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A Raisin in the Sun Essay Undergoing the obstructions of pursuing a desired dream mentally and emotionally transforms the person within. The play of Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun, justified how the members in the Younger family change while overcoming the challenges of achieving a goal once believed to be unfathomable. Three of the Youngers have shown determination in seeking their own ambition that not only benefitted themselves, but also enhanced the family’s welfare. Lena Younger, known as “Mama,” is a devoted follower of God and demonstrated her strong faith throughout the play.
Walter Lee Younger—Mama’s only son—is the “man” of the family, whose stubbornness might have blinded him from seeing possible consequences. Beneatha Younger is a spirited and educated feminist, who believes that a woman (like herself) does not need a man to support her. The battles fought in trying to accomplish a dream leaves scars that either develops a person’s well-being, or stabilizes their self. Lena Younger, or “Mama,” is almost like a leader to the Younger family, for she is the one who looks after everyone. All she ever thought of is improving her family’s life conditions.
Mama’s tender love and care towards the plant she owned exemplifies the desire of living in a better home fit for them and having her own garden. Proving how strongly religious she is, Mama slaps Beneatha after Beneatha proclaimed that there is no God. When Walter was at his lowest, Beneatha said that there was nothing left to love about him. Mama, however, claimed that a man should not be loved when he has “done good and made things easy for everybody,” but during his weakest time of need. The other members of the Youngers give high respect to Mama, and they think that she knows what’s best for the family.
In one word, Lena is selfless. Lena is a devoted mother, who bases her decisions on what benefits the family. She gives special care to her children and acted as the mediator every time Beneatha and Walter fought. Mama taught the two siblings the values of life, about how to love each other in their darkest times and that family and God always comes first. She greatly values her religion that as long the member of the family lived under her roof, they must believe in the guidance and teachings of the Lord. Mama also believed in the significance of family and how they all must stand together to remain strong.
Her children recognized the lesson she has been trying to give them at the end of the play—that sometimes a person would have to put others before his or herself. Lena Younger’s internal conflict, person vs. self, is when she could not decide who deserves to spend the insurance money. Since it was hers, the pressure of judging who gets to be bestowed upon the check was put to Mama’s shoulders. She argues to herself on how her children’s motive will benefit the whole family. Beneatha wanted to use it to pay for her medical school tuition while Walter desires investing the money on a liquor store.
If Lena makes an unsuitable decision, then both of her children will be both distressed, causing her to be hurt too. Considering the fate of their lifestyle depended on whoever Mama chooses, this dilemma also affects the family. If Walter receives the money, then the Youngers would have to rely on the profit the liquor store makes without guarantee that the business will be a success or not. Also, judging from the time period, there are no assurances that Beneatha will become a doctor. Mama divides the ten thousand dollars—giving part of it to Walter’s business and Beneatha’s tuition and buying a house.
Lena’s resolution showed her strength in forming fair choices, but she revealed weakness towards seeing her children getting hurt. Mama’s external conflict, person vs. person, is when Karl Linder attempted reason the Youngers from transferring to Clybourne Park. The house she bought was located in a white people village. The Clybourne Park Improvement Association did not want the Youngers moving in their neighborhood. The racial differences prevented the association from welcoming the family to the community, endangering them of discrimination.
Mama was still confident about transferring to the new house until Willy Harris stole the rest of the insurance money she entrusted to Walter. As a result, Lena planned to revoke the deal with the house causing her dream of living having their home to be taken back. However, Walter returned home with an agreement with Karl Linder; they were to negotiate on the price of returning the house. This made the Younger family come off as greedy and plundering, utterly violating Mama’s values. Lena cunningly made Walter make his final decision while Travis was in the room, which made the father let the family to keep the house.
Mama’s actions displayed her strengths on seeing the goodness in people, like she did with Walter. All Lena Younger ever dreamt was to own a house with a garden to tend. She wanted her family to be able to live an easier life without having to share a bathroom with other families or endure the cramped space the apartment provides. Mama aspires to fulfill the wish she and her deceased husband made of walking on their own floors and maintaining a flourishing backyard. The two topics that relate to this character’s dream are family and home.
Mama yearned to further improve the family’s welfare by moving into a new home. The quote from Dream Deferred, “Does is dry up like a raisin in the sun,” pertains to Lena’s dream. Drying a grape under the sun will make the fruit last longer; like a raisin, Mama’s dream lived on and remained sweet until the end. Walter Lee Younger wanted many desires in his life and tried to seek every financial chance. He doesn’t treat his wife with respect and says rude things to her, even his own mother. The cruelty Walter shows was probably an effect of how he loathes his life.
The only time he showed excitement was when the check has been delivered. He longed to invest the money on a liquor store, but no one was on his side. He complained about how he wasn’t given enough attention and support from his wife and family. When Mama refused to hand him the money, he went drinking for three days without going to work. Beneatha thinks that Walter was a hopeless fool and there was nothing left to love about him. Walter’s attitude is determined yet single-minded; he is truly focused on starting a business. He mostly values money and believes that it is the key to life.
