As a person who has married into the Younger family, Ruth tries to get along with everyone. She has a pleasant temperament and tries to be the peacemaker in the family, but she unavoidably faces conflict with the others. However, the central conflict that Ruth faces through the course of the play is internal. In the first act, it is revealed that she is pregnant. Although she had been trying to hide this fact, after she faints in front of Lena, her mother-in-law, she can no longer do so. Primarily because of the family’s precarious financial situation, she is contemplating terminating the pregnancy. Although she does not say this out loud, Lena understands that she is considering it and, as a devout Christian, voices her strong opposition.
In trying to maintain a calm atmosphere, Ruth is constantly thwarted by Walter and Beneatha, who have very different world views. Ruth wants to support her husband, but she also realizes that he goads his sister. Trying to play the mediator places Ruth in conflict with both of them.
Ruth is also frequently in conflict with Walter. Where she is calm, he is volatile; where she is steady, he tends to be erratic. One area of conflict is his ideas about business, including his expectation of using his mother’s insurance money and the men he plans to have as partners.