of attention. Rolle’s character interacts with almost every other character in this production. This makes the level of her performance much more noticeable than the rest of the players. A flaw in her performance is likely to have an irreparable effect on the entire production.
Being the seasoned actress that she is, Rolle takes her character in a stride. She is able to avoid an “over portrayal” of Lena. She is also able to supply the audience with a very even performance. Rolle’s performance is not meant to be the spice of the play.
She realizes this and leaves the spicing to the rest of her cast mates. During the beginning of the play, Lena is more of a matriarch but in the second and third acts, she is supposed to be more of a patriarch. However, Rolle is not able to strengthen this transition.
Her performance as the chief decision maker of the Younger family could be more solid. In the scene where she is urging her son to be more like his father, there are glimpses of a more solid performance.
Nevertheless, Rolle’s performance attracts more attention given that the other actors who have taken up this role have been excellent. Phylicia Rashad for instance won a Tony Award for her portrayal of Lena in the 2004 production.
Beneatha is an opinionated young girl whose sole goal is to make it to medical school. The fact that there is money coming to the family makes her believe that her dream is about to come true. Kim Yancey is the beautiful actress who is supposed to make the audience connect with Beneatha.
During the 1950s, youth always ranked above beauty for African-American women. This trend has however changed and this makes the director’s job more complicated. It was upon Duke and Yancey to make sure that they connected with the present day audience.
To achieve this connection Yancey’s is forced to add more “sex appeal” to Beneatha’s character. This was not something that the playwright intended. Although by doing so she is able bring about a more relatable Beneatha, her performance seems to undermine classic theatre.
This performance also contradicts her interactions with Asagai and Murchison. The two are obviously drawn to her beauty but their interactions are mostly intellectual. This ensemble is a bit confusing for the audience.
Beneatha’s brother Travis (played by Kimble Joyner) is essentially the center of conflict in this play. The fact that Travis is always frustrated does not make Joyner’s work easier. His interaction with other players is supposed to be very technical. His wife Ruth played by Starletta bears the blunt on his inadequacies.
Even when bestowed upon the task of delivering conflict on stage, Joyner is able to keep the audience interested. His character is also the subject of several themes in this play. When he is on stage, part of the audience is likely to wander away in thought.
Joyner steps up to this challenge by ensuring that he delivers jolts of exalted performance every now and then. By the end of the play, the audience has already learnt to pay attention to Travis. His interactions with his son also provide the audience with a rare insight into his paternal abilities.
The most outstanding performance in this production is by Glover and Rolle. Glover is able to jam-start the play with his opening performance while Rolle maintains the play’s tempo from start to finish. The only non African American performer in this play is John Fiedler.
Fiedler plays the role of the scheming neighborhood association head Karl Lindner. Fiedler is able to supply a lot of humor to the stage. This makes him the standout performer in the play.
Given the nature of all the other characters’ challenges, his goals seem a bit ridiculous. This gives him the ammunition for bringing comic relief to the stage.
The director of this play is forced to work with a relatively small stage. Most modern productions feature magnificent stages that accommodate an upward of three different scenes. However, the design requirements of this play put this stage to maximum use.
This play requires an intimate stage that is representative of the Younger family’s situation. Freddie Slavin’s set announces the Younger family’s situation to the audience the moment the curtains go up. The play takes part in only one scene at the family’s apartment.
Slavin’s set design symbolizes the heartlessness of Karl’s kind and the hopeless of Lena’s kind. Even when Karl enters the Younger’s humble apartment, he tries not to appear scornful with his offer to the family. The set designer also upholds simplicity in his design in line with the play’s motif.
By the time the performance reaches the middle, the audience is already familiar with the Younger’s living conditions. Because the set design does not change, the props in the stage almost become additional actors. From the old wallpaper to the tray table, all these props are already too familiar by the end of the second act.
The costume designer of this play must have had an easy job. This is because most of the audience in the theatre only knows the 1950s through television. All the costume designer had to do was to avoid being too “radical” fashion wise and the audience was easily pleased.
The costumes are also evenly balanced for all characters except for Walter who is supposed to be ghostly. The costume designer ensured that Walter’s costume stood out from the rest of the characters as well as the set design. To achieve this, the designer used yellow as the contrast color.
This tactic seems to work as it highlights the patriarch’s role as well as his status. However, Beneatha and Travis’ costumes could have been more relevant in terms of their generation gap. The make-up artists had their work cut out for them in this production.
This is because the play needed a more weathered Walter Younger. In addition, there is a clear difference in energy levels between Ruth and Beneatha’s make-ups.
