Character Analysis of Walter in “A Raisin in the Sun”
Throughout this play you really see the Younger family go through a lot. You can really see them at their highest points and their lowest. Also, you can see them go through changes in their personal lives and personalities. The most prominent character where you see these changes is Walter Lee Younger. He is just a man that wants what he feels is best for his family and he is willing to pretty much do whatever he has to do to achieve his dream, which is making his family be something better than what they are. Walter Lee’s flaw is that he feels they can only achieve this through having money.
Walter Younger is what you would call the protagonist in this play, he is one of the main characters and he is trying so hard to be a man and the head of his family. He just wants to show his mother that he can fill his father’s shoes and that he can provide for his family. This also causes him to be the antagonist in this play, he turns into the bad guy when he becomes so focused on his get rich quick schemes that he forgets what his mother and what his family feels is the true meaning of a man and a true head of the household.
In the first act of the play you get introduced to all of the members of the family and you learn that there are five people all living in one tiny apartment and sharing one bathroom. This is not an ideal choice for any family. When you first meet Walter he is rude to everyone in his family. Walter feels disgusted with his life and how things are being lived out. He is a chauffeur to a rich white man, with no room for advancement. Walter feels like less of a man because he is always sucking up to “the man” and he feels bad that he is unable to sufficiently provide for his family. His mother and wife have to work in other people’s kitchens just to make ends meet and for them to have enough money to pay for all of the extra expenses that seem to come up.
All that Walter truly wants is to just show his family that he is a man. When his son, Travis, asks his mother, Ruth, for fifty cents for something at school, she has to tell him no, because they cannot afford to give him anything extra. Well, Walter over hears this discussion and gives Travis a whole dollar and tell him to do whatever he wants with the extra fifty cents.
This is the scene where you first learn about Walter’s hopes of owning liquor store with his friend Willy Harris. While Walter and Ruth talk about him opening the store he mentions how tired she looks; tired of him, tired of Travis, tired of their lives and where they live. He thinks she hates all of this but that she isn’t willing to do anything to help change their way of life. Walter feels that Ruth is so quick to shoot down his idea to bring them out of poverty. She doesn’t even seem to worry about his feelings and how he feels. He feels that his woman should be the one person that should be on his side. All she does is tell him is to finish his eggs. She ignores the fact that he is trying to reach out to her for her approval on the situation. Walter feels that Ruth is just pushing all of his dreams and ambitions out the window. He comments on how his life seems to stink by saying, “ I’m thirty-five years old; I been married eleven years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room – and all I got to give him is stories about how rich white people live… “
Furthermore, in this scene the 10,000 dollar insurance check from the death of Walter’s father, Big Walter, is mentioned.
In the next scene, the long awaited check comes in the mail. When Walter brings up his get rich quick scheme to his mother she is appalled. Lena is a devout Christian and does not want her family to get wrapped up in the liquor store business. Walter now really feels like no one is listening to his dreams and ambitions and how he feels he has to bring his family up in social standing.
During this scene you start to notice Walter Younger’s...
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