Describe Walter's relationship with Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun.

Walter's relationship with Ruth in A Raisin in the Sun is generally an unhappy one. To a large extent, this is because they're on a different wavelength when it comes to what's important in life. Whereas Ruth tends to take life as it comes, Walter is much more ambitious, keen to make it as a successful businessman.

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In A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry shows how large-scale, impersonal forces such as poverty and institutionalized racism impact individuals and relationships. Ruth and Walter live in a cramped and dilapidated apartment together with their son and Walter's mother and sister. This living arrangement deprives them of space and privacy, exacerbating the seriousness of their arguments.

Ruth and Walter are both proud people, but they have different types of pride, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that their pride is expressed in different ways and concerns different matters. This is the major cause of conflict between them. Walter is humiliated by the servile nature of his job and by the family's poverty. He wants to be financially independent and sees a way of achieving this when Karl Lindner offers him money not to move into a white neighborhood. Ruth, however, agrees with Walter's mother and sister in being too proud to accept payment for what would essentially be an acknowledgement of inferiority on racial grounds.

Walter's relationship with Ruth is volatile and uneasy, and their misunderstandings are frequent. However, since Walter ultimately decides not to accept the money, the play ends on a note of uncertainty, in which there is some hope. This applies to the relationship between Walter and Ruth, as well as the wider fortunes of the family.

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For much of the play, Walter and Ruth's marriage appears to be in serious trouble. For the most part, this is because husband and wife in this particular relationship are not on the same wavelength when it comes to the truly important things in life.

Ruth is one of those people who doesn't ask much from life. A quiet woman with a passive personality, she doesn't make things happen; rather, things happen to her. This puts her at odds with Walter, who's so much more ambitious than his wife. He has big dreams of making it as a successful businessman, of owning his own store. But Ruth thinks it's a bad idea.

The fact that his wife doesn't believe in those dreams adds considerable strain to the marriage. Walter expects his wife to support him in his business ventures, or as he puts it in the play's opening scene, “A man needs for a woman to back him up.”

A further point of contention between the two concerns their respective attitudes to money. Whereas Walter wants to earn as much money as possible—with which among things, he intends to buy Ruth some expensive gifts—Ruth is content to be comfortably off. In any case, Ruth would much rather be treated by Walter with kindness, consideration, and respect than receive presents from him.

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Walter and Ruth have a difficult relationship and are not happily married to each other throughout the play. Their love has grown cold over the years and their financial struggles have taken a toll on their relationship. Walter, who harbors dreams of getting wealthy through investing his mother's insurance money in a liquor store, feels that his wife does not support his vision. He is also sick of being a chauffeur, and his negative self-perception affects his relationship with Ruth. Walter's antagonistic, callous nature is a manifestation of his own failures, which are emotions he takes out on his wife.

Ruth loves her husband and realizes that she cannot give Walter what he needs to make him happy. Ruth also has problems of her own and struggles with the decision to have an abortion or have a child. The Younger family's financial issues make having another child an extra burden, which is something Ruth is willing to prevent. Along with Walter's depression, she also has to deal with his continual drinking. Despite their unhappy marriage, Hansberry suggests that things for the couple may improve after Walter dramatically refuses Mr. Lindner's offer.  

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Walter and Ruth are not happy. They have a troubled relationship with tension stemming from at least two sources. 

Walter feels that he is wasting his life as a chauffeur. His job offers him no dignity.

He works as a chauffeur, a job he finds unsatisfying on a number of levels but most particularly because he does not desire to be anyone's servant.

In this diminutive self-perception, Walter becomes resentful of Ruth, projecting his self-contempt onto her. There is reason to intepret this negativity as a resentment that is actually directed inward. Walter feels that he has failed his wife and his son. 

Ruth does not agree with Walter's view of himself. This difference in perspective creates some of the verbal conflict from the play's first act.

The pressures of poverty that lead Walter to feel like a failure lead Ruth to attempt to focus on the bare, positive facts: at least the family is together. They have each other.

She clearly loves her husband and family but also clearly feels the stress of poverty. 

When Ruth discovers that she is pregnant, a new conflict emerges. Another child will be a financial burden on the family and there is already too little space for the family as it is now in the cramped apartment. 

Walter, in his self-loathing, is desparate to find a way to express his true potential as a man, a husband and human being. The pregnancy looks like a challenge more than a blessing. As their relationship suffers, Ruth begins to feel this way too. 

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