The stage lighting is not as enhanced as the ones used in most of the modern day performances. However, this lighting may have been a complement of the play’s mood. The simple nature of the Younger’s apartment would also be compromised by elaborate stage lighting.
The blues music between acts also complimented the play and its classic nature. There are very little sound effects in this play and the few that are used seem unnecessary. The play could flow more naturally if no sound effects are used.
The hand of director Bill Duke in this play is manifested in the cast, the natural performances, and the transitions. Duke’s directing style is classic to say the least. The director is also careful not to erode the issues that Hansberry wanted to convey.
Moreover, Duke’s directing is able to maintain a fresh feel on the issues exemplified by the Younger family. The directing in this play also ensures that each cast member’s stage presence is felt across the audience. It seems like Duke’s goal was to focus more on each actor’s contribution and ensure a simple appraisal.
This would explain the simplicity in lighting and set design. The hallmark of this drama is the Younger family’s resilience and intimacy. Every director tries to accomplish this in his/her unique way. Duke seems to have chosen simplicity as his means of illuminating the exemplary Younger family.
The dramatic exploits in “A Raisin in the Sun” are well represented by the production’s ardent cast. Every performer does his/her part and the combined performance results into a great production. The excellence of the cast is best explained through Glover and Rolle’s performances.
The simplicity of the set and costume designs helps the audience focus on the important aspects of the play. With the expert direction of Bill Duke, “A Raisin in the Sun” is one of the best productions this season.
‘The Glass Menagerie’ and ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ Drama Analysis Essay
The two plays ‘The Glass Menagerie’ and ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ brings out the features of American society. The two plays bear many similarities in terms of the content. They both have a similar setting in Chicago. In both cases, the idea of racism comes out clearly. For a long time, plays have been used to express real-life concerns.
Poets and play writers have used plays, poems, stories, and songs to express the values and events in society. This is what the two plays are addressing. Both were written in the late forties when the American society was on the verge of changing from a purely patriarchal society to a more liberal society with all members having equal rights.
The plays bring out the American culture in a very systematic way. It is during this time that men started neglecting their duties as breadwinners of their families. Because of this, women were forced to take responsibilities in their families. Because they could not run away from their children, women had no otherwise but to transform themselves to be family heads. The plays bring out the two possibilities that lead to women taking charge of their families during this period.
The first reason that led to this was the world war, which was ending during this time. Many men lost their lives, leaving their families with no proper care. The play ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ brings this out. The father of the family is portrayed as someone who was responsible, but unfortunately, he passed on, leaving the family with little inheritance, without a dream to realize. On the other hand, the play ‘The Glass Menagerie’ portrays the American men who ran away from their families to evade the responsibility that is usually associated with the father of the family.
The Play Analysis: Family
The two plays are entirely based on family issues. Both are based in Chicago hence expressing the new concern that was on the rise in the region. For a long time, families were intact in the region. In many occasions, both parents would be available for their families and they would take their respective responsibilities in caring for their children unless one or both lost their lives prematurely. However, this was changing during this time.
Men were becoming less responsible as regards to their families. There was a rise in single parenthood, something that was not common before. Both plays express the difficulty that these families had to undergo such new structures. One fact that comes out is that when such families were left without the father, financial problems would be unavoidable.
In Wingfield’s family, Mrs. Amanda is left with the two children to take care of. The family has a big financial challenge and it forces the eldest son of the family to work so that the family can earn a livelihood. However, following the footsteps of his father, Tom runs away from his family in order to keep off from the responsibility left by his father.
This particular play expresses the agony that families would be forced to undergo simply because fathers refuse to take their responsibility as men. Mature men, Tom and his father Mr. Wingfield whom we meet in this play, have this habit of running away from their families when they are needed most.
On the other hand, Younger’s family expresses the agony that families of American soldiers underwent following the Second World War that claimed most of their lives. Most of these individuals were very responsible fathers who cared for their families. Mr. Younger insured his life to ensure that in case of any negative eventuality, the family would have a basis to begin life once more.
The two plays try to express the same family scenario of living without a father. However, both give different reasons for this. In America during this time, a number of men perished during the war. Some men grew irresponsible having realized that even women could take care of the family.
However, both plays share in argument that women still believed that they could not make a decision on their own without the support of a male figure. Amanda believed that the solution to help her daughter Laura to get a suitor lay with her son Tom. Similarly, Mrs. Younger believed that the entire family members, especially the eldest son, would determine the way their inheritance could be spent.
