The American Dream in the 1950’s was to own a big house with a yard, and to live a happy fruitful life. In this play, I feel as though the idea was the most profound in all of the characters. All Mama ever wants is a big house in a nice neighborhood with a yard for her grandson to play in. She just wants her family to feel like they are improving their lives and moving up in the world. This is the American Dream for Mama.
Walter, on the other hand, wants to run a profitable business with his partner Willy Harris, and make his family’s life better through the liquor store. He feels as though hard work will grant you a better life. All though he is right, he chooses the wrong business partners, and makes the wrong decisions. He has great intentions and all though they fall through, they represent his idea of the American Dream.
Beneatha’s version of the American Dream is a very personal and intellectual one.The attractive sister of Walter, Beneatha, has excellent ambitions to become a doctor. Although money is tight, she still dreams of being a strong willed, independent black doctor, capable of doing anything she will set her mind on. Her vision of the American Dream is personal success, and advancing in life in spite of the racism and obstacles she has to overcome.
These three characters all have a vision of the American Dream. Mama wants to buy a house in Clybourne Park, and she wants her family to feel more energized and motivated. Walter wants to earn a real living through the liquor store with will Harris. Beneatha wants to go to school and become a doctor. She wants more than anything to be respected as an individual, and to be a proud African American. Maybe the true American Dream is sticking together as a family through tough times. As this family shows, sticking together is what counts.
Most of the characters in this play are trivial, but there are a few that accelerate the plot. The characters whom I think are the main characters are Walter, Mamma, and Mr. Linder. These three characters affect each other, and progress the plot.
Mr. Linder creates a conflict within the family, and he causes much distress. He forces the family to reconsider their choices, and represents the temptation of money against dreams.
Walter is the main character in the play, and although not being a perfect character, he is my favorite. He grows the most throughout the play, and makes many choices in order to obtain a better future. He first makes terrible choices that put the family in jeopardy. After being given $3,500 to invest in Beneatha’s education and $3,000 to keep, he instead uses to money to invest in a liquor store with Willy Harris. Willy Harris ends up running off with the money, leaving Walter to play the part of the fool. He then makes the right choice at the end of the play by deciding against Mr. Linder’s bribe and buying the house in Clybourne Park. He also gives a brilliant and tenacious speech about how his family is proud to be black, and that they will move into this new neighborhood no matter what.
Mama, our final character, is a very caring and down to earth person. She seems to always care and provide for other people, putting her own needs last. She believes that dreams are more important than money, and that money is just a
means to an end. For her, purchasing the house in Clybourne Park is the number one priority. She believes that doing so will spark the family’s motivation. She also loves and cares deeply about Travis, and she wants a big yard for him to play in. Mama is a very straight forward character, and her wants and needs do not change very much throughout the play.