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Hunter Berry

AP Literature

Mrs. Horne

September 29, 2016

Raisin in the Sun Prose Essay

Near the end of Lorraine Hansberrys play A Raisin in the Sun, we see Walter and the

Younger family finally achieve their dreams and evolve into new and improved people, with

each having a renewed commitment and bond to each other. Hansberry shows these unique and

uplifting changes in Walter and his family though her expert use of characterization, conflict, and


Throughout A Raisin in the Sun, Hansberry uses characterization to show how

characters change throughout the story. On amazing example of this is seen through Walter.

Throughout the play, Walter is characterized by Hansberry as an assimilationist, as someone who

is troubled in life yet desperately wants his family to live a good life, and as someone who just

wants to be rich. The latter can be seen frequently throughout the show, and is one of the major

conflicts plaguing Walter, Hansberry writing Im going to feel fine Mama. Im going to look

that son Just write that check and the house is yours And Ill feel fine! Fine! FINE!

(Hansberry 144). In this section of the book, right after the reader finds out Walter lost the

money by being tricked by Willy Harris, the reader can see the greed inside of Walter. Walter is

embracing the avarice inside himself and is willing to get down on his knees and beg Linder for

money. Not only does Walter betray his entire family here, all for the promise of money, but

Walter also betrays his entire race by preparing himself to mock and ridicule his own people just
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to put on a good show. This is a major part of the play that characterizes Walter as a money-

hungry, greed-ridden man. However, Hansberry later uses characterization to show that Walter

can be more than that. While Walter did seek fame and fortune throughout all earlier parts of the

show, Walters underlying motive, seen through characterization, has been to provide for his

family. Walters primary frustration behind his lack of wealth is his desire to make sure his

mother, sister, wife, and son are happy and can be privileged in life, saying Yes, I want to hang

some real pearls round my wifes neck. Aint she supposed to wear I think my wife should

wear some pearls in this world! (Hansberry 143). At this point, we can see how Hansberry

characterizes Walter as a man with a deep-seeded aspiration to be a good provider, only wanting

to buy his wife some pearls. However, we also see that Walter often goes about this the

entirely wrong way, believing that money is the sole thing that can make his family happy. This

makes it all the more effective when Walter faces Linder finally, and realizes that money is not

the only way to achieve happiness, saying What I am telling you is that we called you over

here We dont want your money. (Hansberry 148). This is possibly the most important

characterization of Walter, because it combines all previous emotions that the reader knows

Walter has felt and shows a completion of Walters goals. This is the point in the play at which

Walter realizes that the way to make his family happy is not through riches, not through wealth,

not through money, but instead by simply being there for them. Hansberry uses this change in

beliefs to show that Walter is growing, and becoming a man at last, and she characterizes

Walter as someone who is regaining his grip on life and reality, and is close to once again

becoming a good man. He has accomplished his goal of making his family happy, and the

characterization tools Hansberry uses throughout the ending and the entire play reflects this

change from greed to good.

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Another device used by Hansberry to show the changes in characters and detail how they

accomplish their goals throughout the play is conflict. Hansberry uses an effective combination

of man vs. self, man vs. world, and man vs. man to show the journeys the characters in the show

go through. One example of this combination we see pertains to Walter. The reader can see many

of these conflicts come out when Walter says Talking bout life, Mama. You all always telling

me to see life like it is Hes taught me to keep my eye on what counts in this world.

(Hansberry 141-142). Throughout the play, we see Walter fighting himself on the meaning of

right and wrong, whether or not he should be loyal to his race, how he can help his family, the

power of money, and more. Wal

Walter stuggles because of willy