How Money Changes People English Literature Essay

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A Raisin in the Sun is a three act play written by Lorraine Hansberry. It is about the dreams that each of the integrands of an African-American family wants to accomplish when they receive an insurance check. The happiness and depression of each character is related to the failure of achieving each of the dreams that everyone has with the money. At the end of the play, the family decides to move to a house because they believe that if they are united, they will live a better life confronting all the problems together. The money takes an important role in the play that makes each of the main characters change their mind about the importance of money.

The main character is Walter Lee, who is always behind money, and his dream is to buy a liquor store and be the man of the house, who has the monetary power of the family. Since the beginning of the play, he demonstrates his desire for the monetary power when his son asks his mother for fifty cents for school matters, which his mother denies it. Walter comes out of the bathroom and gives not only fifty cents but a dollar to his son. He is always thinking of money, but his family does not support him, especially his wife, when he talks about a business that he is planning to do with Harris, Ruth, his wife, says: "Willy Harris is good-for-nothing loudmouth" (1. 1. 1132). He responds back saying, "Charlie Atkins was just a good-for-nothing loudmouth too, wasn't he! When he wanted me to go in the dry-cleaning business with him. And now he's grossing a hundred thousand a year"(1. 1. 1132). He means that one who earns a hundred thousand a year could be him and that his family should trust him. Now because of what happens to Charlie, he is more involved and anxious with the business with Harris, which is the liquor store. Walter starts fighting with his sister even before they receive the check because he only cares to achieve his dream and not the one of his sister becoming a doctor. He says to his sister, "Who the hell told you you had to be a doctor?" (1. 1. 1135). Although he knows that Beneatha does not care about the money, he tries to convince her not to study because he knows that his mother will pay for her career using the check without Beneatha having to request it. He is always arguing that nobody in the house understands him. Then, when he confront his mother to convince her about buying a liquor store, she denies it and says, "Mama, sometimes when I'm down-town and I pass them cool, quiet-looking restaurants where them white boys are sitting back and talking 'bout things... sitting there turning deals worth millions of dollars… sometimes I see guys don't look much older than me" (1. 2. 1150). He means he is thirty five years old being is nothing, and he will still being nothing all his life. There are younger people who already have a great future, futures that he wants to have but needs the money to accomplish. Walter wants to be a good father who gives his child everything he wants. Mama, then, asks him, "Son-how come you talk so much 'bout money?" and he answers "Because it is life, Mama!" (1. 2. 1150) making clear that he only cares about money and is the most important thing for him to live, the rest is secondary (Arslan 21-36).

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In contrast, after having lost the money, he feels depressed and changes his mind about money. Walter notices how bad the world is and regrets not having listened to his mother when she tell him that the outside world is dangerous. He does not have another choice of regaining some of the money other than selling the house to Linder. His decision at the end of not selling the house and keeping the family together clearly makes a big change in his mind of being selfish at the beginning with his dream and then changes himself to a real man who fights for the best of his family (Gradesaver 57-65). He values each of the members of his family and believes that if they live together in a better house without the misery that they have now, they will fight together for the dream of each of the members of the family. He comprehends that the happiness of the family is more important than the money.

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On the other hand, Beneatha gives less importance to the money than Walter. She argues with him saying, "That money belongs to Mama, Walter and it's for her to decide how she wants to use it. I don't care if she wants to buy a house or a rocket ship or just nail it up somewhere and look at it. It's hers. Not ours-hers" (1. 1. 1134). She means she does not care about the check and that Walter has nothing to do with it because the money belongs to their mother, and she is the one to decide what to do with it. Also, Beneatha demonstrates her lack of interest in the money when she says that George is too "shallow" to have a relationship with him, and Ruth answers by saying, "Shallow-what do you mean he's shallow? He's rich! … Well-what other qualities a man got to have to satisfy you, little girl?"(1. 1. 1140). This means that she thinks differently than the other members of the family towards money. She does not want to be with a man just for his money. She just wants a good man that gives love and makes her happy. She also wants to be a doctor and earn money by her work and effort not by pretending to love a rich man and lives without happiness (123HelpMe 10-14).

However, when Beneatha realizes that Walter loses the money of the family, her importance towards money changes drastically. She gives more value to the money now that she knows that her career is gone along with the money that Walter lost. She does not only blame his brother, but also her mother, who give him the control of the money. She is so angry and at the same time depressed because her own brother has ruined her future, and now she won't be anything in her life. It is clear the change of the importance that she gives to the money now that it is lost because nobody knows what ones has until it is gone.

In addition, Mama is in the middle of her son and daughter. She does not believe that money is the most essential for life as Walter does, but she values the money more than Beneatha because the check is the memory of her husband. Mama is a religious woman who only wants the money for good matters, such as the happiness and needs of her family. She demonstrates it when Ruth tells her to use the money to enjoy it traveling like the rich white woman does, but she denies it because she thinks that a house is what her family needs to accomplish their happiness by helping each other together. At the beginning, she does not want to accomplish the dream of her son because she does not want to put the memory of her husband into a liquor store. When Walter confront her, trying to explain her why he wants to buy a liquor store, she denies it saying, "I'm sorry 'bout your liquor store, son. It just wasn't the thing for us to do. That's what I want to tell you about" (1. 2. 1149). Mama means she believes that the liquor store is not the best thing to invest the money; it will not make the family happy. She advises him that it is dangerous to invest all the money in something like that to expect that something good comes out of it. Then, when Walter says that "money is life", she get angry and says, "Oh-So now it's life. Money is life. Once upon a time freedom used to be life-now it's money. I guess the world really do change…" (1. 2. 1150). She means she has always believes a man fights for freedom and to be alive to find his happiness, and that the real life is to be with the people who one belongs to, which is the family. Money just brings fight and unhappiness, and she tries to make him see that this is what he has in his mind.

Nevertheless, after Mama buys the house with thirty five hundred dollars and trusts the rest to Walter, she changes negatively her way of thinking towards her son when he betrays the purpose of the money that she commended, and he loses it. She trusts in him and wants him to be the head of the family, and because of that she gives him the other part of the money but to use it in business matters. However, when Mama realizes that Walter loses the money in the business, she says, "I seen him night after night come in and look at that rug and then look at me the red showing in his eyes the veins moving in his head I see him grow thin and old before he was forty working and working and working like somebody's old horse killing himself and you- you give it all away in one day" (2. 3. 1171). She now feels defrauded by her son for having trust the memory of his father on him. That money means everything his father has worked for in life, making himself die of work every day and that his son give it away for nothing. She gets mad to his son , but at the very end, she feels happy about him because he takes a decision just as his father would do of taking his family together to a house; a house that her husband fights for all his life and cannot be change for money.

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In the play, it is clear how each of the main characters change their minds towards money. Walter, who believes that money is life, changes his mind and believes that the unity of the family is more important. Beneatha, who does not value the money, gives more importance when she sees that it is gone along with her career. Finally, Mama, who trusts in Walter and believes that he would do the right thing, change his mind when she was betrayed by him. All these changes make them more knowledgeable to what life is that the unity of the family is what really counts to accomplish anything in life.

Work Cited

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March 2010 <http://englishzone8-1.blogspot.com/search/label/Literary

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Lorraine Hansberry . "A Risin in the Sun". Literature for Composition. Ed. Sylvan

Barnet, William Burto, and William E. Cain. 9th ed. New York: Longman, 2011.

1128-1181. Print.

"Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun - Money." 123HelpMe.com. 14 December

2012. <http://www.123HelpMe.com/view.asp?id=15643>.