A Raisin in the Sun Questions and Answers
by Lorraine Hansberry

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What was Walter's occupation in A Raisin in the Sun?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Lorraine Hansberry's classic play A Raisin in the Sun, Walter Lee Younger is employed as Mr. Arnold's chauffeur. Walter is portrayed as a vibrant, enthusiastic man with massive dreams of one day becoming a successful businessman. Despite his huge dreams and motivation to climb the social ladder, he is employed as a lowly chauffeur. Walter laments about his occupation to his wife and feels like she does not support his dreams of entering the liquor business with several of his partners. Walter is sick and tired of his job and compares himself to a volcano that is ready to explode. Lena understands her son's feelings regarding his occupation and tells Mrs. Johnson that there is something wrong with a man like Walter, Jr. being someone's servant. Lena tells Mrs. Johnson,

My husband always said being any kind of a servant wasn’t a fit thing for a man to have to be. He always said a man’s hands was made to make things, or to turn the earth with—not to drive nobody’s car for ’em— or—(She looks at her own hands.) carry they slop jars. And my boy is just like him—he wasn’t meant to wait on nobody. (Hansberry, 104)

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poetliane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Walter Lee Younger was a chaffeur for a wealthy white man. More than anything, Walter was consumed with envy and rage because of the disparities that existed between African Americans and whites during the 1950s in America. Walter Lee would watch younger, well-educated, wealthy white boys take advantage of opportunities to increase their wealth and status simply because of the color of their skin. Walter Lee didn't just aspire to own a liquor store; he aspired to be wealthy and have opportunities most African Americans weren't privy to at that time. However, he was willing to invest in the liquor store because he felt it was his best last chance to strive for his dream of wealth.

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linda-allen eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Walter is a chauffeur. He hopes to someday open his own liquor store, but his dreams are crushed when he doesn't get the money he was hoping to receive.

I hope you enjoy reading the rest of the play!

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