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A Raisin in the Sun Essay

September 9th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

In A Raisin in the Sun most of the main characters have a dream that they each try to work towards. Walter’s dream was to open a liquor store with the insurance money that his mother got from her husband’s death. Beneatha’s dream was to become a doctor, and she was secretly hoping for some of the money to help pay her way through. Mamma wanted to use this money to buy a house for the family. Each of these dreams revolved around the insurance check that was a total of ten thousand dollars. However, out of these three different dreams, only one became a reality.

Beneatha was the “intellectual” of the family. She considered herself to be above the rest of her family and was always seeking her heritage: “Well, do me a favor and don’t ask him a whole lot of ignorant questions about Africans. I mean, do they wear clothes and all that” (57). Beneatha was a major nonconformist and always preached against assimilation. However, she became so concerned to being a nonconformist that she conformed her life around being against anything that was not of Africa or her heritage: “Enough of this assimilationist junk!” (76). Beneatha’s dream was to become a doctor and then return back to Africa and practice her medicine there. Beneatha was being hopeful towards the fact that Mamma would give her some of the check to help pay for her medical school. Unfortunately, this aid was lost to Walter in his attempt at his dream of being rich. While it is not known for sure if Beneatha becomes a doctor, the reader or audience is aware that it will be difficult.
Walter was the most aggressive character in the play. All he could think about was getting that money so that he could fulfill his dream of becoming a rich black man. Walter’s scheme was to go in with two other guys to start a liquor store so that he could begin to make a decent living. Walter began to stress out over this dream and was always yelling at his wife and badgering his mom for the money. He felt that no one understood him, and, while this was true, his dream turned into a sham: “You just don’t understand, Mamma, and you just don’t understand” (74). Willy took Walter’s and Bobo’s money and ran off with it. This crushed Walter’s dream and severely hampered Beneatha’s dream.

Mamma’s dream was the only one that ever became a reality in the span of the story. Mamma had always wanted a house of her own and a small garden so that she could plant things such as flowers and maybe some vegetables: “Well, I always wanted me a garden like I used to see sometimes at the back of the houses down home” (53). When the check arrived she went out and bought a home for the family so they could move out of the “rat-trap” that they were in. This infuriated Walter who was hoping for the check so that he could enter into his “business” proposition with Willy and Bobo. However, Mr. Linder came to their apartment and tried to persuade them to sell their newly acquired home. Walter refused his offer, not once, but twice. Mr. Linder was the community chairman and what the community of Clyborne Park felt was that they do not want Negroes living in their neighborhood. At the end of the play the family was heading towards their new home. How this venture turned out is left up in the air. Trouble is hinted at when Linder says: “I sure hope you people know what you’re getting into” (149).

This story can be considered a cliffhanger because one dream is shattered, and the other two have a very good chance of failure. Walter was crushed at being taken by Willy. Beneatha has zero financial backing for medical school. Mamma’s dream of a home is still under the possibility of being destroyed under the wrath of their hateful neighbors. The reader or audience can only hope for the best for this unfortunate family of big dreams.

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