Abstract illustration of the houses of Clybourne Park

A Raisin in the Sun

by Lorraine Hansberry

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Student Question

In A Raisin in the Sun, why might Walter be resentful of Beneatha's medical school ambitions, beyond his own need for money?

Expert Answers

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The conclusion one might draw is that Walter is jealous of his sister's ambition. As a child of the Depression, Walter is both more money-conscious and more accustomed to the racial discrimination that could prevent his sister from becoming a doctor. Beneatha, on the other hand, as a Baby Boomer, doesn't see anything other than money keeping her from following her dream.

Perhaps it is her lack of a sense of her "place" in society that irks Walter most. Beneatha is free in a way Walter never can be. Not only is he older and tied to a family, but he is bound to a conception of self that causes him to seem an underachiever in the eyes of Beneatha. This point of view is especially bitter for Walter, who has sacrificed much for his family and who believes that his achievement in running the liquor store will contribute more to family welfare than Beneatha's attempt to become a doctor.

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