Why Do We Hurt the Ones We Love? “You love each other but can’t manage to communicate without arguing, fighting and ending up exhausted, each one in his corner, trying to lick his wounds and thinking of how to protect oneself against a new attack. And in spite of that.. you love each other? ” (Westt, James) Lorraine Hansberry’s acclaimed play A Raisin in the Sun, tells the story of the Youngers, a poor African American family in the 1950s.
There are four of them, all living in a cramped and tiny apartment. They have a difficult life, and although their family is five generations of hard working people, they have little to show for it.
With every person disagreeing on how they should spend the life insurance money, it’s no surprise that the Youngers get into arguments and fights and belittle one another on a regular basis. Through the hardships and difficulties that Walter and Beneatha went through, Hansberry was able to demonstrate that when faced with adversity, we often turn on the ones we love most.
Throughout most of the play, Walter has bursts of intense anger and lashes out at his family. Ruth is the one person who he loves most in the world, yet he treats her the worst out of everybody through the insensitive remarks he makes and the unreliability he shows to her.
After one of Walter and Ruth’s fights in the play, Ruth tried to make peace with Walter and go back to the way things use to be between them. Walter responded with, “Who’s fighting you? Who even cares about you? ” (II-1, 67). Although he does in fact care about her, he takes her for granted and doesn’t appreciate all that she does. That is one of the main reasons why people often hurt their spouses; they’re too busy thinking about themselves to be thankful for the love of their life who would do anything for them.
Being the only man of the house, it is difficult for Walter to see the conditions that he and his family are living in and know that there is little he can do to change it to make their lives better. He feels guilty about not being successful, according to his standards, and in turn tries to mask that guilt by blaming others and accusing them of not supporting him. This is illustrated through a quote said by Walter after an argument over what to do with the life insurance money. “So tired – moaning and groaning all the time, but you wouldn’t do nothing to help, would you?
You couldn’t be on my side for nothing, could you? ” (I-1, 14). Sometimes, when a person points out the faults of others and accuses them of being in the wrong, it is because they can’t face what is really bothering them, which is feeling like a failure. Beneatha is another character who often lets her frustration get the better of her. Being extremely smart and educated, Beneatha has many ideas that are somewhat revolutionary for this time period, and she and the rest of the Youngers don’t always see eye to eye.
The object of her anger throughout the play is Walter, and his disregard for her dream to become a doctor. In one scene where Beneatha is particularly angry, she says to him, “I look at you and I see the final triumph of stupidity in the world! ” (III-1, 111). She wants to feel superior to Walter in any way that she can, which she does by questioning his intelligence. Insults are a way for humans to feel in control; by putting someone down it provides a feeling of superiority. Beneatha’s cruelty towards Walter isn’t always based off of pure stubbornness and the need to always be right.
It is also out of revenge because she wishes to cause him as much pain as he has caused her. After he lost all of their money and it seemed as though Beneatha’s goal of becoming a doctor was shattered, she felt extreme bitterness towards him. When speaking of Walter, Beneatha remarked, “That is not a man, that is nothing but a toothless rat” (III-1, 117). Although she does still love her brother, it is hidden by the anger that she feels. When being overwhelmed by the feeling of helplessness, there is little that can be done other than trying to make another person feel as horrible as possible.
Despite these two characters constantly butting heads with the rest of the family, there is one character who knows how to bring them all together. Mama acts as a mediator, and reminds them all that they are a family who loves each other and needs to support one another no matter what. When granting Walter the responsibility of choosing what to do with the remainder of the money, Mama raises his confidence as the man of the house when telling him, “I ain’t never stop trusting you.
Like I ain’t never stop loving you” (I-2, 80). In a family, after fights and disagreements, there is bound to be regretted things that have been said, and wounded feelings all around. However no matter how bad it gets, a family that truly loves each other know that after all is said and done, they are there for one another and will always love each other no matter what. Mama is also the voice of reason in the house, and calls the others out when they are treating each other horribly.
Speaking to Beneatha about Walter and his mistake, she snapped, “Child, when do you think the time to love somebody the most; when they done good and made things easy for everybody? ” (III-1, 118). Nothing is more important to her than family, and although she sometimes is guilty of hurting them as well, Mama does her best to remind them that it doesn’t matter that sometimes they make mistakes, or say things they don’t mean. What matters is that they love each other and will get through any of life’s challenges that stand in their way.
Walter and Beneatha treated one another and their family horribly at various times throughout this play, which was caused by the disappointments that each one had to overcome. There were words exchanged that caused pain, and insults intended to cut deep. Despite this, the Younger family has proved that if love exists in the relationships, it doesn’t matter how nasty things get because in the end, our loved ones will be there to support us and care for us. As said by Michael Clark, “We’ll always hurt the ones we love and trust because we’ll always trust that they will love us back. ”
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Why Do We Hurt the Ones We Love?. (2016, Oct 22). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/why-do-we-hurt-the-ones-we-love/