“A Raisin in the Sun” is a luminous book by Lorraine Hansberry. The book is some of rare books that describe everyday life of African Americans and also hint about their oppression and civil rights. This paper intends to discuss the character, Walter Lee and different aspects of his personality including his masculinity.
One prominent characteristic of Walter Lee’s personality that appears very prominently is his masculine nature. Walter Lee always tries to impose his own decisions in his family. He wants his family members to follow his suggestions and to act in accordance with whatsoever he says. Walter always treats his wife, Ruth with commanding approach and expects her to abide by his orders. Walter Lee also keeps supervising the activities of her sister, Beneatha and always tries to control her as per his own understandings. When Walter Lee comes to know that his sister wants to be a doctor, he does not only try to advise her, but also expresses his anger when she refuses to abide by his suggestion. He suggests Beneatha to be a nurse and marry a black man as other girls of her age do (Hansberry).
The masculine nature of Walter Lee is not confined to his wife and his sister only but this is very much visible while he deals with his mother, Mama. He always tries to convince his mother that he has some business ideas that can make them wealthy (Hansberry). Walter Lee tries to take mother’s money that she has got from the insurance company after death of her husband. Walter Lee also becomes angry when she doubts his competence to start a business and keeps refusing to give money.
Walter Lee is the most prominent figure of this book. He is portrayed as a passionate, angry and ambitious man who dreams to be a rich man. He is distressed with his poverty and obsessed with the ideas of starting new business ventures (Hansberry). He keeps dreaming to solve all his financial, family and social problems. Walter Lee appears angry and while arguing with his mother for the money in order to start his business.
On the other hand, Walter Lee loves his family and keeps thinking for them irrespective of all his problems. He cares for his sister, mother, son and wife and imagines providing them a good luxury life. Walter Lee is portrayed as a typical African American man of mid twentieth century who keeps struggling for supporting his family and keeps inventing new ideas to get rid of financial insufficiency. Walter Lee is an egoist man who cannot compromise with his self respect. When a white man tries to give Walter Lee the money, he refuses taking the money from him. Walter Lee symbolizes the unprivileged people of American society. He is a man who is not successful, is poor in making decisions but his hankering to provide a good life to his family is simply amazing (Hansberry).
Having observed the abovementioned succinct analysis of the subject, it can be concluded that the character of Walter Lee is an effervescent character. His masculinity is a significant aspect of his personality that appears very often. Most of his acts cause problems to the family but his intention is to provide a good life to his family members. His masculine nature represents him as a hero in the last scene of the book.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. USA: Samuel French Incorporated, 1984.