A Raisin In The Sun

A Journey Through Walter Lee's Change of Heart

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Celine Dion - My Heart Will Go On by cabaret_karaoke
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Why is money so important to Walter Lee, and how does that change?

Pride

Family in the 1950's was strictly patriarchal. The father was the one and absolute head of the house, making all important decisions, providing for the well-being of everyone else, and earning the money. Walter's belief that money is everything stems from this ideology. Without money, it is unlikely that one can meet the needs of every family member. In Walter's case, his sister is going to medical school, his son sleeps on the couch, and his wife does laundry for the whole day.


However, with money readily available, Walter could easily pay for medical school, buy a bigger house, and let his wife relax at home. Since the money isn't available, Walter must work long hours as a chauffeur for a hotel. The hours are long and the pay is little, and gradually Walter becomes disillusioned by the desperate situation at home.


He spends less and less time talking with his family, and more and more time scheming for get-rich schemes. This, in turn, destabilizes the same family he seeks to protect.


Walter's pride and moral responsibility engender an immovable fixation on money. To him, if you don't have money, you aren't happy.

How to Debate an Atheist Child
above is a video depicting who is really in charge because Walter Lee has no money
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Environment

Walter works as a chauffeur for a large hotel. By doing so, everyday he is exposed, for long hours, to the rich and wealthy. He sees them talking about important matters, closing (million dollar) deals, and making more money than he will make in his life. Because of this constant exposure, Walter becomes disillusioned and in the end, thinks that all of America is rich, everyone but him and his family.


Walter makes a comment to his mother, "These men are young, younger than me mama." The environment in which he works and sees these activities are a long shot from his current social strata. However, for Walter, constantly seeing all of this business and money forces his mind to fixate on the one thing he can't, but everyone else can have, money.


Moreover, coming home to his dilapidated apartment every night just to see his wife washing other people's clothes, Beneatha and his mother sharing a room, and his son sleeping on the couch, has a chilling effect on his state of mind.


The omnipresent display of wealth versus poverty combined with Walter's inherent pride serves to place money at the peak of Walter's importance scale.

A raisin in the sun, epic scene

Change

Walter's belief that money is the key to happiness extends past mama's desperate pleas, past Beneatha's scolding, past his wife's unexpected pregnancy, and only ends when he loses the very money he tried so hard to obtain.


The day Walter hears the bad news from Bobo is the day his entire life changes. Walter returned to the apartment, a defeated man, a man willing to prostrate himself in front of his entire family. As the head of the family, he feels that he has just betrayed everyone's hopes and dreams.


However, almost to his disbelief, his family forgives him. The moment they do so is the moment Walter learns the truth, that money is not everything.


Walter makes the decision to turn down John Stamos' offer to buy their house, and in doing so, relinquishes once and for all, his belief in money. Money, it turns out, cannot buy everything. The human spirit is indomitable.

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The End Result

Walter decided to prolong his beloved business plans in order keep a stable and safe roof above his family's head. However, because of his actions, the very family he strives to protect, is harmed.


When he loses the money, he also loses his faith in the power of money. His sentiments now lie with personal relations, and the pursuit of happiness through it.