A Dream Deferred: Walter Lee Younger

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The character Walter Younger in the play A Raisin in the Sun is a man who believe true happiness is only achieved by living the American Dream to the fullest. Walter’s mind is twisted and warped by society into thinking money is the key to become truly happy in life. He is also living in a home where he is trying to live up to his dead father’s footsteps, which puts a lot of stress on his shoulders and he has a tough time trying to relieve his own self of this stress. Walter Younger is a perfect example of why Lorraine Hansberry used Langston Hughes’ poem, “A Dream Deferred”, to prelude her play.

The poem, “A Dream Deferred” begins with the rhetorical question, “what happens to a dream deferred?” Walter’s dream is shaped around the idea that money can win you happiness based on his view of the wealthy white folk. This is an example of how society is interfering with Walter’s ambitions. He thinks that putting all the Younger’s money together to open a liquor store will rid the family of their poverty. For example, on page 74 when Mama questions Walter on why he’s always talking about money and he replies “Because it is life, Mama!” Walter’s struggles begin with his selfishness about money. He does have good intentions, as he is doing this all for what he thinks is best for the Younger family. On page 34, Walter explains to his wife how he wants the best for his son, “I’m 35 years old; I’ve been married 11 years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room.” So as Walter continues to embark on his dream and racism interferes, this is where Walter’s dream festers like in “A Dream Deferred”, the liquor store ambition sits with Walter and continues to pester him and nag at him until he can no longer withstand it.

Another part of “A Dream Deferred”, by Langton Hughes that applies to Walter’s character is the center part of the poem where Hughes talk about dreams rotting up and stinking like rotten meat. Examples of Walter is “rotting” and “stinking”...
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