Each character in the play has their own perspective on what that dream is and what they perceive a better life to be. Hansberry focuses on the importance of achieving one’s dreams regardless of the several harsh struggles in life. Mama said,”Lord if this little plant don’t get more sun than it has been getting it ai not never going to see spring up again.
” The plant signifies Mamas dedication to her fantasies. Every morning she tends to her plant also clarifies that even though it does not get the amount of sunlight that’s needed the plant is still alive. This also signifies that even though her dreams have been deferred during her life she keeps them alive and strives to reach them.
Mama decided to put a down payment on a home in a white neighborhood understanding that this would keep the family together.
This also shows her belief in attaining the ideal American Dream. Mama is the head of the household and always makes sure her children remember where they came from and to take pride in what they believe in. Ruth has similar dreams since Mama does, she wants to build her very own happy family and move towards a bigger and better house. Ruth said to mama, “So you went and did it! PRAISE GOD! Please honey let me be thankful, you’re glad too. Ok walter a house. . a home.”
Ruth’s response to how happy she was when she found out Mama bought a home demonstrates how much she does care for her family and desires that American dream as well. Ruth believes that ownership can bring happiness and that’s the idea of her”better life”. Beneatha’s dream is to be a physician and stand against ignorance in racism. Beneatha’s dreams were deferred because she grew up in a society where people expected women to construct homes rather than have actual careers. Also money was another issue that was holding her back from becoming a doctor and chasing her dream. Walter said to Beneatha,” Ain’t many women decide to be a doctor.” This reveals how Walter is close minded and agrees on the perspectives of women and their role in society. Beneatha and Walter disagreed on what the”American Dream” was because they had such diverse ideas on what they portrayed a better life to be.
Beneatha believes that Walters dream of buying a liquor store is a waste of money, she doesn’t feel Walter has the ambition or ability to make a success of such a company and is thankful that her mother won’t agree to the plan. Beneatha’s character explicates a determined lady; she’s different from other women in her generation because her dreams and ambitions are contrary to what is expected in the cultural traditions. Walter is a good example of a positive and negative character throughout the play due to his actions on attempting to achieve his perfect American dream. Walter is striving for financial independence and would like to own his business/ liquor store. He wants to be the sole provider for his family and household. Walter said to mama,” A work mama, a job? I open and close car doors all day long, I push a guy around in his limo and I say,”yes, sir, no, sir; quite good, sir; shall I take the drive, sir” Mama that ai not no kind of job, that ain’t nothing in any respect.”
This symbolizes how Walter is embarrassed of the job and how badly he wants to invest in the liquor company to become economically independent. His definition of a man is by measuring his success and ability to provide for his family. Walter goes through with trying to make his business happen by using some of the insurance cash Mama needed; he ends up losing his money to a con-artist and this is when he realizes the value of his family’s dreams and where he came from. Mama said,”He finally come into his penis now, did not he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain.” This signifies how Walter went from being looked down upon by his family to becoming his family’s hero, when he realized that he had to step up and be a man. He now knows what his priorities are and that’s for him to stand by his family and face the future. In spite of all the problems the family had throughout the play in the end we see the Younger’s moving from the old home into a new one. Mama is carrying her plant along with her; this signifies how they still have their old”roots” even though they’re taking a brave step by moving into a white neighborhood and fulfilling the American dream that they’ve been longing for.