Although she was tough enough and managed to insist that her will had to prevail, it is also evident that she gave in to the son’s poor decision of investing in the liquor business. She allowed him to have some amount. Beneatha, Walters’s sister, lays no claim on the money, leaving all decision-making processes to the mother who believed that it was hard to make a decision on her own.
This trait is also seen in Laura who left her life to fate. She was completely despaired believing that one day, she would come to meet a suitable man to marry her and take her away from the confines of her house. Although Beneath was a little more social and was able to identify a Nigerian suitor, she was more less the same as Laura when it came to issues of decision-making.
This is a real expression of the American culture by then (Aragón 54). American culture has dramatically changed over the past half-century. The society by then was patriarchal and men were very responsible to their families. This has changed and the current American society has women playing important roles as those of their male counterparts.
Both plays express dreams that families had as they started out or as they were about to start. This was in line with what came to be popularly referred to as the American dream. Immediately after the Second World War, there was a spirit to reconstruct America. The American dream was the driving force that encouraged people to work hard in the nation by the time the war was nearing its end.
The American dream was a summation of the dreams of American families (Angelo 46). Each family had a dream that it wished to realize within a specific period. This dream helped America to come up with a national dream that would see to it that the state remains the super power and self-sufficient.
In both plays, family dreams are expressed. In Wingfield’s family, we see Amanda recalling the illusions she had as a young girl. She was thinking about the kind of the family she wanted in her life. She yearned for comfort that she imagined she would get in her family. Upon realizing that she could not achieve this comfort, she was heartbroken. However, as is evident in this play, she is still hopeful that one day this dream would be realized.
Since she was parted ways with her husband, she saw herself realizing this dream through her son Tom and the daughter Laura. Although the daughter seemed to be a little shy to achieve the objectives set by the mother, Amanda still believed that she could make it if given little support. She therefore exerted pressure on Tom to help her sister find a suitor who would make her life comfortable. She also had a dream of finding her long lost husband. This would help her live a comfortable that she had admired for years.
Not all American dreams were successful. Some failed and their failure could be traced at the family level. Wingfield’s family was a symbol of this failure. Within this period, some Americans set targets that were too high to be achieved or some just did nothing to ensure that their dreams were realized (Irvine 2008).
As would be expected, such dreams failed. Amanda expecting Laura, who was too shy and physically and mentally impaired to find a suitor in their house, was a dream that was unrealistic. The expectations she had towards the son were also unachievable given the prevailing state of affairs. It was also not easy to find her loving lost husband. Therefore, with this illusion of happiness, she would most certainly live without fulfilling her dreams under normal circumstances.
On the other hand, Younger’s family is a symbol of America’s realized dreams. During this time, America was a strong powerhouse in terms of the economy, military, technology and world politics. It had an influence in the international system, forcing other states to respect its decisions and actions. Mr. Younger and his wife shared a dream of owning a house in a rich neighborhood.
He worked hard to realize this dream but unfortunately, he passed on before seeing its realization. However, because he had planned for any eventuality and insured his life, his family was still able to live in the dream house. Unlike Amanda who never had a shared dream, the Younger family shared their dream, a fact that ensured that in case one was not available, the other would be there to realize the dream.
The American dream was also realized because it was a shared vision, with each individual American having the feeling that he or she had a role to play in the realization of the dream. Younger’s daughter, though not very aggressive in life, had a bright future with her Nigerian fiancée. She had struggled to ensure that she was successful in her medical school but due to financial constrains, she had to cut short her studies.
However, good things were in store for her because her fiancée was ready to pay for her studies. In such successful families, there would not miss elements that would be destined to failure. Younger’s son, Walter, was a symbol of this. His dream of starting a liquor firm was peculiar in the first case. His style of investment was also poor and therefore his failure was easy to predict. Therefore, the two plays converge and diverge at some points but their main agenda was to bring into focus the nature of American character in the 20th century.
Angelo, Timothy. “A vision worth working towards: Assessment in support of learning communities”. Assessment updates 12.2 (2012): 3-5. Print
Aragón, Francisco. The wind shifts: new Latino poetry, Chicago: University of Arizona Press, 2007. Print.
Irvine, Colin. Teaching the Novel across the Curriculum: A Handbook for Educators, New York: ABC-CLIO, 2008. Print.
