How does Mama define success in A Raisin in the Sun? How does Walter define success?
For Mama, success is growth and placing one's family first. Her struggling plant is a symbol of this. Mama feels that if she can keep her family together and satisified, she is successful.
Walter, on the other hand, has an opposing view of success. He wants to be his own boss, make his own money, and do as he pleases. He is weary of being emasculated, whether it be by all the women in the house or by being a driver to a white man. He knows that he is not viewed as the head of the household and feels unsuccessful as a man because of that. What Walter realizes at the play's end is that being successful for him is being respected and being able to respect himself.
Hansberry portrays how black Americans had an uphill task in trying to be accepted by the white community. This is shown when Mama uses part of the $10,000 received from insurance to buy a house in Clybourne Park, an all-white neighborhood. The inhabitants send a representative of the New Neighbors Orientation committee, a Mr. Karl Linder to dissuade them from settling there. Linder tries to be tactical in his approach when he says, “it is a matter of the people of Clybourne Park believing, rightlyor wrongly, as I say, that for the happiness of all concerned that negro families are happier when they live in their own communities” (Hansberry 407). Although Linder tries to show that he is asking them not to move into the neighborhood for their own good, the true intention to discourage them from moving there because he and the other whites do not think blacks were good enough to stay in the same neighborhood with them.