English Honors, Period 4
16 November 2011
Your Version of Success
In the play A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry you go back in time to when segregation was still aloud. In this play you meet a cast of people with dreams of a better life. The American Dream, to be specific. This dream is portrayed differently for each character, all of which impact the play. Two of these character`s are Walter Lee Younger and Lena Younger. In Raisin in the Sun Mama and Walter’s American dreams conflict and impact the family through materialism and desire to be the ideal American family in society.
Mama and Walter both desire to provide for their family. They both look at money as success. When the $10,000 insurance check comes along, Mama sees it as a chance for her family to finally live up and be more like the rest of the American society. She aspires to look after her family, by giving them a house, a car, and most of all- happiness. Walter on the other hand becomes obsessed with his dreams of business, which he believes will result in financial independence to provide for his family. He feels ashamed when he can’t give money to his son. When Travis asks for fifty cents and Ruth tells him they don’t have it, Walter gives him fifty cents anyway. “In fact, here’s another fifty cents… Buy yourself some fruit today- or take a taxicab to school or something”(12) He yearns for his son Travis to look up to him. He adds another fifty to make this more real or true. This also shows how Walter looks at money as success. Walter believes this will be true if he has his dream of owning his own business or all in all- wealth. Success to both them means that they no longer have to struggle, and live up to what people perceive.
Mama distinguishes herself from Walter when it comes to materialistic matters. The first thing mama does when she gets the insurance money is buy a house for her family. This shows how the capitalistic society is...