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Compare and Contrast Lena Younger and Walter Lee Younger Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2020

In the process of developing characters in their plays, poems or films, the playwrights, poets and filmmakers strategically feature both similarities as well as differences in the characters. Lorraine Hansberry provides the best illustration of this claim through the way he presents the characters in his play A Raisin in the Sun. Lena Younger and Walter Lee Younger are similar and at the same time different based on some parameters discussed in the paper. For instance, while Lena loves her family directly, Lee does it, but indirectly.

There exist some differences between Walter Lee and his mother Lena. Lena is a loving mother, a trait that provides the reason behind her patience, selflessness and understanding. She seems determined and caring to her family because when faced with discrimination she migrates with it from the south to Chicago (Hansberry 112).

She is a mother who cherishes and values the unity and family as opposed to Lee. On the other hand, lee is more ambitious and he tries his best level to reach more people by fully living the American dream by working towards economic success in order to improve the living condition of his family. However, he develops an ambition of owning a liquor store thereby concentrating on the business more than his family as his mother does.

When it comes to an idea of freedom, the two characters have different perspectives and understanding. Lena sees freedom of living as more important compared to money. She seems more concerned about the status of living conditions and the ability to enjoy the freedom as opposed to being in possession of money.

On the other hand, Walter Lee is so much engrossed with money. He thinks that money is the real freedom, which can rescue him from the many life obstacles (Cliff 12). He believes that money is the only thing, which brings happiness and comfort in the lives of people. Therefore, a clear cut of their differences is that while Lena’s experience of racism forms the basis of her decisions, Walter Lee on the other hand bases his on his dreams of owning many businesses.

There are also similarities that these two characters depict in the play. For instance, both are determined and brave. The two make a decision to move to the white neighborhood amidst resentments and threats by some weak representatives who claim that Chicago, their intended destination, is not a place they can be welcomed.

However, they defy the claim and make their way to Chicago where they manage to buy a house regardless of the financial obstacles. They run through a financial crisis after the collapse of the liquor business opened by Lee whose friend runs away with some of the money that Lee intends to invest in the business (Cliff 43). Regardless of the impediments, Lena uses her savings to facilitate their resettlement in the new land because for her, determination welcomes no barrier.

In addition, the two characters value their family as opposed to anything else though the degree of the value differs. Lena is more concerned about the life of her family more than anything else to the level of struggling to ensure that she provides a good house for her family. On the other hand, Walter Lee is also concerned about his family members.

In fact, he dreams about providing the best support for his family and that is why he is so concerned about its economic situation. He goes as far as convincing his mother to give him money to begin liquor selling business though she mother had earlier on opposed. He does all this to ensure that his family is satisfied and lives well (Hansberry 23). This character eventually realizes the need for family ties and closeness after his business and search for money becomes unsuccessful.

Works Cited

Cliff, Anthony. , 2008. Web.

Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1959.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Compare and Contrast Lena Younger and Walter Lee Younger." July 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/compare-and-contrast-lena-younger-and-walter-lee-younger/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Compare and Contrast Lena Younger and Walter Lee Younger'. 1 July.

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