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A Raisin in the Sun

Lorraine Hansberry


Summary Act III

Walter’s dream for money and material goods remains unrealized, but he has modified his dream as he has matured. While he almost succumbs to accepting Mr. Lindner’s money, his family convinces him that they have worked too hard to have anyone tell them where they can and cannot live. In other words, his pride, work, and humanity become more important to him than his dream of money. Walter finally “come[s] into his manhood,” as Mama says, recognizing that being proud of his family is more important than having money. For Walter, the events of the play are a rite of passage. He must endure challenges in order to arrive at a more adult understanding of the important things in life.

While both of her children achieve happiness but incomplete fulfillment of their dreams, Mama realizes her dream of moving at last. As the matriarch and oldest member of the family, Mama is a testament to the potential of dreams, since she has lived to see the dream she and her husband shared fulfilled. The younger Youngers, aptly named to show the shifting emphasis from old to young, are at midpoints in their lives. With the new house, they are well on their way to the complete fulfillment of their dreams. Mama’s last moment in the apartment and her transporting of her plant show that although she is happy about moving, she continues to cherish the memories she has accumulated throughout her life. Hansberry implies, then, that the sweetness of dream fulfillment accompanies the sweetness of the dream itself. Mama pauses on her way out of the apartment to show respect and appreciation for the hard work that went into making the dream come true. Her husband lingers in her recollections, and when she says to Ruth a few lines earlier, “Yeah—they something all right, my children,” it becomes almost an invocation of their unmistakably solid futures.