A Raisin in the Sun

Walter Younger (Big Walter) Character Analysis

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 the Youngers’ new home. Although he was “hard-headed, mean, [and] kind of wild with women,” Big Walter “sure loved his children” and practically “kill[ed] himself” working to provide for his family. Big Walter shared his wife’s dream of buying a house.

Walter Younger (Big Walter) Quotes in A Raisin in the Sun

The A Raisin in the Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Walter Younger (Big Walter) or refer to Walter Younger (Big Walter). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Dreams Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A Raisin in the Sun published in 2004.
Act 2, Scene 3 Quotes

Man, I trusted you . . . Man, I put my life in your hands . . . Man . . . THAT MONEY IS MADE OUT OF MY FATHER’S FLESH –

Related Characters: Walter Lee Younger (speaker), Walter Younger (Big Walter), Willy Harris
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidata

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Act 3 Quotes

And we have decided to move into our house because my father – my father – he earned it for us brick by brick. We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that’s all we got to say about that. We don’t want your money.

Related Characters: Walter Lee Younger (speaker), Walter Younger (Big Walter)
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 148
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Walter Younger (Big Walter) Character Timeline in A Raisin in the Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Walter Younger (Big Walter) appears in A Raisin in the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Ruth’s husband Walter Lee enters from the bedroom, and almost immediately he mentions the “check” that the family... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...one of the neighbors beats him to it. Travis begins eating his breakfast and, like Walter, also asks his mother about the check that is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. Travis reminds... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Walter reenters and, hearing the tail end of the argument between his wife and son, gives... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Walter’s sister Beneatha enters from the stage-left bedroom in the midst of Walter and Ruth’s quarrel.... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
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Walter goes on to suggest that his sister abandon her dream of becoming a doctor in... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Mama enters from her bedroom and asks Beneatha and Ruth about the argument with Walter that she just overheard. When Beneatha exits to go to the bathroom, Ruth reveals that... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Dreams Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Walter rushes into the apartment and immediately asks to see the insurance check. He launches into... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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Mama asks Walter what’s troubling him, commenting that for the past few years “something [has been] eating you... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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Mama critiques Walter’s overriding emphasis on the importance of money, to which he responds that money “is life.”... (full context)
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Mama finally tells Walter that Ruth is pregnant and considering an abortion. Walter is shocked but insists that Ruth... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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Walter enters during Beneatha’s “performance” and he is clearly drunk. Although he first watches the spectacle... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
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Embarrassed, Ruth orders Walter off of the table. He exits. Looking at Beneatha’s African garb, George tells Beneatha to... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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...to display his knowledge of culture and to boast about his visits to New York. Walter reenters and critiques George’s expensive-looking “college boy” outfit. Getting a beer from the fridge, Walter... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
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Walter then launches into a critique of George’s college education, questioning whether his expensive schooling is... (full context)
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After George exits, Ruth and Walter puzzle over the meaning of “Prometheus.” Ruth advises Walter to ignore it, but Walter is... (full context)
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...puts away the iron and clothes and prepares to go to bed. She apologizes to Walter for “this new baby” and states that she “better go on and do what I... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Suddenly, Mama enters the apartment and ends Ruth and Walter’s intimate moment. At first, Mama ignores Walter and speaks only to Ruth, asking her where... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
...that Mama bought a house for the family, raising her arms and shouting, “PRAISE GOD!” Walter says nothing, and Ruth implores him to “let me be glad . . . you... (full context)
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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...located, and Mama, nervously responds that it’s in Clybourne Park. Ruth’s jubilance “fades abruptly” and Walter finally faces his mother with bitterness and “hostility.” Ruth says that there “ain’t no colored... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...a long pause, Mama carefully tries to justify her decision to buy a house to Walter. She tells him that she saw her family “falling to pieces” that morning when they... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
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Ruth enters and Mama asks if Walter is home. Ruth says that he is and implicitly adds that Walter is drunk. Someone... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
