It is clear that one of the central themes of this play is the way that the Younger family have to face massive barriers from society in terms of the lack of opportunity African-Americans are given. This is something that Walter struggles with particularly as he tries to get ahead in life and build a future for himself and his family. Note how he expresses this frustration about his inability to get ahead in Act I:
I was lookin' in the mirror and thinking about it... I'm thirty-five years old; I been married eleven years and I got a boy who sleeps in the living room--(Very, very quietly)--and all I got to give him is stories about how rich white people live...
Walter desperately desires to be successful and to be able to earn enough to meet his family's needs. However, because of racism, he finds that he is trapped working for white men and cannot earn enough to rent a place that is big enough for his family. His sense of frustration and impotence is heightened when he realises that Ruth is pregnant and is thinking of having an abortion because they can't afford to have another baby. This is why he desperately entertains the dream of opening a liquor store with a friend as a way of gaining independence and setting his son an example of self-made success and not letting the barriers in society constrain him. Walter therefore is a good example of the conflict between man and society, and the above quote is a useful starting point to help examine that conflict.