Role/Contribution of some Characters in Raisin in the Sun

Examine the Role/Contribution of the following characters in the play: Walter Younger, Ruth, Mama, Beneatha, Asa gal, Travis.


Walter Lee Younger is the son of Big Walter Younger. His mother is Lena Lee Younger and his sister; Beneatha younger. Walter’s marriage to Ruth is blessed with a child – Travis. Walter, like his late father, is full of dreams. He wants an investment of seventy-five thousand dollars in the liquor business. He works as a driver for a white family and is not happy about the nature of his job. Though he is married with a child, lie still lives with his mother and family in their family house, still under the influence and control of his mother.

Sometimes, Walter feels that no one seems to understand his feelings or key into his “imaginary dreams”. He loves his family though and respects their views, especially his mother and wife. He is not particularly happy with the issue of racial identity. He feels his hopes are dashed and his dreams scuttled when he learns that his mother has used the insurance money to buy a new house. However, the money given to him for his business is swindled by his business partners, Bobo and Willy, thus ending his dreams.

Waiter Lee Younger shows his manly disposition when he stoutly rebuffs Lindner’s proposal to re-sell their property at Clybourne Park, a white suburb because they are coloured and would not be wanted there. Walter Lee Younger courageously tells. Mr Lindner off, rejecting his offer. This shows his objection to racism. He is not particularly comfortable that his sister, Beneatha intends to marry an African, although the girl reminds him that he has no right to decide for her, who to marry. All in all, Mr. Walter is a major character in the play even though he is afraid to have more children for now.


She is the wife of Walter Lee Younger arid mother of Travis. Ruth is a loving mother and a caregiver. Apart from her routine domestic chores, she plays her role in the family with dignity. For instance, she ensures that she wakes her son and husband to go for their baths early to avoid the usual queue. She prepares breakfast and encourages them to eat before leaving; even though sometimes Welter objects to her not being concerned with his dreams – to invest in liquor. Ruth Younger is a strict disciplinarian and ensures that her son, Travis is not on1y well-behaved but decent in appearance. Besides, she gives him money for milk and a taxi. Ruth works as a caregiver and receives her stipend. She loves her mother-in-law as well as her sister-in-law, She equally respects their opinions, though she is strong-willed. Indeed, Ruth is supportive. Ruth is delighted about the arrival of the insurance money but is not happy that her husband fails to utilize what he gets from that money to better his lot and his family. Also, Ruth is not very comfortable with the race issue. She thinks of an abortion because of poverty.


Mrs. Lena Younger-Mania is perhaps the oldest character in the play. Mama is the mother of Walter Lee Younger and Beneatha Younger. She has a grandson, Travis by Walter. Mania’s husband, Walter Lee Younger (senior) is eaten, thus Mama is a widow. Not deterred by the circumstance of her husband’s death, she works for other families to keep the family going. Madam Lena Younger has firm control over her entire household as she presides over family affairs. She is kind and loving but does not allow indolence. Mama is pleased with the arrival of the insurance money.

She initially creates an impression that she will not support Walter’s dream business. Mama uses the money to buy a house in Clybourne Park. This is to enable them to pack out of the cockroach-infested house they have been living in. however, she is terribly disappointed that the money she gives Walter, her son, is swindled. First, she admonishes him, but later, she criticizes the others for not letting go of their outrage against Walter as they have to show their love and solidarity in his grief. Thus, she has a compassionate heart. Mama is equally skeptical about Beneatha’s intention to marry Asagal.


She is Beneatha Younger, the sister of Walter Younger and the only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. Lee Younger (Senior). A girl in her late twenties, she is full of experience. Like her brother, Miss Beneatha Younger has her own dream. Hers is to become a doctor in the future. One good quality of Beneatha is that she respects her mother, brother and sister-in-law. Besides, she is very obedient as she does not trouble anyone over her unfulfilled ambition or dream.

Somehow, Beneatha is bothered over her choice between George Murchison and Joseph Asagal. While the former appears to be full of himself, the latter seems to be humble and fun to be with. She is delighted with Asagal’s gifts to her as he comes to see her on return from Canada. Beneath is delighted about stories of African heritage. She later declares her intention to marry Asagal, the African.


His name is Joseph Asagal. He is from Yoruba, southwest Nigeria and an African. Asagai is Beneatha’s schoolmate. Her return from Canada after his studies, Asagai is not only natural but also practical. He knows what he feels for Beneatha and does not hide his feelings. He brings Beneatha a parcel on his first visit and this excites Beneatha so much. It is Asagal who tells Beneatha about her country’s policy of assimilation, thus responding to her identity crisis. To express the depth of his feeling, he calls Beneatha, “Aialyo” which he interprets to mean, “one for whom Brad Food is not Enough”. Indeed, Asagal is vocal and ton to be with Ho is compassionate, always ready to give a helping hand. He is willing to assist Beneatha and her family to pack thou belongings, for movement to a new location. Asagal hopes to be a great man one day, an old man esteemed and respected and for the idea he cherishes, “he” will be butchered in his bed sonic night by the servants of em1 a. ‘(p.107). He hopes also to take Beneatha across oceans and ruddy passage ever which her ancestors had come. He will show her their mountains, stars, give her cool drinks from their native gourds etc.


He is the youngest character in the play. Travis is the son and only child of Mr. and Mrs. Walter lee Younger. He is a resourceful child. When his mother cannot give him fifty cents for his matter, he appeals to his mother to allow him go out to carry groceries for people so as to raise money to subsist. Travis is very obedient and respectful. He plays when he is allowed to do so. He informs his family about the big and stubborn rat whose blood is all over the street – perhaps, the blood of the resilient blacks who are persecuted and dehumanized every day in America and elsewhere. Travis is truthful and is happy about the coming of insurance money. He loves his parents, grandmother and aunt Beneatha.

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