A Raisin In The Sun Walter Lee Essay

Character Analysis of Walter Lee Younger in A Raisin in the Sun by Hansberry

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In ''A Raisin in the Sun'' Hansberry uses Walter Lee Younger to represent the ambitious but, uninformed African American family. Walter's main role in 'A Raisin in the Sun' is to personify the African American families that make many gambles, which eventually lead to complete failure. Walter is shadowed by greed and ignorance which causes him to fail to achieve the success he wishes to gain. Walter Lee Youngers' greed is exemplified when he talks about, "Check coming today." (Hansberry 26). Walter's lack of wisdom and hard headedness allows him to portray American success, which he hopes of achieving in a very short time. When Walter Younger fails at what he has been trying to do he exclaims, "THAT MONEY IS MADE OUT OF MY FATHER'S FLESH."…show more content…

In ''A Raisin in the Sun'' Hansberry uses Walter Lee Younger to represent the ambitious but, uninformed African American family. Walter's main role in 'A Raisin in the Sun' is to personify the African American families that make many gambles, which eventually lead to complete failure. Walter is shadowed by greed and ignorance which causes him to fail to achieve the success he wishes to gain. Walter Lee Youngers' greed is exemplified when he talks about, "Check coming today." (Hansberry 26). Walter's lack of wisdom and hard headedness allows him to portray American success, which he hopes of achieving in a very short time. When Walter Younger fails at what he has been trying to do he exclaims, "THAT MONEY IS MADE OUT OF MY FATHER'S FLESH." (Hansberry 128). Walter is emotionally and physically drained and begins nearing his breaking point. He finally realizes that society trumps over one individual. Walter can be best described as a greedy, foolish, yet ambitious individual. At first, Walter is used to portray how the ambitious African American male succumbs to allowing success and money to lead to tearing of family ties. Walter's poor judgment makes him lose touch with his family and causes him to become a major burden on his entire family. Walter makes it very clear on how he feels about most women when he makes the ''smart'' comment of, "We one group of men tied to a race of women with small minds." (Hansberry 34). This comment really portrays the foolishness of Walter

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A Raisin in the Sun: Walter’s Character Analysis

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?A Raisin in the Sun Final Essay April 22, 2013 Honors English 9B When feeling hopeless, one may lose sight of their traditional values and chase flawed or unrealistic dreams. In the play, A Raisin in the Sun, author Lorraine Hansberry, uses character Walter Lee Younger to demonstrate a misguided, materialistic alteration of the traditional American Dream. Walter Lee, in a misguided vision of money as the answer to all of life’s tests, forgets traditional family values and instead chases only materialistic aspirations.

This harms and ultimately separates his family. His materialistic pursuit stems from the guilt he feels in his inability to support his family, his awareness of and yearning for American opportunity and his misconceived notion of what it means to be a man. Walter pursues a flawed and materialistic dream because he feels humiliated and subsequently guilty, in his inability to provide for his family. He views the misery of his family as his fault, and money as their sole solution.

His lingering feeling of inadequacy haunts him and he develops an obsession with money, thinking of “money [as] life. ” (74) He wants to be a good role model for his son Travis, and make sure that Travis has a good life. For example, when Travis needs money for school, his wife, Ruth, says that they don’t have the money to spare, and doesn’t give it to him. However, Walter decides to give him the money anyway. “Here, son…In fact here’s another fifty cents…Buy yourself some fruit today- or take a taxicab to school or something! (31). He foolishly gives Travis extra money, despite the fact that they can’t afford to. This demonstrates his eagerness to give his family a comfortable life, without a realistic understanding of what they are financially capable. As a chauffeur to a wealthy business man, Walter Lee has a greater awareness of opportunity in the world. He is infatuated with the idea of having success and wealth, to the point where it takes priority over his job, marriage and family. Money becomes all he ever thinks about; a desperate bsession. The world which he so desperately yearns for is one filled with yachts, Cadillacs, and “pearls for [his] wife’s neck. ” (143) Unfortunately for him, reality is a sharp contrast. His mother, called Mama in the play, tells him, “you got a job, a nice wife, a fine boy. ” (73) Walter takes whis non-material luxuries for granted, and they aren’t enough to satisfy his hunger for success. Walter’s sister, Beneatha younger, shares this longing for success and feels compelled to “express [her]self. ” (48).

Walter too, envisions a better life for himself and his family as opposed to their current “mere living. ” However, Walter mistakenly neglects the well-being of his family and replaces their welfare with blind ambition. Walter Lee Younger views manhood as being something that can be “bought” for his family. In a scheme, planned by “businessman” Willy Harris, Walter is offered an opportunity which he can’t resist. In a get-rich-quick scheme, Walter is offered the opportunity to make loads of money by opening a liquor store with two other men, Bobo and Willy.

The only drawback to this plan is that, in order to open the store, Walter needs to put in six-thousand five hundred dollars, which is money that they simply don’t have. At the same time as the opportunity for this deal arises, his father Big Walter’s insurance money is set to arrive. This money is designated for his mother, but he plans using it for this investment, which, in his mind, will ultimately buy happiness for his family. Mama eventually gives him the money he needs, and entrusts him with Beneatha’s college tuition as wel;.

Once put in charge of the remaining insurance money, Walter feels ready to invest and prove his manhood. He tells Travis, “You wouldn’t understand yet, son, but your daddy;s gonna make a transaction… a business transaction that’s going to change our lives…” (108) Walter’s infatuation with money and material luxuries comes from the guilt he feels in his inability to support his family, his desperate yearning for American opportunity and misguided notion of what manhood truly is.

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Lorraine Hansberry shows a materialistic version of the tradiltional American dream in character Walter Lee, and demonstrates someone taking all that they have for granted, and narrowing hteir mind to only material luxuries. A Raisin in the Sun is essentially about dreams, as Walter struggles to deal with longing for his unrealistic ones. Humans often dreams about their wants, and desires. This can lead to taking what you have for granted, and ultimate disappointment.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in A Raisin in the Sun

A Raisin in the Sun: Walter’s Character Analysis

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