Clifford Odet's play, "Awake and Sing", and Lorraine Hansberry's play, "A Raisin in the Sun", both revolve around the struggle of attaining the American dream during the hardships of a struggling economy and most important the value of a family. By analyzing the main characters, Ralph and Walter, it can be seen that even though they wish to use the insurance money to fulfill their dream they eventually realize that with family they can survive through poverty.
Both characters are being weighed down by poverty. This brings them to dream of the life they could live if one was giving a chance "to get to first base" and the other a chance to open up a liquor store. Ralph doesn't really seem to be interested in his family at first and is only interested in his own advancement from all his hard work. He wishes he could afford a pair of shoelaces and "a pair of black and white shoes." Ralph is only thinking of himself and how he and his girl can live together. That is where "life begins" for him.
Walter also wants to see advancement, but for both him and his family even if it means spending his sister's tuition money and for his son to continue to sleep in the living room. His only concern at the start of the play was when his dad's insurance check was coming, "check coming today." He "wants so many things that they are driving" him "kinda crazy" that he doesn't even want to talk to his wife. "That's to bad," he tells his wife when she wants to talk to him about an abortion.
The only solution both characters see to solve their problems is through money and not family. When Moe tells Ralph that his uncle has left him the insurance money and that he now has "wings." Ralph has the option to take the money and...