Describe the relationship between Mama and Walter in the play "A Raisin in the Sun"?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is a power struggle going on between Mama and Walter that infuses the entire play with tension between the two. Walter is in his 30's and still lives with his mother along with his wife and son. He truly believes that no one really listens to him and he wants to be thought of as the man of the house. However, to Mama and, even to Ruth, Walter's actions seem immature and untrustworthy. Walter wants to invest the money from his father's insurance in a liquor store, something Mama is stubbornly opposed to. Mama says point blank, "I'm too old to have that [ the liquor story] on my ledger ( or list of sins). Mama controls the house and even her other child Beneatha. When Beneatha implies there is no God, Mama slaps her and makes her say, "In my Mama's house there is God." Mama has to learn to let her go enough so they can make decisions on their own. Walter desperately needs some practice making decisions. When Mama finally gives Walter some of the inheritance money, Walter foolishly loses it. However, realizing that Walter needs her support, she says to Beneatha, "When do you think the time to love someone is." She also wisely makes Travis stay when Lindner returns with his offer. Thus, Mama finally sees that the way to help Walter is to make him see the consequences of his actions through his son. Finally, Walter does "come into his manhood" when he rejects Lindner's offer and Mama finally feels she can trust her son.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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