“A Raisin in the Sun” is a highly acclaimed play by Lorraine Hansberry. Hansberry has portrayed the life of an African American family in a realistic manner. The portrayal of characters is something that attracts readers and also gives a glimpse of African Americans life in the mid twenties. This paper analyzes the character of Walter Lee, and also talks about different facets of the character.
Walter Lee is the most popular character of the play that has been portrayed as a masculine, caring, ill decisive and confused man. Walter Lee is not satisfied with his current life style and stature in the society. He does not earn much and keeps thinking to get rid of the poverty by making several business plans. He has been portrayed as Mama’s boy in the play but he does not seem to be Mama’s boy. Walter Lee is the one and only adult male member of his family, and in this capacity, he wants every other member of his family to comply with his orders (Hansberry). Walter Lee considers himself as a wise man whose orders and suggestions should be followed by others without any resistance or arguments. Walter Lee expects that his wife should obey his orders blindly and should not argue with him at any point.
Walter Lee intervenes in his sister’s life when he finds that her activities are different from other girls. When Walter comes to know that his sister wants to be a doctor, it angers him. He suggests her sister to get married and guides her to work as a nurse if she wants to do something. Walter does not like when he sees her dancing and expresses his anger over such activities of his sister (Hansberry).
Walter Lee also behaves with his mother in the same manner. Walter convinces his mother at several occasions to give him the money as he wants to start a liquor business but becomes angry when mama refuses to give him the money. Actually she does not trust Walter’s capability of running business and this is what hurts him the most. Walter Lee develops a feeling that his mother loves the money instead of him.
Walter lee is a day dreamer who wants to do something for his family. He wants to see everybody in a good position and also wants to give them a luxurious life. Walter Lee is not a good decision maker nor does he earns much but he loves everyone in his family and wants to see everybody happy. He believes that he can provide them a comfortable life if he is given the money by his mama to open a liquor business (Hansberry).
The character of Walter Lee is the most prominent in the play and has been portrayed by the author in a chirpy manner. Though he is not doing very well in his life but he has a big sense of self respect. He refuses money irrespective of his needs when another man offers to give him the money. This character reminds us about the condition of African American families during the mid twenties.
After analyzing the character of Walter Lee, it can be concluded that the character of Walter Lee is the most significant character of this play. Masculinity in his nature is something that is clearly vigilant in his personality. Walter Lee also symbolizes the male ego and describes how African American men used to treat women in the mid twentieth society.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. USA: Samuel French Incorporated, 1984.