In Lorraine Hansberry’s play “A Raisin in the Sun,” Walter Younger is an idealist who failed to see reality and how things actually work out. Walter is in his 30s yet he still lives with his mother, who holds the family together. He isn’t capable of caring for a family and making the right decisions. He has a dream of owning a liquor store that his family opposes to yet he still tried to obtain it. Walter is a man of flaws because of his bitterness towards others, such as George Murchison, and in a way because of his racism toward white people.
He is also sexist to women and is jealous of the success of others. Walter’s family plays a role in changing his views as well. They all shaped him and taught him the values and virtues of not backing down and giving into racism against black people. Throughout the play, Walter matures and begins to see reality and that his decisions have consequences and impacts on others. Walter Younger was seen as a troubled man who failed to understand the real world and how it actually worked. He was childish and stubborn and thought all you need to become something in the world is to have money.
Walter is racist in a way because he thinks that all white, rick folks are always making plans worth millions while doing the simplest thing, such as just simply sitting in a restaurant and sipping coffee. “Mama sometimes when I’m downtown and I pass them cool, quiet-looking restaurants where them white boys are sitting back and talking ’bout things…sitting there turning deals worth millions of dollars…sometimes I see guys don’t look much older than me” (74) Walter says money is life to him and that’s the reason why he talks about it all the time.
This shows that he has yet to learn what life really is because it’s not all about money even though that’s what you family receives as a check in return for your life when your hour of death arrives. Walter and his wife Ruth have a distant relationship; they are stuck in a rut. Their life is a routine that annoys both of them. Walter has a dream that he thinks will get them out somewhere and make them successful, but his liquor store is opposed by Mama because she thinks it’s not Christian. Being the stubborn ‘kid’ that Walter is, he ignores his family and tries to open that liquor store by using the $6500 that Mama gave him.
Mama told him to keep $3000 for Benethea’s education and keep the other $3500 hundred in the bank under his name so he could be the ‘man of the house. ’ Walter completely disregards what Mama tells him and decides his idea would be more useful. He gives the money to Willy who steals it. After Walter realizes that the money is gone, he realizes that everyone else was right and that he was wrong about the liquor store, he screams “THAT MONEY IS MADE OUT OF MY FATHER’S FLESH” (128). This shows that he realizes not only is the money gone, but that the money was a symbol of his father which was also gone again.
He realizes that not only was he gambling with money but in a way with his father’s life. After this incident Walter and the whole family is devastated by the fact that all that hope of moving into a new house and starting over is gone. Some cheap guy that Walter trusted took away their money, hope of renewal, and Big Walter yet once again. After this Walter decides to accept the offer that was made by Karl Lindner to buy the house from them for more than they paid. Walter is still a child and thinks he will be doing a favor for his family.
At this point he believes “take or someone will take from you. ” He doesn’t understand that it will cause the Younger’s to lose their self-pride if they accept that money. It will show that black people will always be inferior in front of whites. His family was outraged and ashamed to hear what he decided to do to make things better. Then again at least he’s trying to mend his mistake. As a tactic to remind Walter that his decision will impact others, Mama asked Travis-his son to say inside and watch his father. “No. Travis, you stay right here.
And you make him understand what you doing, Walter Lee. You teach him good. Like Willy Harris taught you. You show where our five generations done come to” (147). Walter realizes that if he accepts this offer from Karl Lindner then later on in life Travis will think its right to sell yourself and pride out. “And we have decided to move into our house because my father-my father- he earned it for us brick by brick…. we don’t want your money” (148). Once these words came out of Walter’s mouth, an essence of a true man began to show.
Walter proves at this point that his father was a brave, strong man, through his words, actions and thoughts, and that Walter is just his son, one that took on these qualities as well. Apparently he realized quite late, but better now than never. In the end Walter realizes that even if you have a million dollars, if you’re not proud of yourself, no one will be for you. One must always try to understand their decisions and look at it from another’s perspective when they have a family.
Walter went through different motives of living life, but in the end we see him growing, emotionally. Family is a huge part of life and we mustn’t play with their lives under any given circumstances. Time will come and fate will somehow treat us all, but we need to be patient or it might run past us and leave us on standby. We need to be cautious of our decisions and our mistakes. Learn from them and grow as humans with them. Our mistakes will guide us away from the wrong and towards the right, if and only if we interpret them correctly.