Notes on A Raisin in the Sun Themes

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A Raisin in the Sun Topic Tracking: Money

Money 1: One of the first ideas uttered in the play is about the check. The insurance check for ten thousand dollars from the death of the Younger family's father is supposed to arrive any moment and it is on the top of everyone's minds.

Money 2: Due to the Younger family's poor status and lack of money, they must all live in a small apartment in Chicago's Southside. Travis, the only child of Ruth and Walter Lee, is therefore forced to sleep on the couch in the living room, where all of the action of the play takes place.

Money 3: Walter Lee wants to take the money from the insurance check to start a liquor business with two comrades, Willy Harris and Bobo. He is obsessed with this idea and tries to explain to Ruth that everything in life costs money. He wants to start a new life of privilege for himself and his family with this money, despite the large gamble.

Money 4: Mama does not care about the money from the insurance check, or any money as a whole. She thinks that money destroys happiness because people tend to fight over it. According to her, it is not Christian to let money destroy familial bliss and only plans to keep the money to help her family.

Money 5: The family is in shock that there are so many zeroes next to Mama's name on a check. Again, Mama says that were it not for her family, she would not keep the money. Each Younger family member allows the money to mesmerize him and her with its power when it arrives tangibly in the living room.

Money 6: George, the wealthy Negro, discusses high culture with Walter. Walter feigns his knowledge of New York, a place he cannot visit because he is too poor. The wealth - money - divides the two men of a uniform race.

Money 7: Mama finally gives Walter Lee financial independence by allowing him to take control of the remainder of the insurance money. Although she has put a down payment of $3500 on the new house, she tells him to put $3000 in an account for Beneatha's medical school. After that is complete, he is free to do with it what he pleases. The money symbolizes her trust in him.

Money 8: Karl Lindner, the white representative from the Clybourne Welcoming Committee visits the Youngers and offers to pay them off in order for them to stay away from Clybourne Park. He thinks that money can buy their pride and attempts to do so.

Money 9: Walter Lee learns that Willy Harris has disappeared with the entire $6500. He lost all the insurance money because he never went to the bank and became greedy. This monetary loss causes him to initially become irate, depressed, and meek and the family to become severely angry with him, for the money represented their dead father.

Money 10: Walter Lee tells the family that he has called Mr. Lindner back to accept his proposal and take money from him, to restore the money he lost. Outraged, Mama explains to Walter Lee that her family and her race cannot be bought with any amount of money. Pride and honor is more important than the almighty dollar.

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