Walter and Beneatha from A Raisin in the Sun

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The evaluation of the character traits of Walter and Beneatha from A Raisin in the Sun displays that both characters have similar and opposing traits which make them suitable for comparison. Walter is portrayed as a middle-aged man who works as a chauffeur and drinks a lot. Beaneatha, on the other hand, is Walter's youthful sister is a college student who intends to be part of medical school. She appears to the most mental member of her family, and, therefore, she takes pride in it. The two characters she several commonalities but they have different roles in the play.
It is evident that both the characters have defined individual self-drive that each of them portrays as they enact their roles in the play. Beneatha and Walter are pressed by difficult circumstances that they undergo in their relationships (Loos 129). They both feel the urge to act in an attempt to distinguish them in a bid to attain self-respect and dignity. For Beneatha, the thrust is portrayed in her dreams to become a doctor (Hansberry 12). The dream required a considerable financial expense, but she was still willing to undertake it. Another instance in which Beneatha demonstrates the will to distinguish herself is the move to marry Asagai (Hansberry 18). In so doing, she is prepared to adopt a pan-African identity which is associated with pride.

Walter, on the other hand, strives to attain dignity in that he expresses a longing to have an independent livelihood. He, therefore, wishes to have an independent life and a career as opposed to the one that he leads. In the play, he wishes to quit his job as a chauffeur and instead establish a liquor store from which he can easily control his finances (Hansberry 12). Both the characters, therefore, realize that for them to be different and achieve their goals, they have to lead a life that opposes their common family identity. Although this individuation bears them success in their endeavors, it is evident that it considerably separates them the rest of the family and their familial identity (Loos 121).

Even though the two characters share the similarity of the self-motivation, they are significantly different in the manner in which they perceive the issue of culture. Walter strives to achieve success in the neighborhood by joining forces with his friends to open another liquor store (Hansberry 12). Beneatha, on the other hand, takes an opposing approach in which she considers ways out of the culture that she was brought up in. For instance, she rejects Murchison who tries to court her (Hansberry 19). In the play, this is the individual who was best suited to court her as they both come from the same cultural background. Through this rejection, it can be seen that Beneatha rejects her culture and, therefore, she triggers a direct conflict with her mother (Hansberry 11). This is unlike Walter who strives in all ways possible to avoid conflicts with his mother.

Walter is a dreamer who spends most of the time planning how he will spend his father’s money. Throughout the play, he is seen endlessly contemplate on coming up with a solution to the various problems that arise in his family. Beneatha, on the other hand, is an intellectual who actualizes her dreams. She attends college, and she is better educated that the rest of her family members. She has personal beliefs that have distanced her from her conservative family. She also dreams of becoming a doctor, but unlike her brother, she actualizes her dream by struggling to attain her goals (Hansberry 12). Further, she makes every effort to achieve her identity as a well-educated black woman. While water is difficult to get along with Beneatha seems to be friendly though principled. Walter picks fights with several people in the play. The arguments portray the difficulties that he faces in his life and the dissatisfaction that he encounters in his work as a chauffeur (Matthews 561). The only thing that excites him is the mention of money which he perceives a gateway to establishing his financial wellbeing. Beneatha also proves to be difficult to deal with particularly due her to condescending attitude. This is depicted after she becomes educated than the other members of the family which make it difficult to relate to them (Matthews 566).

Although Walter and Beneatha perform different roles in the play, they demonstrate several commonalities. However, they also have their personal differences which set them apart. The playwright used both the characters to effectively bring out their roles by giving them similar and opposing characteristics. The similarity is that they both demonstrate self-motivation and individual thrust in all their activities. Also, they both have the zeal to achieve their dreams. More so, they both prove to be difficult to play along due to their questionable characters. On the contrary, while Walter is just a dreamer, Beneatha works hard to actualize her dreams. By adopting these two characters, the playwright effectively develops the plot of the play.

Works Cited

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin In The Sun. 1st ed., New York, Random House, 2002.

Loos, Pamela. A Reader's Guide To Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun. 1st ed., Berkeley Heights, NJ, Enslow Publishers, 2008.

Matthews, Kristin L. "The Politics Of “Home” In Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun". Modern Drama, vol 51, no. 4, 2008, pp. 556-578. University Of Toronto Press Inc. (Utpress), doi:10.3138/md.51.4.556.

July 24, 2021



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