...a cup of coffee, which Ruth and Mama give her. Mrs. Johnson then asks about Walter, going on to discuss his ambition and good looks and guessing that it was his... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...pass the time of day with nobody ain’t been to college.” Mrs. Johnson then mentions Walter’s dissatisfaction with his work as a chauffeur, but states that he shouldn’t be ashamed because... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
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The telephone rings and Ruth answers it. Mrs. Arnold, the wife of Walter’s employer, is on the line and tells Ruth that Walter hasn’t been to work in... (full context)
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Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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Overcome with guilt, Mama realizes that she has unknowingly contributed to Walter’s descent into depression by refusing to support his dream for a liquor store. She admits... (full context)
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Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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Deeply moved by his mother’s gesture, Walter is filled with a sense of “mingled joy and desperation.” Travis enters for bed and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Dreams Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
...bought for the new house. Ruth is exuberant and light-hearted and she tells Beneatha how Walter has “done changed so ‘round here.” Beaming, Ruth tells Beneatha that she and her husband... (full context)
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Walter enters, carrying a large package. Like Ruth, he is happy and exuberant. He places the... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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...She briefly excuses herself, closes the door, and “soundlessly” explains to the oblivious Ruth and Walter that a white man is at the door. They stop dancing, turn off the music,... (full context)
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...exists to solve “special community problems.” The double meanings of Lindner’s statements escape Ruth and Walter, and Walter urges his sister to be quiet and allow Lindner to speak. (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
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...of Lindner’s true motive in visiting the family, Beneatha bitterly denounces the so-called “Welcoming Committee.” Walter is “dumbfounded.” Lindner adds that the association is willing “to buy the house from you... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
...and Travis enter the apartment. “Smiling,” Beneatha says that Mama had a “caller,” and Beneatha, Walter, and Ruth “saucily” and playfully relate the story of Lindner’s visit. Visibly concerned by this... (full context)
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Walter comes over to Mama and bends down, squeezing her in a tight embrace. Mama is... (full context)
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Travis eagerly asks his father if he can give Mama his gift, and Walter agrees. “Racing back” with a large hatbox, Travis proudly presents Mama with a “very elaborate,... (full context)
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...and Beneatha heads to her room to continue packing. Mama and Travis go to exit. Walter sings to himself and throws open the door to reveal Bobo, a “very slight” man... (full context)
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In a bumbling and tentative manner, Bobo begins to explain to Walter that he has “a real bad feeling” about the investment that they made with Willy... (full context)
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Fully recognizing the implications of Willy’s disappearance, Walter breaks down, “crying out for Willy and looking for him or perhaps for help from... (full context)
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Mama goes to Walter and asks him if all of the insurance money is in fact gone. Walter admits... (full context)
Act 3
Dreams Theme Icon
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An hour later, Walter’s loss of the insurance money fills the apartment with “a sullen light of gloom.” Asagai... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
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...hers, inquiring more specifically whether she earned it or would have received it if Big Walter hadn’t died. When Beneatha says no, Asagai states that there is “something wrong in a... (full context)
Money Theme Icon
Walter enters from the bedroom and “feverishly” begins to look for something. Filled with disgust for... (full context)
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Walter reenters and tells Mama, Ruth, and Beneatha that he made a phone call to “The... (full context)
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Still in denial of Walter’s intentions in calling Lindner, Ruth again asks Walter about the phone call. Walter says that... (full context)
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Walter protests, shouting, “I didn’t make this world! It was give to me this way!” He... (full context)
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Beneatha sneers that Walter is “not a man . . . but a toothless rat.” Mama asks Beneatha if... (full context)
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...moment later, Lindner appears at the door. Ruth “mechanically” goes to the bedroom and tells Walter that Lindner has arrived. After a long pause, Walter enters the living room. Lindner efficiently... (full context)
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Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Walter begins his conversation with Lindner meekly, telling him that the Youngers “are very plain people.”... (full context)
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Calling Travis to him, Walter stands proudly behind his son and tells Lindner that Travis “makes the sixth generation of... (full context)
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...for the family’s move to Clybourne Park. They “deliberately” try to ignore “the nobility” of Walter’s decision, focusing instead on the task at hand. Beneatha excitedly tells Mama that Asagai proposed... (full context)
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Making final preparations to leave the apartment, Mama references Walter’s confrontation with Lindner, asking Ruth, “He finally come into his manhood today, didn’t he?” Biting... (full context)