For each of the characters listed, find at least one passage from Act One of the play in which this character’s aspirations or ambitions are stated or referred to. The speaker does not necessarily have to be the same as the character. For instance, Walter might make a statement about his sister, Beneatha, and her ambitions.
Make sure to note the speaker and the page number on which the passage appears.
After copying the passage, write your own thoughts about the passage. Aim to address the following issues in your response:
What do you think of the character and his/her ambitions?
Given the historical/social context, is the aspiration or ambition realistic?
What might be some obstacles for this character?
What might be some strengths that this character has that would help him/her overcome any obstacle.
Walter 1. “Yeah. You see, this little liquor store we got in mind cost seventy-five thousand and we figured the initial investment on the place be ‘bout thirty thousand, see. That be ten thousand each.”
2. And we have decided to move into our house because my father my father he earned it for us brick by brick. (MAMA has her eyes closed and is rocking back and forth as though she were in church, with her head nodding the Amen yes) We don't want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that's all we got to say about that. (He looks the man absolutely in the eyes) We don't want your money. (He turns and walks away)
Speaker:___Walter__________ Page: 33
I think Walter wants to be his own boss and he sees Mama’s insurance check as a way to get started in his own liquor business with his friends. It seems like it should be realistic for Walter to open a liquor store. It’s not like he’s thinking about becoming a stockbroker on Wall Street. One obstacle that seems clear already is that his wife, Ruth, doesn’t seem to support him on this. She thinks he might be getting involved with some shady business partners. Walter seems to know his own mind, though, so maybe he will be successful. Walter’s dream is now to make his family and all of the generations of Youngers before him proud. He puts his family pride and integrity before money.
“We was going to set away, little by little, don’t you know, and buy a little place out in Morgan Park. We even picked out the house. Looks right dumpy today. But Lord, child, you should know all the dreams I had ‘bout buying that house and fixing it up and making me a little garden in the back. And didn’t none of it happen.
Yes I taught you that. Me and your daddy. But I thought I taught you something else too ... I thought I taught you to love him.
Mama’s dream seems pretty simple—she wants a house with a little garden. I think most people would want that. Her dream doesn’t seem outrageous. I guess it might be hard for African Americans to find a house to buy during this time, especially if they want to move out of the city and into the suburbs. But it seems like if you have enough money, you should be able to buy a house wherever you want. Money talks, right? Mama’s insurance money is just as green as the next person’s… Mama’s dream is now for her family to be happy and content with what they have. She dreams that she and her husband have taught her kids to show unconditonal love to each other.
Part 2: Ma, Asagai asked me to marry him today and go to Africa…
Beneatha is going against the normal expectations of African American women of the time. She is interested in her Afrian heritage and she thinks that she can change the world through healing. Beneatha now shares a dream with Asagai and wants to blend her dream with his. She is less selfish and understands that she can help others who truly need her.
Travis Speaker:_________________ Page:______
Part 1: MAMA: She loves you.
MAMA When the world gets ugly enough a woman will do anything for her family. The part tha’s already living.
I'm sorry about this new baby, Walter. I guess maybe I better go on and do what I started ... I guess I just didn't realize how bad things was with us ... I guess I just didn't really realize
Part 2: He finally come into his manhood today, didn't he? Kind of like a rainbow after the rain . . . Speaker:_________________ Page:______
Your Response Ruth wants to make thinks easier for her family. She hopes to make her relationship better with her husband because she worries about how he he been behaving.
Ruth realizes that her husband needed to go through his “growing pains” in order to truly be happy with himself.