A Raisin in the Sun


Lorraine Hansberry

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A Raisin in the Sun Characters

Lena Younger (Mama)

The matriarch of the Younger family, Lena, commonly referred to as “Mama,” is Walter Lee and Beneatha’s mother and Travis’ grandmother. Lena is a “full-bodied and strong” woman in her early sixties with a… (read full character analysis)

Walter Lee Younger

Mama’s oldest child and Beneatha’s brother. Walter is married to Ruth and is Travis’ father. Walter is a “lean, intense young man” in his mid-thirties and “nervous movements and erratic speech habits” characterize his behavior… (read full character analysis)

Beneatha Younger

Nicknamed “Bennie,” Beneatha is Mama’s daughter and Walter Lee’s younger sister. A twenty-year-old college student with dreams of becoming a doctor, Beneatha is “as slim and intense as her brother,” with an “intellectual face.” Beneatha… (read full character analysis)

Ruth Younger

Walter Lee’s wife and Travis’ mother. About thirty years old, Ruth was once “exceptionally” pretty, although an air of “disappointment has already begun to hang in her face.” Her demeanor indicates that life has delivered… (read full character analysis)

Travis Younger

The son of Walter Lee and Ruth, Travis is the youngest member of the family. A “sturdy, handsome” boy of about ten years old, Travis sleeps on a make-down bed in the Youngers’ living… (read full character analysis)
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Joseph Asagai

A Nigerian man studying in Chicago, Joseph Asagai is a student who Beneatha met on her college campus. Asagai is a “rather dramatic-looking” young man who takes great pride in his African heritage and dreams… (read full character analysis)

George Murchison

A wealthy young man who dates Beneatha. Raised in a well-to-do black family, George is somewhat shallow and conceited, taking great pride in his family’s social status and his ability to make highbrow cultural… (read full character analysis)

Karl Lindner

The only white character to appear onstage during the play, Karl Lindner is a representative of the Clybourne Park Improvement Association, which seeks to dissuade the Youngers from moving to its all-white neighborhood. Lindner is… (read full character analysis)

Mrs. Johnson

The Youngers’ meddling neighbor in their apartment in Chicago’s South Side. A “rather squeaky wide-eyed lady of no particular age,” Mrs. Johnson is a noisy neighbor who takes a voyeuristic interest in the Youngers’ decision… (read full character analysis)

Walter Younger (Big Walter)

Lena Younger’s recently deceased husband and the father of Walter Lee and Beneatha. Big Walter’s death provides the family with an insurance payment of $10,000, part of which serves as the down payment on… (read full character analysis)

Willy Harris

Never appearing onstage, Willy Harris is Walter Lee’s supposed friend and business partner. Willy Harris swindles Walter Lee and Bobo out of their investments in the liquor store, disappearing with the money and leaving Walter… (read full character analysis)
Minor Characters
A friend of Walter Lee who, like Walter, also falls prey to Willy Harris’ liquor store investment scheme. A “very slight little man,” the bumbling and “pitiful” Bobo is the one who tells Walter and Ruth that Willy Harris has conned them out of their investments.
Mr. and Mrs. Arnold
The wealthy white couple that employs Walter Lee as a chauffeur. Mr. and Mrs. Arnold never appear onstage.
Moving Men
Two hired men who appear onstage in the play’s final moments to help the Youngers move their belongings to Clybourne Park.