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Why does the family live in such poor conditions, and why do they move into the new...

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quitta | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 2, 2007 at 10:56 PM via web

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Why does the family live in such poor conditions, and why do they move into the new house even though the white man didn't want them there?

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sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted December 3, 2007 at 7:59 PM (Answer #1)

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The Younger family has little money because Walter has difficulty staying employed and beyond that, having a job that pays a decent wage.  As a black man in the 1950s-60s, he has few employment opportunities open to him, so he is always looking for a scheme that pays better than what a regular job would give him.  He finds his job as chauffeur to a white man demeaning. In addition, he has a very strong father-figure (Mama’s dead husband) to look up to, and his great shadow might intimidate even more.  The family decides to move into their new house because they have a right to do this, they want a new opportunity in life, they want to get out of the cramped apartment in which they live, and because they can afford the house.  Walter tells Lindner “And we have decided to move into our house because my father—my father –he earned it for us brick by brick,” and in saying this he validates his father and himself as a man. He refuses to allow white society to dictate to and limit their lives, and in doing this gain in dignity at the end of the play.

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snazario | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 14, 2008 at 11:31 AM (Answer #2)

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The family lives under poor condition because of the lack of job opportunities that color people had.  The main jobs that they were "accepted" was domestic, and serving others, as Walter's familly did.  Out of the five people that are living in the house, ony three are actually working, and Walter in occasion does not take his job seriously, since he is not pleased with what he does.  Beneatha is studing and demands money, not only in her studies, but also for her pleasure.  As Ruth mentions when Beneatha was taking horse lesson and they paid $50 for the suit she needed, and Beneatha did not last.  $50 may not seem alot to many today, but in the 50's it was a lot. 

 When it comes to the issue of them moving into a neighborhood that did not want them, as Mama said, they were proud people.  The deserved more than what they had, and no color should be an obstacle for that.  Not to mention that it had always been a dream of Big Walter.

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