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The Play “A Raisin in the Sun”, Essay Example

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Essay

The idealist personality reflected in the black dream

In the play “A Raisin in the sun”, Lorraine Hansberry created a remarkable and veracious portrait of the life of African Americans dwelling in a segregated society. The author depicts a normal black family in a realistic background, where issues like discrimination, poverty, racial tension and social resentment stir the human spirit, influencing it to follow the idealistic path or the realistic circle. In portraying her characters, Hansberry employs two essential stereotypes that contribute to providing a valuable insight into the mentality of the African-American race, i.e. the idealist and the realist.

The conversation between Asagai and Beneatha in Act 3 includes this dichotomy and reveals one of the main themes of the play, i.e. the motivation of overcoming the harsh conditions and pursuing one’s dreams, despite the never-ending human misery. One such idealist character that sees a reason to fight for his dreams is Walter Lee Younger because throughout the play, Walter’s actions triggered by his immature and selfish personality together with his power of greed and lack of appreciation for what he has, will compel him to endure the challenges that he faces and to arrive at a more mature understanding of the important things in life.

The purpose of this paper is to outline the idealist personality of Walter Lee Younger and to observe his demeanor influenced by the incomplete fulfillment of his dreams. He is an optimistic character that doesn’t want to stop pursuing his dreams and is always attempting to escape his statute as slave. For this paper, I have chosen a conversation from Act 1, Scene 2 between Mama and Walter, in which Walter expresses his frustration concerning his job and lack of money. Walter acts as a little boy, who is in need of attention from everybody, especially from his mother, “will somebody listen to me today!” (873). His responses clearly show that he is frustrated because he believes that people around him don’t trust his intentions or questions his plans. He becomes annoyed by the idea that people regard him as being incapable of improving his family’s life, “Walter Lee—Sit down!”- Mama “I’m a grown man, mama” (874).

Walter is mesmerized by his conviction that money is everything and considers that only money will help his family escape from the current condition, “Do you know what this money means to me? Do you know what this money can do for us? Mama… I want so many things” (875). Even though his reasons seem well-intended, Walter desires more and fails to appreciate what he currently has. He undervalues his job and dreams of a better one, “A job. Mama, a job. I drive a man around in his limousine Mama, that ain’t no kind of job… that ain’t nothing at all” (875). Walter shows a lack of appreciation for his job and family and his mother tries to open his eyes, “you got a job, a nice wife, and fine boy”, but this isn’t enough for him (875). The power of greed has corrupted him and all he can think of is money because he believes that money is the key to a better future. His mother asks him why is money so important and he replies by saying “Because it is life, Mama” (875). After their discussion about his job, Walter ignores his mother advice because he is an idealist and because at this point he pays attention only to his dreams.

In conclusion, the protagonist of the play, Walter Lee Younger is a passionate, idealist and ambitious character, whose energy is filled by his dreams. This character evolves the most during the play and even though he becomes a person with a strong mentality, he doesn’t cease to be an idealist and continues to dream of a prosperous future for his family.

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