Beneatha and Walter's Deferred Dreams
Although Beneatha Younger isn't the lead character of A Raisin in the Sun, she still goes through rough times like the rest of her family. She strives to be a woman who wants to be free by expressing who she is. "People have to express themselves", as she brings in a guitar persuading Ruth and Mama Lena that she's going to learn how to play the instrument. Also, Beneatha's friend Asaigi imitates her on how they first meet, "'Mr. Asagai--I want very much to talk to you. About Africa. You, Mr. Asagai, I am looking for my identity!'" These two lines help illustrate the line "Maybe it just sags like a heavy load" from Hughes' poem. The reason why it continues to be a burden is that Beneatha is acquiring to be something when it's not necessary at that time. As she continues to find her identity, her family continues to drag down her spirit. Eventually, her whole dream has died out by the end of the play, and by then, "it explodes."
Her main dream from the start was to become a doctor. She had hoped that with the insurance check the family received, she got have a better education. Because of Asagai's wish for her to be less ambitious infuriates her, as well as his heated disagreement about her being far from independent, motivates her even more. With a new realization of dependence in her life, she gains aspiration and attempts to chase her dreams of being a doctor her own way, but also has a new perspective of her dream. This brings her closer to Walter Lee, and eventually notices his strength that he's had during the insurance check crisis.
Different from other characters in the play, Beneatha isn't as much as a tragic hero as her brother, Walter. She obviously still goes through one phase that most people go through: evaluating themselves justly and finding their personal dignity. Qualified by the tragic pursuit, she gained hope. When she gained hope, she overcame the obstacles with Asagai, and with a new perspective, she continues to chase her dreams of being a doctor. She does, however, know that in a society like they are in she may face racial discrimination.
Walter Lee Younger
In Langston Hughes' poem, he writes "Or crust and sugar over--Like a syrupy sweet?" This line illustrates Walter's dream to open a liquor store with the insurance check he's receiving, although he acknowledges that Mama Lena wants to buy a house. "Well--you finally got it said... It took you three years but you finally got it said. Walter, give up; leave me alone--it's Mama's money." Here, Beneatha is talking to Walter Lee about the check that's about to arrive, but later in scene two, Walter says to Mama, "Mama--Mama--I want so many things..." metaphorically telling her that he wants to run a liquor store. The problem is that he can't get to his dream, like the "syrupy sweet" implies, because Mama has already managed her plans since it's her money.
When he realizes that Mama is buying the house for the family, he goes in a downward spiral with his dreams. He is so idealistic for his future by wanting to supply his family with good wealth and for him to have his dream job at a liquor store. What finds him comfort is the money and he believes that money will turn everything around. He has so much faith in it that he does whatever he can to prove to Mama that giving the money to him is the right thing to do. He struggles obtaining his dream because of 1.) his race, 2.) his wealth, and 3.) there are other members of the family to think about. By these three aspects of failing to obtain his dream, he exerts both happiness and depression. Happiness for when he thinks he has a shot, and depression when feels nothing ever goes right for him.
By this, Walter is part of the tragic pursuit because in some sense, he believes in victory. According to Arthur Miller in the Tragedy and the Common Man, "the possibility of victory must be there in tragedy." Because at times he is so optimistic for his aspiring dreams, he becomes illusional. When he is illusional, he lacks courage and dignity. But at lower times like confronting with his son to Mr. Linder, he is capable of having both courage and dignity. Through the tragic pursuit, he was able to regain some hope and continue chasing his dream and other ideals.