"What Happens to a Dream Deferred?"
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore– And then run?" (Langston Hughes). It is important to never lose sight of one’s dream. Dreams are what keep people moving in life, but if they are ignored, they may morph and lose their prevailing form. This is evident in Lorraine Hansberry’s "A Raisin in the Sun", as Walter’s, Beneatha’s, and Mama’s dreams become delayed, distorted, and blurred.
Walter has long dreamed of making his family’s condition better, of giving them wealth that his low-paying job is unable to do. Nature appears to be against Walter and his family, for they are living in a poorly maintained tenement apartment while surrounded with racism. Walter understands this situation, so he decides to use the $10,000 check for an investment in order to exceed his primitive state. In mid-morning, he excitedly asks his family about the check’s arrival, “Check coming today?” (Hansberry I.i.868). The check is one of the few reasons that forces Walter to get up each morning, so he will eventually be able to obtain success and self pride. Walter views the check as the only solution to all of his problems, so once Mama receives it, Walter confronts her and begs for her “financial” support. Walter exemplifies his sudden, new-found confidence to Travis when Mama unexpectedly entrusts him with the remaining $6,500, “…your daddy’s gonna make a transaction . . . a business transaction that’s going to change our lives” (II.ii.885). Walter is finally ready to realize his dream, and he has all the possible confidence he can acquire. He foresees the significant change that awaits his family when the money is invested. Unfortunately, nature has different plans for the Youngers. When they find out what happened to all of the money, Mama cries out in the name of her late husband, to Walter, “I seen him… working and working…and you give it all away in a day” (II.iii.897). Mama implies that the money was more than just currency, but what is left of her husband’s dream to bring success to his family. She is terribly disappointed with Walter for losing all of the money so easily, and not putting it toward to what he promised. Because of this great loss, Walter is still left with no money. His dream to become wealthy is now at the bottom of the gutter, all over again, and he has to work even harder as well as gain his confidence back in order to fish it out.
Beneatha, being somewhat of an outcast, understands that she does not have to follow the status quo of her society by becoming a housewife, so she decides to work hard in order to become a doctor. Beneatha wants to fulfill this dream because she realizes that she enjoys helping people, as she explains to Asagai after the money is stolen, “That was what one person could do for another, fix him up — sew up the problem, make him right again” (III.i.900). Beneatha wishes to help people by taking care of them and ridding them of their problems. She...