Walter (In-Depth Analysis)
As Mama’s only son, Ruth’s defiant husband, Travis’s caring father, and Beneatha’s belligerent brother, Walter serves as both protagonist and antagonist of the play. The plot revolves around him and the actions that he takes. Most of his actions and mistakes hurt the family greatly, but his belated rise to manhood makes him a sort of hero in the last scene. His character evolves the most during the course of the play.
Throughout the play, Walter provides an everyman perspective of the mid- twentieth-century African-American male. He is the typical man of the family who struggles to support it and who tries to discover new, better schemes to secure its economic prosperity. Difficulties and barriers that obstruct he and his family’s progress to attain that prosperity constantly frustrate Walter. Most of all, he believes money will solve all of their problems but is rarely successful with money. He often fights and argues with his wife Ruth, his mother Mama, and his sister Beneatha. Far from being a good listener, Walter does not seem to understand that he must listen to his own family’s concerns in order to help them. Eventually, he realizes that he cannot raise the family up from poverty alone, and he seeks strength in uniting with his family. He begins to listen to Mama and to Ruth and acknowledges the dream of a house, realizing that the house is more important than getting rich quickly. Walter finally becomes a man when he stands up to Mr. Lindner and refuses his money.
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