A Raisin in the Sun, a drama written by Lorraine Hansberry came onto the theater scene in 1959. The title is from Langston Hughes poem A Dream Deferred when it asks what happen to a dream that is deferred. The drama tells of a lower class black familys struggle. The family lives in a cramped apartment too small for its five tenants. The primary focus of the story is on how to spend the ten thousand-dollar insurance check from the death of Mamas husband Big Walter. The conflict erupt over the disagreements on how the money should be spent, Mama wanted to by a house, Beneatha needed money for medical school, and Walter had dreams of owning a liquor store. In the end Mamas confidence in Walter to spend the check wisely climaxed his manhood from a desperate family man that is shackled by poverty, to man that obsessed with the dream of succeeding, then to being a real man, a hero to his family. In the beginning Walter presents himself as a very absurd man. In his middle thirties, he is the husband of Ruth, father of Travis, brother of Beneatha, and son of Lena (Mama). Walter works as a chauffeur for a rich white man, he drinks too much, and he is very uneducated. Walter never has enough money to buy his wife fine things or to help his family. He and his wife Ruth and their child live with his mother this living situation contributes to Walters problems. In one scene Walter admonishes Ruth for telling their son that they cannot give him fifty cents. When he is asked Walter gives Travis more than fifty cents; he gives him a dollar, none of which he can afford. Walter does this so that Travis does not see their true economic condition. Walter shows us that he is very desperate when it comes to his family because all he can do is dream about helping them. When Walter discovers that his mother will receive a ten thousand-dollar check from his fathers insurance he becomes obsessed with his dreams of becoming a businessman. Walter feels that his business venture will make financially independent. He is so obsessed to succeed that he wants to invest the entire ten thousand dollars into a liquor store with his buddies. For ethnical reasons Mama objects to Walters idea and he makes it seems as if its the end if the world. Mama who also had dreams for the money when she announced that she put a hefty down payment on a house in an all white neighborhood. Walter is crushed by this news; he tells Mama that he feels like she butchered his dreams. Mama who knew that she hurt her son entrusts the remaining of the check to him. She tells him to put half away for his sisters tuition and the rest was his to keep. Now Walter feels that he can still keep his dream alive. Walters already exaggerated dream, however, suddenly turns into a problem. Foolishly, he entrusts his buddy with all of the remaining money that he runs off with. His shame suddenly becomes self-hatred, which is the only emotion that stops him from selling out his family again. When approached with the money offer not to move into the white neighborhood he decided that he would take the offer. With the money he could send Beneatha to medical school and make up for his mistake. However, at the last minute Walter decided not to take the offer. He showed that for once he could make good decisions and he becomes a hero to his family especially to his mother who says He finally came into his manhood today, didnt he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain. Throughout the story Walter matures from being a man that is shame of his manhood to a man that has pride. Walter establishes himself as the protagonist or hero because in the falling action he matures only for the family and especially for his son who is watching him. Hannsberrys underlying theme in the story is centered around Walter, the question that she poses is, What happens to a person whose dreams grow more and more passionate while his hopes of achieving the dream go dimmer each day, which is what happen with Walter.
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