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Character Development: A Raisin in the Sun

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Character Development: A Raisin in the Sun

Faheem Adams

Wd. Lit. / Comp., Pd.3

November 5, 2006

Character Development: A Raisin in the Sun

Each character in A Raisin in the Sun has grown through out the play. The first character I will begin to talk about is Walter Lee Younger (brother). He is Passionate, ambitious, and bursting with the energy of his dreams, Walter Lee is a desperate man, influenced by with poverty and prejudice, and obsessed with a business idea that he thinks will solve all of his problems. He believes that through his business idea, he will collect all the money he will ever need. Once he has done so, he will improve himself socially and be able to impress others.

Walter Lee wants to be able to buy his wife beautiful jewelry and his son to have anything he wants, but Walter is unable to achieve this because of his lack of education. George Murchison refers to Walter Lee as “Prometheus”, this of course fits Walter Lee’s personality perfectly because Prometheus is the god who was punished for bringing fire to mortals, was chained to Mt. Caucasus, where every day an eagle tore out his liver, which grew back each night. This relates to Walter Lee because Walter, too, is chained. His obsession with becoming wealthy and prominent keeps returning through out the play.

Walter feels as though no one in the family supports his idea of opening a liquor store, but they want him to be an entrepreneur, but opening a liquor store is against his mother’s moral grounds. Walter's arrogance is clearer when he asks Beneatha about her decision to become a doctor: He asks why she couldn't just become a nurse or get married "like other women." When he comes home after drinking with his friends and Beneatha is dancing to the African music, he says, "Shut up" to Ruth, just before joining Beneatha in the dance. Walter is obsessed with getting money so that he can buy "things for Ruth"; he is unaware that treating Ruth more kindly and with more respect would be more appreciated and valued than any "gifts."

After Walter foolishly loses all of his mother's money to his friend, he begins to hate himself, the only emotion that allows him to consider selling out his race and accepting Lindner's offer. It is a good moment for Walter, because Travis is watching him. Walter cannot bring himself to except.

The next character that has grown through out the play is Benethea Younger. Beneatha is the most educated of the Youngers, she sometimes seems to be obnoxious and self-centered, and she always expresses her views in a household that has difficulty understanding her perspectives. She favors her African suitor over her rich boyfriend, much to the puzzlement of her family.

Even though her family is clearly poor, Beneatha has no regret about getting her knowledge. Benethea jumps from one hobby to another as her mood changes, even though it often seems that the family could use the money spent on Beneatha's horseback riding, her camera equipment, her acting lessons, and her guitar lessons for other, more needed in life.

Beneatha's "schooling" is a privilege that Walter Lee has not had, yet Beneatha believes that a higher education is her right. Everyone in the family is making a sacrifice so that Beneatha can become a doctor, something pointed out by Walter Lee as they clash earlier in the play.

Beneatha's relationship with her mother is full of conflict because of their differences, but it is not a bad relationship, even after her mother slaps her for her blasphemous talk, Beneatha later hugs and thanks her mother for understanding her breaking

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