Characters of Ruth & Lena in Raisin in the Sun

Compare and contrast the characters of Ruth and Lena in the play.


Both Ruth and Lena are adult female characters in the play. They are both united by the bond of matrimony. Ruth is the wife of Walter Lee Younger while Lena Eggeston is the wife of Walter Lee Younger senior. Mama Lena is the mother of Walter, the husband of Ruth thus she is her mother-in-law. Both women care for their families. They both work in the white neighborhood to support the family upkeep. Lena and Ruth are strong-willed and strict disciplinarians. They are also outspoken. They are both loving, caring and compassionate. They are both victims of racial prejudice.   


In contrast, Lena is by far, older and more experienced than Ruth. She had a child Claude who dies while Ruth wants to abort her second pregnancy because of poverty, Lena is a widow and a grandmother while Ruth is just a mother. Walter and Beneatha are surviving children of Lena (Mama) while Travis Willard Younger is the son of Ruth and Lena’s only grandson. Lena buys a house in Clybourne Park.

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