A Raisin in the Sun Essay Questions
1. I’ve always had love/ hate relationship with money ever since I was old enough to have my own. My first experience receiving a large amount of cash was when I celebrated my First Holy Communion. Through cards filled with twenty dollar bills to checks and gifts I received a total of approximately three hundred and fifty dollars and I felt like a millionaire. At this time I was seven years old and had my very own money to spend—or so I thought. My mom didn’t allow me to spend a penny of it; instead she placed it all in a savings account that she would have control of. I was furious that I couldn’t spend the money; after all, it was MINE. Watching my cousin ride the electric scooter he bought with his Communion cash caused me to feel true envy toward another person for the very first time. My jealousy was undeniably caused by this money—the same cash that promised me joy and happiness from all the goodies I would spend it on.
My experience reminds me of Walter Lee’s feelings toward the $10,000 that Mama is waiting for in the mail. He has big ideas for this income and wants so badly for his plans to come to life. “Do you know what this money means to me? Do you know what this money can do for us? Mama, Mama, I want so many things…” This quote from the second scene of the first act of the play demonstrates Walter’s unrelenting desire to put this money towards owning a liquor store. Walter feels like he is not being heard and that his ideas for this money are not being properly considered by his family. Walter so badly wants to be the provider for his family and their disapproval of his enthusiasm for the liquor business leaves him feeling helpless. I too felt helpless when I was denied the use of my money, especially when my Mom deemed the matter unnegotiable like Mama did to Walter Lee.
Travis, although the youngest member of the family, plays an important role. He is a source of motivation for the family to get out of the conditions they have been living in. In the first act of the play Travis says, “Mama, could I puh-leese go carry groceries?” Travis asks Ruth this question after she tells him she doesn’t have the 50 cents he needs for school. A lot of children Travis’s age might pout and leave for school but Travis’ proposal of working after school reflects his desire, much like his father’s, to help the family out financially. This scene reminds me of a friend of mine. She is 20 years old just like I am and also works and goes to school just like me. The difference between us is that she has more responsibility than most people her age do. Her dad lost his job and her mother’s part-time income was not enough to support the family of five. This ultimately led to her parents needing financial help from her. Being the eldest child of three, she expected this to happen but it doesn’t make it easier for her. She worries about money more than anyone I know. I feel so very frustrated that she has this tremendous responsibility hanging over her when she shouldn’t have to sacrifice her time, energy, and resources. She should be focusing on her school work and making memories with friends while she is away at school and I know her financial worries are always on her mind. Although she is doing it for her parents, it is truly their own obligation to take care of her and their other children financially at this time in their lives.
I see this same type of responsibility in Travis. He wants to help his family but Ruth does not want her son worrying about money. Walter gets upset with Ruth when she tells Travis that she doesn’t have any money to give Travis. Walter gives Travis a dollar and he probably did this to show his son that he doesn’t have to worry about money even though the family is poor. I believe that if Travis were as old as my friend is, he would be expected to help the family with...
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