Lorraine pride, and that of his family,

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun revolves around a short but difficult period in the lives of the Younger family. Each family member has dreams of a higher quality of life; free from the pressures of poverty and the literal confines of an outgrown and decrepit apartment. Ultimately, the ambitions of each Younger are inspired by dreams of a better life for the family as a whole. Though each Younger approaches this goal differently, they each desire to rise above their current position in the “rat trap” of society into a better, more respectable, life (964). Each Younger is chasing an ambiguous notion of success and believes that they will bring an end to the family’s hardships; consequentially leading to prosperity and, of chief …show more content… This realization culminates in Walter’s refusal of Mr. Lindner’s final offer to pay for the Younger’s home in Clybourne Park, Walter acts on his newly discovered belief, that his pride, and that of his family, are more valuable an asset than any amount of money offered to them. This decision accomplishes something for the Younger family that money could not — it brings the Younger’s to the same social standing as all other Americans. Rather than accepting the downtrodden role thrust upon them, Walter’s decision proves that the Younger’s are equal.Unlike Walter, Ruth Younger does not place emphasis on wealth. With the arrival of the insurance money and the prospect of prosperity Ruth suggests that Lena take “a trip somewhere. To Europe or South America or someplace —” only after Lena suggests that they use the money to place a down payment on a house does Ruth realize the intrinsic relationship shared by the money and the family’s future. The notion of owning a house endues in Ruth a version of the “American Dream … that privileges hard work and determination as the means of social mobility.” concludes Kristin Matthews (560). Through determination and hard work Ruth views the new home as a method to refresh and revitalize their family. To Ruth, putting the insurance money towards buying a house is an opportunity to escape the current hardships. Tthe current hardships. The coming baby, the troubles in her marriage with Walter, and the growing financial burdens could be alleviated by the new home. Though the home would undoubtedly come with difficulties of its own, including racial prejudice and increased financial burdens, Ruth believes that it is the best option for the family as a whole. Lena Younger, who originally proposed purchasing a house, has similar aspirations to those of Ruth. Lena’s dream was to own a home, she and Big Walter had not planned to live in the apartment for more than a year and had already chosen a small house in Morgan Park. However, Lena also sees the new home as an opportunity for the betterment of the family. “Lena is happy about the new house”remarks Frank Ardolino “because it has an area for a garden” but her personal concerns end there; clearly Lena’s desire to buy the home stems from how it will benefit her family (181). Lena points out how the house has a yard in which Travis could play during the summer, while on a more serious note recognizes the positive affect owning their house could have on Walter, Lena states: “Walter Lee—it makes a difference in a man when he can walk on floors that belong to him…” (990). Lena’s reasoning for buying the house is not based on what she will gain from it, rather, Lena chooses to buy the house to improve the lives and respect of her family; both living, dead, and yet to be born. Along with improving the lives of her living, and soon to be born, family Lena also sees the house as a representation of Big Walter, her late husband’s, life. Lena acknowledges that the down payment money for the house came from the insurance money given for Big Walter’s death. Lena instructs Travis to “Thank God and your grandfather — ’cause it was him who give you the house — in his way.” (990) and becomes infuriated with Walter after he loses the insurance money entrusted to him beating him out of hopeless desperation. Lena believes that the house is an appropriate monument to honor her husband’s sacrifice and in that way, provides meaning and reason to his death. Despite being the youngest of the Younger family Travis Younger, as much as he is able, also attempts to provide for the family in any way that he can. Though hisaspirations are, at this point, meager (his greatest desire is to become a bus driver when he grows up (996)) Travis does try to help the family by carrying groceries after school to earn money. Though Travis is not yet old enough to recognize the more complex difficulties his family faces clearly, he understands there is room for him to help. Travis’s request to carry groceries after school is not simply an appeal to Ruth’s refusal to give him the money for school, it shows his acknowledgment that he may need to earn the money himself and an understanding that money is a commodity his family lacks. Beneatha Younger is the exception to the rule. Though Beneatha bears no ill-will towards her family it cannot be said that she works towards the betterment of the family as a whole. Beneatha aspires to be a doctor and, though a noble goal, pursues her dream with little regard to the sacrifices made by her family to support this ambitious goal. Notably, even when not busy with school work Beneatha makes no effort to assist her struggling family. It would appear that Beneatha’s singular act of solidarity with her family is at the end of the play as she helps to prepare for the move. However, Beneatha cannot only be given criticism. Though Beneatha may not offer significant support to her literal family she does desire to help humanity as a whole. Beneatha’s desire to save humanity fuels her desire to become a doctor. Grounded on her childhood experience of watching a child named Rufus “face just split open right there in front of us…” after a tobogganingaccident Beneatha is enraptured by the healing capabilities of doctors (1010). Nevertheless, Beneatha “gives in to despair, even cynicism, watching her dream of becoming a doctor seemingly go up in smoke” after Walter squanders the insurance money meant for her education (Cooper, 60). At this point in the play Beneatha has seemingly given up hope on both her family and humanity. If not for the faithful efforts of Asagai, who persuades Beneatha to become a doctor and follow him to Africa, Beneatha may have forever fallen into a state of solitary disenchantment of the world. Beneatha stands to contrast her fellow family members, rather than working for the amelioration of her family Beneatha focused on improving the world as a whole but, in doing so caused unneeded stress on her family. The Younger family found themselves struggling with poverty, prejudice and pressures from inter-relational conflicts. Despite this, the aspirations each of them held where motivated by the desire to improve the family as a whole. Though not all dreams were successful in aiding the family each member ultimately did contribute to the success and survival of the family, with the notable exception of Beneatha. Through coming together to accomplish common goals the Youngers managed to acquire a house which they would someday own, as well as reasserting their pride as a family and establishing themselves in a higher socioeconomic bracket. Though the hardships will undoubtedly continue, working together the Youngers will succeed.