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Walters Dreams and Realties - an Analysis of Walter Younger from a Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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Walters Dreams and Realties:

An analysis of Walter Younger from A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Dreams can be seen in many ways. A dream could be something you had in the night that seems so real, or a dream could be your fantasy, where everything is going your way. The last type of dream is something that has more of a deep sense and plays an important role in your life. In life, people have many dreams. Dreams are important because they create goals for people, and they motivate people to accomplish them. But, “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?” A dream deferred is a dream put off to another time. The main character, Walter Younger had a deferred dream; his dreams become dried up like a raisin in the sun. His dream and his struggles to achieve his dream have intent to basically conquer them. He feels that every dream he has had has been taken away from him, either by bad timing or by the white man in general. For every character there is a defining characteristic. For Walter, it is his dream, and his unchangeable belief that money will solve all of their problems.

In A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, dreams are all this family has. Each character, Mama, Ruth, Walter, and Beneatha, has their own dream. These dreams represent goals, hopes, and the future for this poor family. It is not until one of these dreams is realized that the family realizes that what they have (family) is more important that any hopes for the future. For Walter, this realization does not come easily. Trapped in the belief that as the only man it is his job to support his family, along with the need to make something of himself, Walter must come to terms with what he has, and learn to live in the present, and not the future. By looking at Walter’s dreams and realities, and how they affect him and his family it is easy to see how he desperately desires the American dream.

The American Dream does not come easily to everyone. For so many people owning a house, having a successful job, and supporting a family are just not possible. For the Youngers, this dream has scarcely even been a dream, with three generations living in a small, cramped apartment. Walter, depicted as an average African American man, is representative of a typical man, having few unique characteristics, and sharing the same dream with every other man. He wants to support his family, and dreams one day to own all or part of his own business. At one point, he tells his son

That’s how come one day when you ‘bout seventeen years old I’ll come home . . . I’ll pull the car up on the driveway . . . just a plain black Chrysler, I think, with white walls—no—black tires . . . the gardener will be clipping away at the hedges and he’ll say, “Good evening, Mr. Younger.” And I’ll say, “Hello, Jefferson, how are you this evening?” And I’ll go inside and Ruth will come downstairs and meet me at the door and we’ll kiss each other and she’ll take my arm and we’ll go up to your room to see you sitting on the floor with the catalogues of all the great schools in America around you. . . . All the great schools in the world! And—and I’ll say, all right son—it’s your seventeenth birthday, what is it you’ve decided?...Whatever you want to be—Yessir! You just name it, son . . . and I hand you the world! (Act 2, Scene 2)

For Walter, this is what life should be, and what he dreams it someday will be for his family. He dreams of a large house, his own car, and work that will let him give his family the world. It is a far cry from reality for them, where they can not even afford to purchase a home, and he works often as a chauffer. This dream is created by Walter as a way to keep going on, if he did not feel that he would ever be successful, he would be a failure, as a man and as a father, husband, and son. His dream is not a reality, or even a likelihood for his family. Yet when the family inherits money, Walter truly believes that he will be able to give his family this life. He is offered the chance to go in on a liquor store, to make money, and desperately wants to. The liquor store represented an opportunity for Walter to govern his own life, and to be the head of the household because he would be bringing in the money. The idea of operating his own business gave him a positive outlook for the future that was more promising that his career as a limousine driver. On the other hand, in reality, Walter's determination to open the liquor store can be observed as means to an ending. But mama, knowing that not all dreams pan out, instead places a down payment on a house for the family. Walter, emasculated by his mother taking charge, confronts her “"What you need me to say you done right for?

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