Masculinity In A Raisin In The Sun

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Everyone wants to be the leader. The idea of “leading the pack” has been present in books, movies, and television shows countless times. However, the idea of being the leader can cause people to become obsessed, focusing on what they can get, rather than what they have. In the play, A Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hasberry presents Walter Lee Younger’s focus on hierarchy, adoration towards the higher class, and standing up for his family to convey the idea of masculinity, ultimately illustrating that masculinity can be toxic, but when the idea of masculinity is revaluated, it can bring people to better themselves. One aspect of masculinity is leading. The idea stems from the book, “Expressions Studies on Wolves'', created by David Mech. The book …show more content…

Walter Lee confides that “sometimes when I’m downtown and I pass them cool, quiet-looking restaurants where them white boys are sitting back and talking ‘bout things… sitting there turning deals worth millions of dollars… sometimes I see guys don’t look much older than me—” (Hansberry 74). Walter Lee is showing insecurity about his place in the structure of capitalism. He is seeing men that look around his age, making decisions worth thousands more than him. This causes Walter to become desperate, searching for a way to go up. Throughout the book, Walter Lee tries to get his family to invest into a liquor store, saying that “Charlie Atkins was just a “good-for-nothing loudmouth’ too, wasn’t he! When he wanted me to go in the dry-cleaning business with him. And now—he’s grossing a hundred thousand a year. A hundred thousand dollars a year!” (Hansberry 32). This quote is powerful because it also displays a reason for why Walter Lee wants to invest in the liquor store so much, as it illuminates that he feels left behind. Walter Lee feels ignored by the world, and that Ruth is holding him back. Walter Lee is living his life, barely getting by, while seeing people who look around his age, living the high life he may never live. The reason that Walter wants to invest in the liquor store is because it will let him be like them. This is further proof of Walter’s heedance towards masculinity. The reason that …show more content…

However, Walter Lee expresses that he has bettered himself by the end of the book, by showing his shift of beliefs. At the end of the book Walter Lee decides to not sell the house to Mr. Linder. This displays a shift in Walter’s idea of masculinity. Earlier in the book, he focused on money, and making himself an “Alpha Male”. The reason that Walter wants to sell the house is to recoup the losses that he made when he lost the insurance money, and to “hang some real pearls ‘round my wife’s neck” (Hansberry 143). This still exhibits his focus on wealth, wanting to show that his family is not poor, and that they are not “Beta”. However, after Walter calms down in his bedroom, he has a different ideology. When telling Mr. Linder that he wants to sell the house, Walter decides to instead talk about pride. He talks about his father, and how he “almost beat a man to death once because this man called him a bad name” (Hansberry 147). He talks about how his family has pride, and that his sister wants to be a doctor, a job that was known for being hard for a woman to get at the time. He talks about his child, being the sixth in his generation living in America. Walter decides to not sell the house, because his father had “earned it for us brick by brick” (Hansberry 149). This proclaims an obvious change in how Walter acts, and a change in his view on life. Walter previously focused on money being what makes

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