In the last scene of A Raisin in the Sun, Mama says to Ruth, of Walter,
“He finally come into his manhood today, didn’t he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain…”
What did Mama mean with this statement, and do you agree? Explain both her position and your
Also, what impact on the other characters does this observation have (whichever way you
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in a “traditional” 12-point font (Times New Roman, Arial, or Garamond.) Please use a “header”
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“A Raisin in the Sun” Analysis
By this statement, “He finally come into his manhood today, didn’t he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain…”, Mama means that his son, Walter, has started behaving and acting like a man after making several mistakes in life. I do agree with this position of Mama’s on Walter Lee. All along, Walter has been faltering in his decisions by making steps that are not worthy of a man. In spite of being the eldest child of his mother, he initially does not behave as one who should take the position of his late father in terms of taking care of the family by making sound decisions. The most glaring erratic decision that is made by Walter is the liquor investment decision. The money they are to get from the insurance check is $10,000; Walter decides to pump a whopping $6,500 into the liquor business he is not even sure about. He is deceived by his friend, Willy Harris, who vanishes with the money (Hansberry, 1959).
In the above explained liquor investment decision case, just like Mama, I believe that Walter acted unmanly. A fully grown and well functioning man would certainly not take more than 50% of his family’s finances and throw it away in the name of investing in liquor. Walter ought to have settled down for a more serious and certain investment if at all investing the money was the best decision in the first place. Unfortunately, he believes that the liquor business would be lucrative enough to rid the family off financial struggles (Hansberry, 1959). There are more compelling issues that Walter should have thought about upon receiving the insurance money: the idea of buying a house as was thought by her mother and investing in education as was thought by Beneatha, Walter’s sister. Noteworthy, all through the play, Mama keeps on guiding and correcting his son and other children whenever they err or make unsound decisions and only hope that they would one day change for the better.
Another issue that greatly tests the character of Walter as a man who would make his own decisions devoid of monetary influences ensues when the family, out of the insurance money, buys themselves a new house. The house is in a White neighborhood and Whites from the area decide to pay off the Youngers so as not to occupy it; they (Whites) do not want the Youngers, an African-American family, to live amongst them. As pointed out by Walter while addressing his mother, “You see, Mama, the man came here today and he told us that them people out there where you want us t move—well they so upset they willing to pay us not to move!” (Hansberry, 1959). Initially, Walter shows his weaker side, the side loathed by his mother, by claiming that he is going to accept the offer of being paid not to move. He tells his mother, “Don’t cry, Mama. Understand. That white man is going to walk in that door able to write checks for more money than we ever had” (Hansberry, 1959). This statement once again shows that Walter gets easily swayed by money even at the expense of what the family holds so dear to themselves; a house!
The turning point when Walter “comes into his manhood” comes when Lindner, the agent sent by the Whites from the neighborhood where the family’s new house is, visits the family. Lindner is at the Youngers’ to finalize the deal of paying them off so that they do not move to their newly acquired house. This is the point when Walter shows a complete change of character. He tells Lindner that theirs is a proud family and that they will always preserve their pride. As such, nothing will dissuade them from occupying their new house. He recalls his father who worked very hard to provide for the family and he asserts that they are not just about to stain the legacy of hard work and pride he left in the family. Of his father’s defense of their family pride, he says, “My father almost beat a man to death once because this man called him a bad name or something, you know what I mean?” (Hansberry, 1959). He thus puts it plain to Lindner that they are occupying their new house in the White neighborhood. “And we have decided to move into our house because my father—my father—he earned it for us brick by brick” (Hansberry, 1959). At this point, I agree with Mama that Walter has finally come into his manhood even after faltering many times in his life.
This observation made by Mama on Walter has, in my belief, positive impact on the other characters. Given his new dimension of being a “complete man”, I believe that Walter, as the head of the family given that his father is now dead will make decisions that would be in the best interest of all his family members. This is even visible when for the first time; he supports his sister’s desire of pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor. He says to Lindner, “And that’s my sister over there and she’s going to be a doctor…” (Hansberry, 1959). This then means that all the family members can now count on Walter and indeed look up to him as a father figure in whom they confide and seek help and direction.
Hansberry, L. (1959). A Raisin in the Sun (1st ed., pp. 486-577). Chicago. Retrieved from http://www.taghawaii.net/A_Raisin_in_the_Sun.pdf