A Raisin in the Sun Questions and Answers
by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun book cover
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Does anyone have any quotes from A Raisin in the Sun that relate to Walter and his conflicts with Man vs. Fate? 

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tmcquade eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Here are a few quotes about Walter and his conflict with fate that come to mind.

In Act I, when Walter is frustrated that Ruth does not want to speak to Mama on his behalf about Mama giving him the money to go into business, he says:

"We one group of men tied to a race of women with small minds" (Hansberry 35).

Later, when he is even more frustrated that his famiily does not support his dream of going into business, he echoes this thought when he says,

"... Cause we all tied up in a race of people that don't know how to do nothing but moan, pray, and have babies" (87).

He feels that his family is holding him back, and that his fate as a Black man is one that is restricted and oppressive.  Later, when talking to Mama about his frustration with his job and his life in general, he says:

"Sometimes it's like I can see the future stretched out in front of me - just plain as day....  Just waiting for me - a big, looming blank space - full of nothing" (73).

It is in this same speech that he argues "money is life," shocking his mother, who has always believed freedom is life, and that life should never just be about money. 

Walter feels that his fate is sealed: he is in a dead-end job; stuck in a marriage where he argues frequently with his wife; he bickers constantly with his sister; and as a 35-year-old man, he still lives with his mother, who continues to act as head of the family.  All of this seems, to him, to be fate working against him. 

When Walter's mother finally gives him the money, life seems to look up for a while - it seems things are turning around for him.  But when Willie Harris takes off with the money, Walter again sees fate working against him, both in the form of "the Man" (or White society) and the "takers and tooken" (141).  As he says to Mama in the final act,

"Life just like it is.  Who gets and who don't get.  Mama, you know it's all divided up.  Life is.  Sure enough.  Between the takers and the 'tooken'" (141).

Walter decides he's had enough of being the "tooken," so he decides to call Mr. Lindner and "take" whatever money he can get out of him, even if it means giving up his pride and dignity.  He thinks, somehow, this is taking his fate in his own hands. 

However, with the help of Mama and Travis looking on, Walter rediscovers his pride in the closing moments of the play and refuses to take the money.  Instead, he speaks with pride about his family to Mr. Linder and tells him they are moving in - and in so doing, "comes into his manhood" (151).


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