Lena Younger is a woman to be admired. She is proud, strong, courageous, loving, and sensitive. Throughout her life, Lena has struggled against poverty and racism, working hard to raise her family. The difficulties in her life have not made her bitter or angry; instead, she has maintained her dignity and optimism. In buying a house in the white neighborhood--not as an act of social protest but because it was the best home for her family--Lena displays the courage that has guided her life. When it becomes clear that her family will not be welcomed among their new neighbors, Lena does not retreat, and she will not sell her dream for money, refusing to accept the inflated offer to buy back the house before moving into it. The offer is insulting, rooted in racial prejudice; Lena will not sell her dignity. Lena is also a sensitive woman who understands her son's need to feel like a man; she gives him money to invest in a business. When he loses the money, she does not reject him. The potted plant Lena manages to keep alive in her dark, sunless apartment symbolizes her spirit and her love for life.