Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry
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In A Raisin In the Sun, how does Walter distance himself from each of his family members?

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I think that most of this answer is going to be found in the early stages of the drama because Walter's actions at the end of the story represents a "coming together" between Walter and his family.  I think that Walter distances himself from Travis by simply giving him the money he needs for school, as opposed to explaining the financial conditions of the family.  It seems like his giving the money to Travis is something that is almost dismissive, meaning he gives the money only to get rid of Travis.  The presence of the unborn child and the Ruth's contemplation of an abortion reflects the emotional distance between both husband and wife.  Her fears about the child reflects that she understands Walter to be emotionally estranged from her to a great extent.  The opening scene where Walter speaks to Ruth in a manner reflecting that she does not support his dreams also reflects his distancing himself from her.  Walter and Beneatha are akin to two ships passing in the night, as he recognizes her to be a drain on the family and little in way of emotional attachment is present between brother and sister.  Finally, I think that Walter demonstrates himself to be distant from his mother as he only sees as as a turnkey to the insurance money from his dead father.  He does not seem to ask her opinion as to what should be done with it, but is only concerned with "if the check arrived."  In this light, the only connection that he shares with his mother is the coveting of her impending financial windfall.

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