Mama finally gave in and let Walter have more than half of the insurance money—sixty-five hundred dollars. He became ecstatic. Walter was friendly towards his sister, hugs his mother, and even takes his wife on a date. Walter Lee’s internal conflict, person vs. self, is when he didn’t make the right choice on trusting the money to Willy Harris. He was too blinded by his ignorance and gave had a lot of confidence in someone Walter barely worked with. He acted hasty on the situation that should have been thought through. Walter simultaneously lost the insurance money and his goal of becoming a business man.
The Younger family’s chances of being slightly financially advantaged were destroyed. Walter tries to gain money by selling the house to Karl Linder. These circumstances show Walter’s weakness in thinking through plans. Walter’s external conflict, person vs. fate, was when he wanted to alter his life as a chauffeur or driver and become a business man. Hearing the white people talk about investments and finance, Walter gets inspired in becoming an entrepreneur himself. Thirst and hunger intensifies inside Walter that will only be satisfied by being trusted with the insurance money.
This driving force led him to making hasty choices, such as handing out the sixty-five hundred dollars to his slick business owner. The fate of the Younger family was laid upon his hands, but the thing that supposed to change their lives slipped from Walter’s finger tips the moment he held it. Walter attempted to restore the problem by selling the house in Clybourne at a higher price to Karl Linder, but he changed his mind when Travis—ecstatic about the move—was present during his negotiation with Linder. The Younger family was able to move in a new home under Walter’s decision.
These events portray the character’s weakness in surrendering to temptation but revealed his strength to change. Walter Lee Younger’s ambition was to be involved in business, finance, and investment. He envies men like George Murchison, who have power in company and enterprise industries. Walter fantasizes himself working in an office and going home to his wife and Travis after a long day. He also wants to give Travis the opportunity in becoming whoever his son wants. The two topics that relate to the character’s dreams are financial and career.
In order to accomplish his dream, Walter must be financially able in starting a business. He wanted to improve his career as a car driver and become a business man, which enables Walter to provide more for his family. The quote “Or fester like a sore—and then run? ” describe how Walter’s dream waits for the opportunity and the right time to be executed. Beneatha is the most educated out of all the members in the Younger family. She is the typical changed college student, whose opinions were the most contrasting compared to her mother. Beneatha believes more in the evolution of man than the parables of the Bible.
Although she seeks to learn more about her culture in Africa, Beneatha tries getting accepted by straightening her hair instead of letting her afro come loose. Her cute appearance is what attracted Asagai and George to be interested in her. Asagai respects Beneatha’s intellectual opinions and even nicknamed her “Aliayo. ” He thinks of her as a scholar like himself. But George was just drawn to her looks and believes that women are only good for house wives. In a single word, Beneatha is opinionated. She has her own thoughts, which creates a gap between herself and the ordinary women of the time period.
Beneatha Younger is very outgoing and not afraid to taste new experiences that were offered to her during college. During the play, she shares to the family her exposure to new involvements, such as horseback riding, guitar lessons, and feminist movements. She explores various things and becomes open to new ideas, excluding religion and superstitions. Beneatha values her culture in Africa and is highly interested in learning more about it than the other members of the family. She believes in logic and reason, that man was the one who creates—not God. Beneatha’s internal conflict, person vs. elf, is when she argues on who was in love with. The path of her future depended on who she chose. Would she want to live a fancy lifestyle but give up her passion on medicine with George? Or would she want to live a life discovering things that are still alien to her with Asagai? If she were to marry George, then he would be able to provide for the Younger family. Though marrying Asagai won’t guarantee their family fortune, Beneatha would be happier and can soon provide for the family. When George tried to kiss Beneatha, she shifted the conversation on problems in Africa.
He replies by saying that he wants to marry a “nice . . . simple . . . sophisticated girl. ” His reaction made Mama kick him out of the house. Beneatha thinks that George was a fool and Mama agrees that Beneatha should not spend time with those kinds of men. Later on, Asagai offers to take Beneatha with him to Africa where she could be a doctor and the girl says yes. Beneatha resolves her problem by choosing to be with the person she could be herself with. These events show that Beneatha has the strength to know whether to base her decisions with the heart or mind.
Beneatha’s external conflict, person vs. society, is the struggle between racism and gender minority. The discrimination and segregation gives Beneatha the disadvantage of pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. Women and the African Americans at the time were looked down upon by men not were not given the chance to be heard. These odds put down Beneatha’s goals, which was ridiculous as sending a dog to the moon. If Beneatha were to drop out of school, then all the money spent on her tuition will be for nothing. The family would have a lesser hope in receiving a better welfare.
