What is the conflict between Walter and Mama in A Raisin in the Sun?  

The conflict between Walter and Mama in A Raisin in the Sun is over how to spend the $10,000 in insurance money the family has inherited.

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Mama and Walter disagree over how to spend the insurance money. Mama wants to use most of the money to move out of their cramped apartment, pay for a new house in the suburbs, and then divide the rest between Walter and Beneatha. She hopes they will use their shares to invest in their futures: Walter wants to run a liquor store, and Beneatha wants to go to medical school to become a doctor. Walter wants to use all of the money to open the liquor store, since he believes the family will earn more money and self-respect that way.

Mama experiences a great deal of additional inner conflict over their disagreement. She does not think Walter can handle the responsibility of possessing the money, but she also knows that if he never tastes such responsibility, she will be infantilizing him and limiting his potential. She knows both his self-confidence as a man and as a human being will be blunted if she continues to exercise authority over him. The conflict is resolved when Mama allows Walter to have $6,000 of the $10,00. Walter ultimately loses the money when he hands it over to his friend Willy, but in the process, he matures and becomes a more responsible person.

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Walter and Mama clash over how to spend the $10,000 in insurance money. Mama thinks communally about the money, planning to put most of it into a nice house in the suburbs where they can all get away from the ghetto. She wants to divide the rest between Walter and Beneatha, so that both of her children can pursue their dreams.

Walter wants to use the money to open a liquor store, as he thinks a successful business will pave the way for family prosperity and self-respect. Both Mama and Beneatha dislike this idea.

The deeper issue, as Mama understands, is that she doesn't trust Walter to be able to handle the money or to responsibly take on the role of head of the family he yearns to assume since his father died. He wants to be the family patriarch as the sole surviving male, but Mrs. Younger thinks he isn't ready for the role.

Nevertheless, Mama knows that if she continues to infantilize him and deny him opportunities to control his life, she will simply be replicating what the white world does to Black men, which is to infantilize them until their hopes dry up. She therefore gives Walter $6,000 of the money to control, both his and Beneatha's share, in order to show her trust in him and build his sense of self-worth. He loses the money, just as Mama fears, but also learns and grows enough from the experience to later stand up for buying the house.

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Walter and Mama disagree about what to do with the insurance money that the Younger family will inherit. Walter wants to open a liquor store, while Mama is totally opposed to the idea. Mama wants to use the money buy her family a larger house in a different neighborhood.

Their conflict involves not only what they will do with the insurance money, but also their different belief systems. Walter pessimistically believes that the only way to achieve one's dreams is to prove one's material wellbeing. In Act I, Mama says, "Once upon a time freedom used to be life—now it’s money. I guess the world really do change." Walter replies to her, "No—it was always money, Mama. We just didn’t know about it." Mama believes that her life's goal is to achieve greater freedoms as an African-American woman, as she still remembers when her community was subject to lynching, and she wants to achieve greater freedom and a better chance for her family by moving to a house that they own. Walter concentrates on the material aspects of the American Dream until the end of the play, when he realizes his pride and freedom are worth more than money.

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Walter and Mama have a major conflict. Walter desires to take the insurance money and open an ABC store. Mama is totally against selling alcohol. She is against Walter's dream. She and Walter argue. Mama believes that Walter's dream is superficial. She is very religious. She does not believe in Walter's dream.

Walter argues with Mama. He is convinced that the ABC store will be a success. He believes his mother is against him without good reason. For this reason, he spends much of his time drinking and coming home in an argumentative mood.

Mama begins to see that Walter is suffering beyond words. He feels that he is a black man who has the odds against him. He does not want to spend the rest of his life driving as a chauffeur for a white rich man.

When Walter is at his lowest point, Mama decides to give Walter the money for his dream. Unfortunately, Walter gives the money to Willy. Willy runs off with the money.

Mama was right about Walter's dream. She knew that the dream and Walter's friends were artificial. Nevertheless, Mama trusted Walter with the insurance money. She put her faith in him. This helped change Walter for the better:

When his friend runs off with the money, Walter feels particularly hopeless, ironically, however, he achieves a sense of himself as an adult and leader of his family in part through this event.

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