It was first produced in 1959. Lorraine Hansberry’s work is about a black family in the Chicago’s South-Side after the Second World War. The family consisted of Mama(Lena Younger), Walter Lee(her son), Ruth (his wife), Travis (their son), and Beneatha (Walters younger sister). The Younger family lived in poor conditions, and can’t afford to have better living standards. However, Lena is waiting to receive a $10,000 check from her late-husbands insurance money.
The two main characters in the play, Mama and Walter, want this money to be used for the benefits of the whole family. Even though both of them want to benefit the family, each one has a different idea of what to do with the money and how to manage it to benefit everyone. Walter Lee, like his father want’s his family to have a better life and want’s to invest the money in a liquor store. Walter want’s the money so that he can prove that he is capable of making a future for his family.
By doing well in business Walter thinks that he can buy his family happiness. Walter has dreams. Dreams he most likely got from his father. Dreams of better life for his family and himself.
A dream of financial security and comfortable living. Ruth, on the other hand is stable and down to earth. She doesn’t make rash choices to accommodate a dream. She will just make do with what she has. Mama is a loving person, she is wise but lives in the past. She is happy to have her family with and be safe from society.
She thinks that money is not something that makes a family happy. Besides dreams Walter also has a husbands responsibilities which are universally thought of as being able to support his family and raise his children so they are morally in line with what he believes in. Walter’s problem, however, seems to be that he is building his supposedly well thought out plan of investing money in a liquor store into something he is infactuated with. By creating this infactuation, he is not able to achieve his responsibilities. Besides having responsibilities Walter also has his manly pride. All throughout the story Walter Lee shows a type of pride that might be considered the “manly” pride.
He always insists on being the head of the family and he thrives on the acceptance of him as that role. When his manlihood is questioned, he is greatly angered. He expects and tries to demand for the rest of the family to listen to him and follow his guide through life. He shows his anger towards the unacceptance of his “manly” pride in the point of the story when his mother will not give money towards his business interest. Mama denies him money because she has a deep ingrained pride in her.
Most of her pride is from the inherited pride she received from her late husband, Big Walter. She has the good old values of putting your family first, respecting your mother, and father, and respecting the Lord. She always talked about how her generation won their freedom and was proud to be able to no longer be thought of as slaves. She never seemed to fully understand the type of pride Walter was searching for although she tried. She went as far as going against her belief that the $10,000 should not go towards the liquor store.
She ended up giving him this money to boost his “manly” pride, but not before she put a down payment on a new house. Although she was going against her values, she is proud in her family and keeps her faith in them. Walter Lee has never wanted anything mere in his life than that $10,000. He tries to reason with his mom to give it to him and tries to convince her that it would be profitable to the family. His mother’s “old fashioned pride” is standing in the way of his “manly” pride.
He thinks money is the only way he can be successful; that money makes the man. The following conversation between Walter