What impression do you get of the relationship between Walter and Ruth throughout the play in A Raisin in the Sun?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is important to realise the grim realities of poverty that Walter and Ruth and the rest of the Younger family live under every single day of their lives. It is clear that living in a cockroach infested apartment with mice running around is no fun, as is working as a chauffeur to people richer than yourself or doing cleaning jobs to make ends meet. Walter in particular has big dreams of achieving financial success through his own efforts by opening a liquor store, yet these dreams and the reality of their lives create massive conflict in their marriage, that as Mama recognises, threaten to "drive away" Ruth. Note how they argue in Act One, when Walter asks Ruth to ask Mama for the money needed to start his business:

Honey, you never say nothing new. I listen to you every day, every night and every morning, and you never say nothing new. (Shrugging) So you would rather be Mr. Arnold than be his chauffeur. So--I would rather be living in Buckingham Palace.

However, in spite of appearances, it is clear that they do genuinely love each other, and fortunately, at the end of the story, Walter's decision to stand up to Lindner and refuse his cash offer shows that the family is working together now to face their problems head on rather than trying to tear itself apart by trying to fight their own individual corners.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the relationship between Ruth and Walter develops throughout the play.  At the start, there is a frayed sensibility between the husband and wife.  The emphasis on money, the fears of how daily realities will be met, and the constant denial of dreams causes a sense of hesitation in their relationship.  Hansberry brings this to a very evident point when we see Ruth being afraid to divulge her pregnancy and being so open to approach an abortion as an option.  Yet, I think that we see their relationship rekindled and revivified when Walter decides to use the money to help the family move to Clybourne Park.  It is in this light that we see their relationship solidified when it becomes evident that Walter understands the need to act in the name of his family's well- being.  He transcends his own sense of disenfranchisement in acting for his family.  This helps to bring Ruth the comfort in knowing that her spouse loves her and her family more than anything else, even individualized dreams.

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A Raisin in the Sun

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