The play A Raisin in the Sun written by Lorraine Hansberry is a story about the importance of family. Though the family is in conflict more often than not, the quarrels actually seem to bring the Younger family closer together. The variance between personalities and viewpoints of how the family would become more prosperous, as well as the setting in which this clash takes place, pushes the family to its breaking point, which surprisingly allows the Youngers to grow closer together and emphasizes the value of family throughout the piece.
The major disputes revolve around Walter Lee Younger, the “man of the house” and oldest male in the family. As the major antagonist, he is opinionated, stubborn, and opportunistic. Because he is the oldest man in the household, he sees himself as the head of the family, and tries to make all of the decisions, especially in regards to finances.
His mother, Lena Younger, also known as Mama, actually seems to be the decision maker of the home. She is an older, worldly, woman who is set in her ways and just as obstinate as Walter Lee. Though a cantankerous woman, Lena is very caring and proud. She is good-hearted and puts her family above all else, including money, which seems to be the driving motivation for all of the other family members. It is apparent that all of her other relatives have a deep respect for her, because occasionally, when in the heat of an argument, only a stern look from Mama is necessary to stop the squabble.
Beneatha Younger, Lena’s daughter, is also very opinionated, and often gets into disagreements, especially with Walter Lee. Beneatha is a naive but strong willed youthful girl. She is constantly interested in her African heritage, the plight of African Americans, and very focused on becoming a doctor. It seems that that sporadically she will start arguments just for the sake of arguing. This obstinacy, though a central trait in each of the main characters, actually permits each.