Act II, Scene 3: Summary and Analysis
It is moving day one week later. Ruth and Beneatha are packing. Ruth happily tells Beneatha of the change that has come over Walter; they are getting along better and Ruth is very happy. The doorbell rings and a white man they have never seen before is there. He comes in to their apartment, and Ruth, Beneatha, and Walter talk to him since Mama is not at home.
His name is Karl Lindner and he is from the Clybourne Park Improvement Association. He specifically represents their New Neighbors Orientation Committee. They are curious as to what he has come to say.
It appears after a while that the man is having trouble getting to the point of his visit. He starts off talking about how everyone ought to live harmoniously, but he keeps interspersing what he is saying with comments like “you people.” Finally, it is clear that he has come to dissuade them from moving into the neighborhood and is prepared to offer them money to change their minds.
As shocked as he is hurt, Walter tells the man to get out of his house. As Lindner is leaving, Mama and Travis are arriving. She asks who the man was, and in sarcastic manner, the family tells her why he came to see them. Unperturbed, Mama tends to her plant, which she is taking to the new house.
Walter and Travis then present Mama with gifts. A new set of gardening tools comes from her son, daughter, and daughter-in-law, and her grandson gives her a very elaborate gardening hat. Mama says it is the prettiest hat she has ever owned.
The doorbell rings again. Walter is frozen, unable to go to the door. Finally, he does, and it is Bobo, his associate in the liquor store venture. Although Ruth is apprehensive at seeing him, Walter asks him what good news he brings.
Bobo takes as much time to get to his point as Lindner did to get to his. After much agitated conversation, Bobo finally tells Walter that Willie, who was holding all the money for the liquor store and Beneatha’s education has disappeared.
Thrown into despair and confusion, the family tries to cope with this news. The scene ends as Mrs. Younger recalls, in utmost agony, how the money was from her beloved husband’s insurance. She strikes her son over and over again in the face until Beneatha stops her. The scene ends as Mrs. Younger is pleading with God to give her strength.
The persona of Karl Lindner is a very disturbing aspect of this scene. As it becomes clear what his purpose is in calling on the Youngers, he takes on more and more of a diabolical shade.
It bears observation that a couple of pages after the NAACP is mentioned, Lindner arrives, spouting his own organization’s and committee’s names.
We are again greatly concerned about the Youngers’ struggle to survive. As if to underscore the horrific nature of the man’s visit, Walter says, dumbfounded: “Is this what you came marching all the way over here to tell us?” The mention of the word...
(The entire section is 832 words.)