Dynamic Change in Walter Lee Younger - Free Essay Example

Published: 2022-12-14
Dynamic Change in Walter Lee Younger - Free Essay Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Character analysis American literature A Raisin in the Sun
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1545 words
13 min read

In the novel a Raisin in the Sun, Walter Lee Younger, who is the main character, is an accurate reflection of dynamic character. He was living in Chicago together with his family. Walter's evolution was primarily attributable to his judgment and relations with different people in his life (De Oliveira et al. 158). At the outset, Walter appears to be a caring man who wants the best for his family and he had thoughts of creating a liquor store to enable him to make more money to support his family. Instructively, Walter's family was struggling to make it in life, and he was working hard as a driver to a rich man. As depicted by the novel, he was working hard, and he had strong ethics. His dream was to get more money so that he can lift his family to live a better life away from the ghetto (Lipari 82). The character of Walter in the play started changing when his dreams were squashed and again realized that his wife Ruth was expectant again. He started messing up by submerging in excessive alcohol consumption and absenting from the job. Walter was overwhelmed by his current situation, and he could hardly maintain his erstwhile burning desire to build a happy and independent family.

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It was in the desire of Walter Lee to put his life and that of his family in the right path, but even then he had little idea on the environment he was seeking that dream. Upon finding himself in an awkward position when he felt that achieving his dream would be a tall order, he evolves as a person. Initially, Walter depicted a selfish character where he was more often in pursuit of easy deals. Notably, he began to change after he was betrayed by his friend and lost his money (Saber 458). When Walter talks about his idea of creating a liquor store he shows a character determined and ambitious in his pursuit to bring happiness to his family. Afterward, he developed a forlorn figure and became reckless. In the play, Walter's goals, and he wanted to acquire money to create a business. It was evident that after he lost his money, he evolved into a different character towards the end of the play where he had a different view over other people and was willing to make things work (De Oliveira et al. 156).

Moreover, Walter's life morphed when he was given money by Mama and instructed to take control of the family. Following this gesture by Mama, he changed from a careless to a more responsible man who loved the idea of taking the leadership of the household. He happily tells his son concerning driving a "plain black Chrysler." This quote demonstrates that hopefulness about life was creeping back. Also, to prove that he is indeed a dynamic character, he showed an evolution of how he perceives life mainly when Karl Lindner talked about business in their house (Saber 451). Walter Lee longed for a comfortable life full of money and reverence and the novel depicted that he was ready to do anything to achieve his dreams. He had apparent displeasure with the life in the ghetto, and perhaps this was what drove him to the idea of starting a business. To further illustrate that he was a dynamic character, he abandoned chasing his dream by assuming a selfish character where he blindly loses his money including the school fees for his sister (De Oliveira et al. 152). In yet another aspect of his evolution, he shifts from being a man full of pride to a more humble man, and he gladly welcomed Lindner's idea ostensibly to cover for his past misdemeanor.

Despite being an ambitious individual at the beginning of the novel, Walter changed rapidly because of his greediness. He was overwhelmed by hopefulness in achieving money and success. This made him sever ties with his family, and he became a trouble to them. The dynamic nature of Walter as a character is brought to the fore when he realized that the society he lives could be hostile to a person. He changes his way of life and redeems his initial view of life (Kodat 149). As the play begins, Walter Lee exhibits a self-sacrificing trait, and he harbors great ambition of lifting his family from abject poverty. However, as the play progresses, he began making poor decisions, and this was revealed when his son asked them for money. Walter offered his son all the money he had in an apparent display of pride. In light of this, the change in character is laid bare as he has to stumble from his earlier pursuit of a healthy and independent life for his family.

Moreover, Walter, in his life as a driver to the rich white man, had enviable good work ethics and again as demonstrated by the novel, he was working extremely hard to give his family a quality life. The dynamism in his character is disclosed when he started acting irresponsibly in the family contrary to what he had planned to do. It is worth to note that, Walter and his wife had a complicated relationship where Walter felt that he had failed his family. Ruth mainly had a different view and this further fuels the tension in the house which degenerated into a verbal fight (Lipari 100). When he realized that Ruth is pregnant, he became more frustrated as another child would be a burden in his view. This evident frustration shows a change in the character of Walter because initially, he was working hard to sustain his family. Afterward, in the play, he developed resentment on every aspect of his family.

It should be noted that Walter was greatly obsessed with the acquisition of wealth and money. He had considerable experience on the worldly prospects from his work as a driver, and so his mind was preoccupied with material wealth to the point of giving little attention to his family and job. In the play, Mama says to him, "you got a job, a nice wife, a fine boy." This quote illustrates the view Lena had on what he should be given priority. Contrary to his earlier pursuit for a better life, he loses hope and becomes extremely bitter in life. Walter Lee presented dynamism in his character especially when he had a poor relationship with his family (Lipari 94). He was drinking to drown his frustrations after he felt that he had failed as a man in giving his family a comfortable life. Towards the end of the novel, he showed a great change in his character by discarding his way of life which was premised on his perceived failure to provide for his family.

When Lindner arrived in the house, he finds everyone in the family having a foul mood. Undeniably, Walter was feeling bad towards Lindner as he was damn aware of the mistake he is reluctant to admit it. Walter is hesitant to get to Lindner and asks for his money if he is to surrender the house (Lipari 89). A change in character in Walter becomes noticeable when he succumbs to emotions and asks himself about what he is about to do. At this point in the novel, he came out from this situation with experience that makes him change fundamentally. Instructively, Walter showed dynamism in character when he transformed from being self-seeking to caring about the need of his family. Additionally, he still sticks with his pride but still harbors the desire to make his family live a better life.

Undoubtedly, Walter had great energy in seeking the best for his family, and this is explained by his hard work when he was working as the driver to the white man. He had a strong belief that at some point he will be able to provide satisfactorily to his family (De Oliveira et al. 151) . He changes when he becomes unable to achieve that, and he started missing work. This explains his change of character from a man who wants to see his family flourish and move away from ghetto life to a hopeless character with undefined priorities.


In conclusion, it is worth to note that, Walter Lee was a dynamic change in his demeanor and priorities. He was the face of various misjudgments and wrong decisions in the novel where he morphed from being a responsible man to immature father. Notably, he was made selfish decisions in using his money, and he ended up being betrayed by his friend, and he lost all the money. Nevertheless, the story ends with Walter becoming a caring family leader, and he rejected Lindner's offer and restored the unity and happiness in his family.


De Oliveira, Natalia Fontes, and Michelle Medeiros. "Is it all about money? Women characters and family bonds in Lorraine Hansberry's a Raisin in the Sun and Toni Morrison's song of Solomon." Scripta Uniandrade 13.2 (2016): 151-162.

Kodat, Catherine Gunther. "Confusion in a dream deferred: Context and culture in teaching A Raisin in the Sun." Studies in the Literary Imagination 31.1 (1998): 149.

Lipari, Lisbeth. ""Fearful of the written word": white fear, black writing, and Lorraine Hansberry's a raisin in the sun screenplay." Quarterly Journal of Speech 90.1 (2004): 81-102.

Saber, Yomna. "Lorraine Hansberry: Defining the line between integration and assimilation." Women's Studies 39.5 (2010): 451-469.

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