Walter Lee Younger: Selfish to Selfless
Lorraine Hansberry portrays the revolution of black’s consciousness through the play, A Raisin in the Sun, by introducing the Younger family to readers. This play takes place in a poor black neighborhood in Chicago’s Southside in the 1950s where the Younger family struggles with racial discrimination and finding their true dreams and goals. Like most literature, this play has a clear protagonist, but Hansberry also uses an anti-hero, a flawed character who lacks heroic qualities, but with whom the reader still sympathizes and who eventually redeems himself through a heroic act or decision. With the weight of his deferred dreams upon his shoulders, Walter Lee Younger digs himself into a massive pit of troubles but slowly redeems himself by realizing the wrongs of his actions, making him the anti-hero of this play.
The reality of being unable to achieve his dreams burdens Walter and eventually changes him into a greedy, selfish and cowardly young man who makes poor decisions and hurts those who love him. Walter’s obsession with money has caused his family a lot of trouble, especially when it comes to the discussion of the $10,000 insurance money they receive. He belittles Beneatha’s dreams of becoming a doctor and says, “Ain’t many girls who decide to be a doctor”(36). Walter even claims that spending money on Beneatha’s education is a waste, and that he and Ruth would have been richer and happier if Beneatha dropped school. Not only does he put down Beneatha’s dreams, he also selfishly wants all of the insurance money so that he can open a liquor store to make his own dream of being rich and successful come true. Ruth thought Walter was a dreamer and tells him to “eat your eggs” (34) every time he brings up his dreams. When he realizes that he none of his family supports his desire to opening a liquor store, he becomes a bitter and cowardly man. When Ruth tells him that she is pregnant and considering an abortion, he...
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