The Strength of Family in Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun

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The American Dream is a vision of economic opportunity available to all those who work for it, regardless of race or class. However, as seen in Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman” and Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin in the Sun”, perverted conceptions of the American Dream convince certain characters that they are entitled to the fruits of miracles. Despite their best intentions for supporting their families, Walter Younger and Willy Loman encounter unsurpassable obstacles and are unable to fulfill their dreams. When all hope has been lost, family is the only thing that these characters have left. “Death of a Salesman” and “A Raisin in the Sun” portray family as asylums of safety amidst the hopeless ambitions of tragic heroes. Both Lena …show more content…
Lena tells Beneatha to love her brother when he is in a time of crisis and to understand what tribulations he had to go through (hills and valleys) out of love for his family. Lena’s establishes peace between Walter and Beneatha by teaching them to forgive each another and value family harmony above all else. The family peace is thus preserved and ultimately this unity allows the Youngers to stand by one another at the end of the novel in the decision to move into their new home and persevere against racial pressure. Lena’s diplomatic skills come into play again during this climax and empower the tragic hero of the story to make a redeeming decision. A major source of tension within the story comes from disagreement over how the money should be invested, but that question becomes meaningless when a crook dupes Walter and runs away with the money. Desperate, Walter is tempted to acknowledge racial inferiority by staying out of Clybourne park in return for money, but ultimately Lena convinces Walter that family is more important than money. As Walter prepares to seal the deal, Lena tells her son to “make [Travis] understand what you doing, Walter Lee… you show where our five generations done come to” (147). Lena challenges Walter to submit like that of his slave