Life Can Be a Barrel of Disappointments, Sometimes

I am thoroughly impressed by the rich characters Ms. Hansberry has created in her A Raisin in the Sun. Many of the characters in this play are struggling against their positions in life which have somewhat been dictated by society. Each reacts in their own individual way: Walter is angry, Beneatha can be pessimistic and cold, Ruth is weary, but each of them is hoping for something more, something better for themselves and their family.

When I began reading, initially I found Ruth to be more likable and thought I would relate more to her. As I continued, I found myself sympathizing with Walter. When a person feels trapped and overwhelmed by life’s disappointments, they are capable of doing drastic things to break free. I feel Walter, though somewhat misguided, is trying to provide for his family, but has become reckless because he does, indeed, feel trapped. Some may view Walter as selfish and uncaring, but sometimes one has to be a bit selfish in order to stay sane. I believe you cannot wholly give in to the will of others because you will lose your own identity along the way.

Walter needs to do what he sees as necessary to become more than a chauffeur, more than a common worker and to become a provider for his family without relying on his mother and his wife. He is taking the steps necessary to become a man in every sense of the word.

So, Walter, I commend you, just be wary of the cost of your freedom.

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About Alex Mueller

Alex Mueller can be found running and cycling the streets and suburbs of Boston, taking long sojourns in rare book archives whenever he can. He teaches English at UMass Boston, serves as Book Review Editor for Arthuriana, and writes about digital pedagogy, open access publishing, and medieval literature.

1 thought on “Life Can Be a Barrel of Disappointments, Sometimes

  1. Yes, Walter is just being a man like any other man, wanting to be the one that support the family and the heat of the family but the head of the family is Mama. It's normal for any parent to be concert about their financial situation and future for their kids, so is no any different for Walter. Mmm he is a man that act like a woman….

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