A Raisin in the Sun portrays an African American family, the Younger’s, living in the south side of Chicago during the 1950’s. Both the play written in 1959 by Lorraine Hansberry and the film directed in 2008 by Kenny Leon did a spectacular job exemplifying the struggles the Younger family faced and how they overcame them and became better people. Due to the passing of the man of the house, Mr. Younger, the family receives a life insurance check for $10,000. Although all of the members of the family were excited, this check soon becomes the major cause of conflict because of their dissimilar ideas on how to spend the money. The major characters such as Lena Younger (Mama), Walter Lee Younger, Ruth Younger, and Beneatha Younger all develop and change through the course of the story, learning more about each other and themselves by the conclusion.
Lena Younger also known as Mama is a warm hearted, wise, and intelligent woman who is now the head of the family after the recent passing of her husband. Though she is excited about the life insurance check, she explains how her deceased husbands life was worth more than any amount of money. During the play Mama gains the characteristics of compassion and understanding with patience by letting her children make their own decisions in order to learn from them. Mama’s choice on how to spend the cash is to buy a house and that’s exactly what she does. She dreams of having a beautiful garden and raising her family in a place they could call their own. Although her first-born son Walter lee has a different opinion on how to spend the money than she does, Mama still trusts him and hands him over the family’s cash. After Walter lets her down, she still finds a way in her heart to forgive him knowing he still has a chance to make it all right. I enjoy Mamas character more in the film rather than in the play because I liked watching how they made mama come to life with her characteristics depicted from the play.
Walter Lee Younger, who is also the protagonist of the play, is the son of Lena, husband of Ruth, and brother of Beneatha. Now that he is the man of the house it seems that he will be needed now more than ever. Do to his obsessiveness with money and constant ideas of trying to have his families financial struggles fixed for life, Walter Lee wants to invest the insurance money into a business. That business being a liquor store makes none of the women really support his idea. He reacts very immature and becomes defiant and belligerent to all of the people who care about him the most. Walter Lee’s character faces the biggest struggle throughout the play and movie. He betrays his own family and steals the rest of the money that mama entrusted him with and sneakily uses it towards his liquor store idea and gets the money stolen away. By the end of the play and film Walters character has a sense of realization. When a man comes to offer the Youngers money not to move into their all white neighborhood Walter finally realizes there are more important things in life than money. He develops a sense of maturity and is finally putting his family first. Like Mamas character I also enjoy the films version of Walter lee. I enjoyed the films character more because it showed change of environment; it showed Walter in the bars and really showed how low of a point that Walter got to. Being able to actually watch it had more of an effect on me than just reading it.
Ruth Younger is the Beloved wife of Walter Lee. Throughout the struggles and hard times Walter Lee faces, Ruth is always there to support and love him. Ruth’s character is a hardworking patient mother and wife. In the course of the story on top of things getting bad and the arguing on the money Ruth finds out she is with child. Yet because of the small living space on top of the family’s financial struggle Ruth deeply considers having an abortion. When Walter Lee was in a dark place Ruth continuously stayed by his