A Raisin in the Sun portrays the life of the African American working class in the 1950s. The Younger family worked endlessly to achieve the American dream; they thrived off the 10,000 dollars that their father worked to death for. Each character has a big dream of buying a new house, investing in a liquor store, or going to medical school along with the Caucasian society. Money is the source of all the Youngers family dreams; however will they, will able to handle the wealth? Between Ruth, Walter Lee, Mama, and Beneatha not everyone can have the perfect dream without a few flaws.
The head of the household is an individual that is strong willed a religious woman, and holds the family together that is Lena Younger, commonly known as mama. Mama has raised her children to work for what they want and to look to god for ultimate answers. All mama wants is the best for her family, therefore with the 10,000 of insurance money from her passed husband, she dreams of the family living in a beautiful big house together. Their dream house however is located on the “white” side of town, owners of the neighbor asked the Youngers to not relocate quite yet due to the violence against blacks in this time period.
To blacks it “Seem[ed] like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams -but He did give us children to make their dreams seem worth while. ” in reality to them family was everything to them because in the violence of it all that’s all they had(187). In the end after Walter loses the money, but stands up to the owners of the white neighborhood, mama forgives her boy and still gets to live her own dream of living happily with her family in their new house. I believe that the plant in the story is a symbol to mama’s dreams growing and withering as the story goes on. There ain’t nothing as precious to me… There ain’t nothing worth holding on to, money, dreams, nothing else—if it means—if it means it’s going to destroy my boy. “, there is nothing more important to family for mama(33). Lena got to live her dreams with a fight of equality. Walter Lee Younger is an unstable husband and the big brother of the Younger family. Walter grew up watching his father working endlessly to support his mom, him, and his sister with what little they had. He is obsessed with the life of luxury and the idea of wealth in the business field and investments.
Walter is trusted with over half of the insurance money, some for himself and the other half for his sister, in the end Walter Lee gets disowned from the family for losing the money his father earned. Walter’s dream is to invest in a liquor store with close friends, however fails because one friend takes the money and leaves town. Throughout the story Walter realized “Sometimes you just got to know when to give up some things… and hold on to what you got. ” in order to get his family back together (130).
The Younger family was asked to not move into the white neighbor because of the issues it would create, however when a bribe was put on the table Walter “finally come into his manhood [that] today… [k]ind of like a rainbow after the rain… ” because he turned it down for the future of his growing family (138). Although Walters dreamed didn’t work out he strengthened his family for the better and learned valuable lessons. Ruth, the wife of Walter Younger, is a mother and is constantly working to support her family unlike other housewives in this time period.
Ruth and Walter have been married for quite some time, however they have hit a rough spot lately with family and financial issue, but “When the world gets ugly enough-a woman will do anything for her family. “(75). In the heart of all the problems Ruth finds out she is expecting a new baby into the Younger family, in result she is thinking about abortion which in this time period is unimaginable. Ruth’s dream is similar to mamas she wishes to move into a bigger house and better community for the growing family.
Ruth is uncomplicated and tries hard to please everyone, however she sometimes forgets about herself. She truly wants what is best for her family and wants to get them on the right track to success. The family wanted a place to truly call home “just a plain little old housebut it’s made good and solid—and it will be [theirs]. “, the home will give them a new view on life since they will live in a good upscale neighborhood (92). Ruth is the glue of the family she is always finding solutions to any problem, she sees the positive view on a rough lifestyle.
Ruth wanted her family to be happy and safe in their new house even if it was in a colorless atmosphere. Beneatha Younger also known as Bennie is the baby sister of the family and is educated and remarkably independent. She attends medical school and dates various wealthy men. Her family stabs at the idea of her higher education and for her to marry into a rich family to be set for her future. Bennie desires a life full of luxury she quotes “I want so many things… I want so many things that they are driving me kind of crazy… ” because she views life from both the rich and poor (57).
Beneatha dates George and Asagai both from riches, however Asagai is more like Bennie both showing their pride of their black heritage and high education. Beneatha is the type of girl who wants to try everything once; in result when Asagai asks her to accompany him to Africa she leans toward the idea of dropping everything to practice medicine in a foreign country with the love of her life. In the end she finds herself and her true calling with or without the money in Africa.
Bennie cut her hair to match her ancestors and danced around in a tradition African outfit, “People have to express themselves one way or another. just like Bennie without a care (49). Beneatha may have been the odd one of the family but she knew where she came from and accepted it with pride, in the end she ended up finding her dream exactly where she was supposed to be in Africa saving lives. The Younger family started A Raisin in the Sun with many hopes and dreams, but it didn’t quite end that way. The family “come[s] from people who had a lot of pride”, their dreams were based off pride, for example Walter Lee turning down the money for his family to live a better quality life.
Beneatha studies medicine in Africa with Asagai who taught her who she really was, she searched for that the whole story when in reality it was him and his background. Ruth and Mama got to move into the upscale neighborhood living with the whites and promised a better future. Being African American had a negative effect on anyone of this race because of the violence and the unfair treatment; however each family member had to deal with the effects The Youngers did have a challenging time; however they accomplished their dreams without money and with the help of their family.