Author Topic: Character Analysis of Walter Younger in the play, A Raisin in the Sun  (Read 1509 times)


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The play ‘A raisin in the sun’ is a piece of literature that has been written to depict the struggles of the former-day African American families in a society where racism was the order of the day and racial prejudice a common denominator for all blacks. The play was written in 1959 by Lorraine Hansberry and depicts the experiences of a black family that lived in Chicago. It is classified as a domestic tragedy because, for most part of the play, the family of the lead character, Walter Younger, is portrayed as struggling without any plausible breakthrough in their fight against poverty. So, if you are looking to buy research papers check out, they never disappoint. The character chosen from this play for the subsequent analysis in this short essay is Walter Younger, the husband to Ruth Younger, the father to Travis Younger, the sister to Betheana and the child of Lena, whom everyone else calls Mama. Walter is the protagonist in the play and he is depicted as a lad from an extremely poor family that is struggling to make ends meet while keeping alive his American dream of wealth and prosperity.  Walter’s desire to find a job and live a wealthy life makes him a harsh man to his family, yet he has a hidden personality that loves, is caring and responsible.
Walter is the main character in the play and he is a round character, as opposed to flat character.  This is because Walter shows different personalities that a reader might find conflicting if observed in the same character. Walter is portrayed as a character that is not at peace with the rest of the characters in the play, and his drive for material prosperity, make him oblivious of the fact that he is ruining his relationships with the people around him. He is very harsh to his sister Betheana and he also speaks very cruelly to his wife Ruth. In act one scene one, when Walter and Ruth wake up early in the morning, they indulge in a heated argument about several issues, including the amount of time their son takes in the bathroom, the anxiety that Ruth thinks Walter has about the expected Check, and the fact that walter returns home late with his friends, thus distracting their son from sleep. He tell Ruth “Something the matter with you this morning?... That's what you mad about, ain't it? The things I want to talk about with my friend jus s t couldn't be important in your mind, could they?” Even his sickling mother is not spared of his outbursts, which mostly storm from the many disappointments that he has experienced in his quest for a good job and a better life.
Walter experiences bursts of wrath and he is outrageous and temperamental. This is clearly seen when he gets totally agitated by his mother because she disagrees with him in matters regarding the ten thousand shillings that the family receives as insurance cover following the death of his father.  While Walter thinks this is a good opportunity for him to invest in a liquor store and become wealthy, his mother thinks selling alcohol is bad as she is a Christian, and his wife thinks Willy Harris, whom he plans to partner with, cannot be trusted. This conflict culminates in Lena’s putting part of the money as a down payment for a new house that is in a neighboring white community.
The turn of events following this act portrays Walter as hysterical. Because he is denied the money, Walter goes into a hysteria as he turns to relentless drinking, skives off work, and is mad at his mother. Seeing this, Mama gives Walter the rest of the money and allows him to invest in whatever he wants to, with instruction that he should deposit a portion of it in the bank as school fees for his sister, Betheana. However, Walter does not follow this instruction and, instead, goes to invest all of this money in the liquor store idea, and this portrays him as a disobedient character.
However, while he has mostly portrayed negative characteristics from the beginning, the audience is surprised at a change of heart that comes after Walter receives the money he needed to make an investment.  The audience gets a doze of what Walter would have been, had he got the chance to work in a job which he loved. For instance, he becomes exceptionally friendly to the family members, including his sister, mother and wife. Walter hugs his mother for the first time since the play began, and he is good enough to take his wife on a romantic date. During the date, Walter and Ruth have such a good time, which is gestured by the act of holding hands. These attributes portray Walter not only as friendly, but also as loving and caring man who can take care of a family. This turn of events that make Walter qualify to be a round, rather than a flat character. His ability to change his characteristics and behavior with circumstance also shows that he has a dynamic, as opposed to a static personality.
In conclusion, it is evident that Walter’s wayward characters are the result of his frustrations with poverty and life. However, Walter has exemplified his good personality when he is at peace with his job, though this is short-lived as his partner swindles all the money he put in the liquor investment plan. The playwright placed the character in this play in order to bring out the typical struggles most black people went through while trying to make their lives better.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2015, 01:10:39 am by Felyxbradley »

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