Anything in the universe can be divided. Galaxies can be divided by shape; planets can be divided by composition. Most humans divide themselves as well. All around the world, people judge one another through certain characteristics, such as their grades in school or athletic ability. After they judge each other on those certain characteristics, they divide each other into groups. Then, they will try their best to join the group that is the most appealing in their mind by changing their own characteristics. Lorraine Hansbury made her characters more realistic by allowing them to be divided into clear-cut groups. In A Raisin in the Sun, the characters can be divided into a few groups: those who make things happen, such as Walter or Willy Harris, or those who wonder what happened, such as Beneatha or Ruth, and lastly, those who watch what happened such as Travis or Asagai.
Those who make things happen are definitely the backbone of this play since they are the ones who are always causing conflicts. Walter, for instance, gives the money away to Willy Harris, a con artist, thus ruining his dream and wasting all of Beneathas college money. Walter makes his and Beneathas dream collapse literally overnight. Willy Harris is causes one of the conflicts in the end of the book. He makes the conflict happen by taking $6,500 from the family, which in turn causes everyone to distrust and despise Walter even more than they had in the past. Mr. Lindner is another character who makes things happen. By trying to buy the house the Younger family was about to move into, he made the entire family incensed. This made the whole family to unite on one cause, which does not happen very often in the play.
Beneatha is a character who wonders what happened. After Walter loses the money, Beneatha rants on about dreams and her life, and then says Dont you see there isnt any real progress, Asagai, there is only one large circle we march in, around and around, each of us with our own little picture in front of usour own little mirage that we think is the future. Beneatha clearly wonders what is happening and draws up her own conclusions. Mama also draws her own conclusions after she wonders what happened when Walter lost the money. She thinks about what the family should do now that they have lost the money, and her conclusion is that the whole family should not move. Ruth was opposed to this; her conclusion was that the family needed to move, even if she had to work 20 hours a day in all of the kitchens in Chicago. Clearly, she too wonders what happened, but does not do anything about it. Wondering what had happened yet not doing anything about it is pathetic, yet watching what had happened and not even caring about it at all is even worse.
There are characters in this play whose only purposes are to add more lines and convey a message. Travis is one of these characters. All he does throughout the play is say things like, The movers are here. or I need 50 cents. He does not wonder what happened, and he does not make things happen; all he does is watch them happen. Asagai adds lines to the play by allowing Beneatha to convey her conclusions to someone. He simply enters the room, says something, and leaves; he too does not create conflicts, or even draw a conclusion. Bobo, Walters business partner, is a character whose sole in the play is to tell Walter that Willy ran off with Walters $6,500. He enters the Youngers apartment says Willy didnt never show up, and then gets mad and leaves.
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansbury is a versatile book, and I would recommend it to people of all ages. It raises peoples awareness of the kinds of racial prejudice and what was really happening in the 1950s. In conclusion, the characters in A Raisin in the Sun can be divided into multiple groups. The groups all have different purposes. The characters who make things happen create conflicts and try to solve them. The characters who wonder what happened provide solutions to the problems that the characters who made things happen created. Then there is the third group: the good-for-nothing, shameful characters who watch things happen convey messages to other characters. All of the characters add to the play in their own way.