A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

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In a paper, what is the best way to introduce Walter Lee's role in the Younger family?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In regards to Walter Lee Younger's role in his family, one could introduce him as the sole male provider, who embodies the dream and struggle of attaining prosperity in America. Walter Lee Younger works as a chauffeur and desperately wishes to quit his job in order to enter the liquor business using his mother's insurance money. He is depicted as a selfish visionary, who is extremely emotional and enthusiastic about attaining his dream. As the only grown man in the Younger family, he takes a leading role in the family's dynamic, second only to his mother, Lena. Despite his rather elaborate and unrealistic dreams of attaining financial prosperity by entering the liquor business, which is an area that he lacks knowledge and experience in, his mother trusts him with the majority of the insurance money. When Walter is given the money, he becomes the leader of his family and has the authority to make financial decisions. Unfortunately, Walter's business partner steals the money and he is forced to make a difficult decision regarding whether or not to sell Lena's new home. At the end of the play, Walter experiences a dramatic transformation and demonstrates his integrity by refusing to sell his mother's home.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I believe that one of the best ways to characterize Walter and introduce him in a paper to show him as the embodiment of the struggle in dreams.  Walter is shown to struggle with accomplishing the reality of his dreams.  Walter's presence in the drama is to assess the difficulties with dreams.  In introducing him in a paper, I would focus here as a potential element to illuminate his characterization.  Walter is shown to be a figure that wrestles with dreams, their weight and the pain that their lack of accomplishment can cause to the individual.  For Walter, the essence of the dream is one in which Walter's character exists.  His role in the drama is to show the pain, frustration, and hurt that accompanies dreams.  In this manner of introduction, Walter becomes the focal point for how dreams progress and how important they are in the modern setting.  This also establishes his trajectory throughout the drama, for his actions at the end of the drama could be seen as a realization and embodiment of the importance of dreams.

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