“A Raisin in the Sun” by Lorraine Hansberry Literature Analysis Essay
The Concept of the Book
The book, A Raisin in the Sun, clearly Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece, presents a 1950s life of a family- the Youngers; the family is caught up with individualism as they make decisions regarding money acquired from insurance. Between racial constrictions, the family struggles with identity of the American dream as it casts back a view on Africa. The progression of the story has a family collapsing to individual conflicting decisions. But amidst of the differences in interest, the family believes and depends on ‘togetherness’ as the key to its success.
Masculinist Stereotypes, Distortions and Missions in Male Dominated Literature as Displayed in the Book
Lorraine Hansberry wrote the play at a period when feminism was obviously a contending issue in human society, particularly in the Western World- during the 1960s. As such, as an effort to ‘carry women along’, three (3) of the characters in the play; Ruth, Mama and Benetha, who are all ladies, were significantly engaged in family decision making. By extension, these ladies supported the family greatly contrary to the role played by Walter.
The story consciously confines the characters within a local home, and equally restricts the characters’ social performances – thus, in a way gives all characters the same degree of freedom in decision making. This, as an illustration, sees a certain Beneatha become rather determined to be a physician; against all monetary challenges the family faced.
It is clear from all indications that Mama has a leading voice in the family, despite the conflicts of the family to resolving to unified decisions. The statement
“there is still a god in my mothers house” (Hansberry 19) directed at Benetha by Mama is no doubt a leading voice. In the same way, in Act I scene i, where Beneatha argued about the lack of support to the family by God, Mama was proactive in cautioning that no such words or assertions be made in her own home (Hansberry 13).
The adaptation of symbolism in the play equally has helped immensely in curbing masculinist stereotypes and distortions. The fundamentally used symbols included Walter’s liquor-store, Mama’s plant, as well as Ruth’s expectant child. At the end, Mama’s plant overshadows the other imagery used in the story.
From an analytical point of view, A Raisin in the Sun may be seen as having identified in clear contexts masculine discriminations- particularly as regarding decision making in a male dominated family setting. The play particularly resolves the fact that decision making is not necessarily a gender based matter. As such, any member of the family or society who has an active and significant voice (or point of view) is always welcome to contribute.
The play also identify that fact that with a deterministic frame of mind, the female gender has a lot of potential to drive the decision making process, both at the family and society levels to the most acceptable level.
Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun is a sparkling story that presents characters that are very determined to realizing specified set dreams- against the common interest of the family. This setting makes it possible for the family members to out-speak their minds in an effort to actualize personal dreams. Indirectly, the story stipulates that individuals have high potentials to realizing personal dreams irrespective of gender.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. New York: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 1959. Print.
Walter Lee from “A Raisin in the Sun”
The play a Raisin in the Sun is a play written by Lorraine Hansberry. This story is about an African American family living in Southside Chicago. In the story, the family goes through many difficulties particularly when it comes to cash. The Younger household resides in an overcrowded home which has very little room for all of them. There is a $10,000 check coming from the insurance provider for Walter Lee’s father’s death. He is the male of your house now and is identified to provide a much better life for him and his family.
Which he determines at the end that cash is not whatever. Walter Lee is the head of the family and in the beginning of the play he appears to be very bitter. He works for an abundant white guy as a driver. This quickly makes him bitter on the inside since he sees everyday what it resembles to be abundant. You can inform this since he informs Mom that he sees the abundant white young boys sitting down to consume every day and he understands they are talking about company or something about closing a million dollar deal.
Walter Lee has had numerous company ideas in the past however they all appear to flop to the ground in a rush like humpty dumpty. When he creates the idea of going into partnership with some men to open an alcohol shop his Mama is distressed with him.
He eventually encourages her into providing him a cut of the cash from the insurer after she buys a home for them to move in to. When he offers the money to his partner for the organisation, his partner runs with the cash and is not seen again. This makes Walter mad and he goes off the deep end for a brief quantity of time. The requirement of cash might be essential however it is definitely not worth losing your family over. After the cash is lost, Walter invites the white guy back to the apartment to discuss his offer and plans to accept the allurement to his family for them not to move. When the male gets to the home, Walter alters his mind and tells the man that they are going to move into your house in any case. This makes his mother really happy and she even says to Walter’s partner Ruth that “he finally came into his manhood today.” This also defines Walter Lee as a dynamic character in this story when he understood money wasn’t everything and changed in the end.
Walter Lee is a man who is confused in the beginning and believes to some extent that money is everything and has all power. The family supports Walter Lee but at times get mad at him because they don’t understand why money has to be everything. Walter’s dream has been to have money and take care of his family. He finally understands in the end that his family is the most important thing there is, not money.