In A Raisin in the Sun why was Mama getting a check for 10,000?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mama Younger's check that is so eagerly anticipated by all members of the family comes from her husband's life insurance payout.  One of the themes in the play is the idea of how good can come from bad, and this element established in the opening helps to bring such an idea to light.  While her husband's death is certainly horrible, it might help bring the family some level of good as the money from his death can help to bring some stability to the family in the form of a new home.  This is why Mama is so protective of the money, and not willing to give it to Walter to open a liquor store with Bobo.  In the end, this check ends up setting the wheels in motion a chance for the family to live a better life, something good arising from something bad.