Materialismin in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Money is like a double ended sword, as it makes life easier on one hand while at the same time most of the problems in many families all revolve around money. Raisin in the sun play was written by Hansberry which the center of all the issues they are facing hence the central motif in the story.
The Younger family made up of five is living in a house fit for three as they try to gain middle-class acceptance in the community as they are a lower-class black family. A $10,000 check is to arrive through the mail as insurance check Big Walter worked hard to attain and each family member has different opinions on how the check should be spent.
Lena, Ruth, and Beneatha imagine money as a path towards their road out of poverty, but Walter sees money as the only way out of their current life to a better one. He has big dreams and fantasies of how the funds will heighten his social standing as well as acquire items which he currently can’t afford due to his low paying job as a chauffeur. In the begging of the play Walter hurriedly rushes in and asks “Did it come?” To which his mother replies “Can’t you give people a Christian greeting before you start asking about money?” This clearly shows that
Walter does not care about anything else apart from the check they are about to receive.
In act 1 scene two Lena argues with Walter whether money has become life this day as there used to be a time when people did consider freedom as life. Walter gets back to her saying that all along it has always been about money it’s just that people did not know about it. Walter tries to show the reader that money is the center of everything, having it one can be able to attain any social class they desire.
However, this is not true as money is not always a guarantee happiness and success in life. There are many other things which money can never be able to buy them.
Lena has always wanted a bigger house with a backyard and with the arrival of the check comes the chance for her to get her family a better house. This is seen as a way of climbing up the social class in the society. Even though Walter is not happy about the decision of buying the house let alone the neighborhood they will have to have into is a white only.
He accuses his mother of killing his dream of opening a liquor store yet she is the one talking about dreaming big. However, Lena always has her son in mind and is willing to give him a chance as she hands him the remaining amount for him to pay Beneatha’s tuition fees and save the rest.
Having big dreams and plans is always a way of life but when the limits of how big the goals should be are exceeded then a problem may arise within an individual especially if not given a chance to achieve those dreams. Lena is well aware of this as she advises her son that it is not worth holding onto anything be it money or ideas if in the end, it is going to destroy you.
Chasing after money alone will make one lose out on many other essential aspects of life. With the hopes of opening a liquor store drowning after Bobo tells Walter that their alleged friend has swindled them, and the money is no more he angrily says, “Man, must trust you…Man, I put my life in your hands…man”. And with that, he is back to having only dreams only about a better future.
Money has become an idol which everyone is worshiping or chasing after including children. Travis asks for 50 cents from Ruth before he heads to school which he is denied at first but later Walter hands him a one dollar bill. Children have also become obsessed with money in the society, and it is becoming a norm to pay them off with every little thing they do or help around in the homestead. This eventually leads to them growing with the belief that money is everything hence will always chase after it.
All the money is gone and Walter being frustrated, Mama still says that there is something left to love about him and asks if they have cried for the Walter for what he must be going through and the experience he has passed through. Lena knows that money is not everything provided that the family is healthy and happy everything is okay.
Karl Lindner is sent to the Youngers to acquire the house they had previously bought in a white neighborhood at a price even higher than the original price tag as the residents of Clybourne don’t have any relationship with the black family in order to move out because they have worked hard and will do anything to protect their dreams.
However, Lana is against the idea of selling the house as she tells her Walter, “Son I come from five generations of people who was slaves and sharecroppers but ain’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay them no money that was a way of telling us we weren’t fit to walk the earth. We ain’t never been that poor. We ain’t never been that dead inside.”
The white neighborhood believes that with money they can acquire anything even get the Youngers to sell their house simply because they do not want them living amongst them even if it means paying a higher price to buy the house.
Despite all, in the end, a family is what comes first. Lena knows that it is the family is superior to money that is why she does not get mad when Walter misuses his entire father’s life work in a day by getting conned. Ruth feels the same way, and all she cares about is her family is happy.
Willy who was supposed to be a friend to both Walter and Bobo decides to walk away with all their money in the name of going to get a license but never returns. Their friendship ceases to exist all for money. Many strong friendships and relationships come to an end with the cause being money.
Everybody believes that money is everything and they can even sacrifice their friend’s dreams to get it. Walter is all about being great and climbing the social class in the society. He puts his dreams ahead of Beneatha’s dream of attending medical school and ends up losing all the money.
She does not take this well in the beginning as she says; “Did you dream of yachts on Lake Michigan, Brother? Did you see yourself on that Great Day sitting down at the Conference Table, surrounded by all the mighty bald men in America? All halted, waiting, breathless, waiting for your pronouncements on the industry? Waiting for you Chairman of the Board, I look at you, and I see the final triumph of stupidity in the world!”
Hansberry Central motif in the play is money as the whole plot revolves around the $10,000 check the Youngers receive after their father passed away. Money easily tears families apart if every member is always chasing it as conflicts are bound to happen. It is the root of evil in the society today as all bad things happening are mainly due to people’s thirst for money. Many innocent individuals have fallen victims even some end up dead if they try to stop someone from stealing or harming others for money.
Immorality is on the rise and the number of youth engaging in prostitution and other immoral activities such as stealing for money has risen in the past the reason being everybody wants to get rich but no one is willing to work hard for it hence looks for an alternative method to getting it and this tends to be activities going against what is morally right.
Conclusively, the author clearly shows that Walter does not care about anything else apart from the check they are about to receive. In addition, Money easily tears families apart if every member is always chasing it as conflicts are bound to happen. It is the root of evil in the society today as all bad things happening are mainly due to people’s thirst for money.