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Conflict in A Raisin in the Sun

In the play A Raisin in the Sun, the playwright Lorraine Hansberry depicts the life of an impoverished African American family living on the south side of Chicago. The Youngers, living in a small apartment and having dreams larger than the world in which the live, often use verbal abuse as a way to vent their problems. Many times, this verbal abuse leads to unnecessary conflict within the family. The most frequently depicted conflict is that between Walter and his sister Beneatha.

Walter wants nothing more than to be a wealthy entrepreneur that can provide for his family, while Beneatha plans to go to medical school and become a doctor. Both characters are opposed to the others’ dreams. This opposition creates serious conflict within the Younger household, and specifically among Walter, Beneatha, and Mama. During the course of the play, conflicts between Beneath and her brother Walter are revealed. Walter thinks that his sister should be a mainstream woman and not have great dreams and ambitions for her life.

Who the hell told you you had to be a doctor? If you so crazy bout messing round with sick people – then go be a nurse like other women – or just get married an be quiet” (38). This passage shows that Walter is clearly a chauvinist, and does not believe in his sister’s desire to be a doctor. Similarly, Beneatha does not believe in Walters aspirations of becoming a rich entrepreneur, and thinks he is rather foolish, incapable, and will resort to any means to make money. “Oh, God! Where is the bottom! Where is the real honest-to-God bottom so he can’t go any further! (142).

Beneatha is referring to the fact that Walter plots and schemes get more ridiculous as time goes on. She wonders however, if there will be a limit to just how far he will go to attempt to provide a better life. He plans to go into business with his friends and buy a liquor store. However, furthermore, Mama will not allow him to spend obtained insurance check for 10,000 dollars, and instead plans to give most of her money to Beneatha for medical school. Walter, in a way, is jealous of his sister, for she will be able to fulfill her dreams of becoming a doctor.

He, however, will have to keep living a monotonous life, not being able to support his family the way that he would like. He is also angry because Beneatha will get a large sum of Mama’s insurance money, and he will not receive a penny. This dispute leads to general hostility and overall anger in the household. Because of this animosity, there is much verbal abuse that takes place within the household, and also leads to the Walter’s alcohol abuse. Throughout the play, Lorraine Hansberry displays conflict through the lives of her characters.

Throughout A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry does not avoid the harsh, yet realistic facts of African American life during the 50’s. Conflict is one of many realistic characteristics of life that are portrayed in the play. Above all, the conflict between Walter and Beneatha is the most frequently depicted. Nonetheless, the conflict that is endured in this play could be easily identified by anyone in the world. Resentment, jealousy, and disagreement are all feelings evident throughout the play. The theme of conflict is one that is hard to endure, yet is very prominent and realistic throughout A Raisin in the Sun.

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