Mama: “Son- how come you talk so much ‘bout money?”
Walter: “Because it is life, Mama!”
Mama: “Oh. So now it’s life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life— now it’s money. I guess the world really do change….” (55)
Mama attempts to teach her family that money isn’t everything and tries to instill in them strong values, such as taking pride in themselves and their dreams. However, Mama does hold the insurance check very dear to her heart. She sees it as a lifetime of hard work that her husband endured.
Mama wants her children to live a long happy life and for them to pursued for their dreams. In Act I Mama talks about how Walter senior used to do for their family.
Mama: Big Walter used to say, he’d get right wet in the eyes sometimes, lean his head back with the water standing in his eyes and say, "Seem like God didn’t see fit to give the black man nothing but dreams – but He did give us children to make them dreams seem worthwhile."
Lena's life's dreams are not for herself, but for her family's future generations. Big Walter's mention in the play serves as a reminder of the sacrifices parents make for their children. She has dreams for her family to rise from poverty and live in a better and bigger place and also for them to continue to grow together as a family. Lena Younger, a.k.a. Mama is a down-to-earth, hard-working black woman who doesn't suffer fools. Mama has dedicated her life to her children and struggles to instill her values in them – with mixed results. One of Lena's most poignant moments might be when she admits to Ruth that sometimes her children frighten her. Except for the face-slap moment, Mama is mostly kind and patient with her family. Her nurturing personality is symbolized by the way she treats her houseplant. Though it is wilting, Mama loves it unconditionally. Just like her family, Lena's plant lacks the necessary resources to flourish. Rather than giving up, however, Mama does all she can for it and has faith that one day it will truly thrive.
“Mama: There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing….”
Mama makes this comment to Beneatha in Act III, near the end of the play, as Beneatha expresses her disappointment in Walter for losing the money in the liquor store venture and also for apparently having decided to give in to Mr. Lindner. Mama tells Beneatha that Walter needs her to be supportive. She also says that instead of constantly crying about herself, Beneatha should cry for Walter and everything that he has been through and try to understand how hard he has been trying to…