Asagai proposes to Beneatha and offering her to become a nurse in Africa, which she couldn’t bear to resist. By saying yes, she was able to assure that her dream of being able to save lives and finding her true identity would come to reality. Determining by the course of the circumstances, Beneatha has showed her strength in believing huge possibilities. Beneatha Younger yearned to discover her true individuality and turn into a doctor. She wanted to gain experiences and to be exposed of rational ideas. Beneatha wanted be able to create with her hands and save lives by being a doctor.
She also dreamed uncovering the mysteries of the African culture. Two topics that relate to the character’s dreams are education and culture. Receiving the right education and finishing medical school will permit Beneatha in becoming a doctor. Going to Africa with Asagai was all about learning more of the cultural traditions of her country. The line “Or does it explode? ” in the Dream Deferred describes Beneatha’s ambition since her ideas are like fire that’s alive and can’t be put down. In the beginning of the play, the Youngers were experiencing problems within the family.
Ruth and Walter’s marriage was collapsing. Beneatha was losing her love towards Walter. Ruth planned on having an abortion. Everyone, besides Mama, started losing the idea of the true meaning family. The external conflicts, however, is what restored their family back to the order. The racial discrimination in Clybourne Park forced the Youngers to stand together by giving the family a cause to resist against being tormented by the whites. Beneatha finally learns to love her brother despite his imperfections, and Walter promises Ruth that he will make it possible for the baby to have a better life.
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The family learns to think of other people’s benefit first before thinking about themselves. The members of the Younger family separately evolve to a better being. Putting aside his dream in becoming a business man, Walter called off the deal and chose upon keeping the new house in order to have a chance of having a fresh start. That was the day when Walter first entered manhood. Beneatha learned to keep her faith in dreams and see the goodness in everyone. Mama is finally settled while Ruth develops a stronger love for her husband. Together, they were a better family. [word count: 2, 546]
Author: Brandon Johnson
A Raisin in the Sun Character Conflict Essay
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The Youngers are a poor African-American family living on the South Side of Chicago. An opportunity to escape from poverty comes in the form of a $10,000 life insurance check that the matriarch of the family (Lena Younger or Mama) receives upon her husband's death. Lena's children, Walter and Beneatha, each have their plans for the money. The oldest son, Walter (a man of 35 with a wife and a young son), wishes to invest in a liquor store. The younger sister, Beneatha, currently a college student, wants to use the money for medical school. Lena has plans as well for the money: she wants to buy a house for the family and finance Beneatha's medical school.
The environmental pressures are high: five people live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, two families share a single bathroom, and the building is run-down and roach-infested. These pressures increase when Walter's wife, Ruth, finds out that she is pregnant for the second time, and begins seriously contemplating abortion. Yet even in an environment where a request for fifty cents becomes a family conflict, there is room for ideas and dreams.
Beneatha Younger is the source of the many of the new ideas and philosophies that infiltrate the family's home. Currently in college, she is constantly challenging the notions of culture, race, gender, and religion that her family has grown up with. She is dating two men who represent very different aspects of African-American culture. George Murchison, the first, is a wealthy African-American classmate of Beneatha's. Through his character, Hansberry is able to illustrate many of the class tensions that exist within the African-American culture. Asagai is her second boyfriend, a college student who is from Nigeria. Through Asagai, Beneatha is able to learn more about her African heritage. He gives her Nigerian robes and music, encourages her idealistic aspirations, and near the end of the play invites her to return to Nigeria with him to practice medicine there.
Walter Younger truly encapsulates the American dream. He has a genuine entrepreneurial spirit and desire to progress. Walter doesn't want to challenge the present system as Beneatha does. Instead, he wishes to progress up the social ladder into a higher class. He is unsatisfied with his job as a chauffeur, and wants a big house, a nice car, pearls for his wife, and an office job. In short, he desires the bourgeoisie lifestyle. Walter's idolization of wealth and power actually creates a deep hunger within him for change, but as long as obstacles like racism keep him stagnated, his hopes and dreams fester. After several events, Mama realizes the significance of his plans even though she morally objects to the idea of a liquor store.
After having made the down payment on a house in a predominantly white neighborhood, Lena gives her oldest son responsibility over the rest of the insurance money, asking him to put away a significant portion for his sister's medical school education. To the contrary, Walter decides to invest all the money in the liquor store business with two men of questionable character. The plan falls through when Willy, one of the "investors", runs away with all of the money.
The family is entirely dependent on the money: they already have made plans to move, and are in the midst of packing up their things. Devastated, Walter seriously considers taking an offer from Mr. Lindner, a representative from the white neighborhood, that would pay the Youngers extra not to move into their neighborhood. The option is immoral in the family's eyes, and prioritizes money over human dignity. Walter is determined to make the deal despite his scruples, but at the last moment Walter is unable to make the transaction under the innocent gaze of his son, Travis. In the end, the family decides to move. Even though the road ahead will be difficult, they know that they have made an honorable choice.