A Raisin in the Sun

The Insurance Payment Symbol Analysis

The Insurance Payment Symbol Icon
The insurance payment that results from Big Walter’s death illustrates the tremendous sacrifice that makes at least some of the Youngers’ dreams a reality. As Mama tells Ruth, Big Walter “finally worked hisself to death” in an effort to support his family financially, procuring a $10,000 life insurance policy that would provide for his family after his death. In the hope of helping his children achieve their dreams, Big Walter sacrificed himself to give his family the opportunity for a better life. Knowing that racial prejudice prevented him from obtaining a house and a fulfilling job during his own lifetime, Big Walter’s sacrifice symbolizes the efforts that generations of African Americans made to give their children’s dreams a chance for success. The extreme nature of Big Walter’s sacrifice shows the extent to which racism limited African Americans’ opportunities for social advancement, but the insurance payment also gives purpose to Big Walter’s death and epitomizes the hope and dignity of the Younger family. Conversely, the frequent arguments between the Youngers that result from the insurance payment signify the divisive power of money.

The Insurance Payment Quotes in A Raisin in the Sun

The A Raisin in the Sun quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Insurance Payment. 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 1, Scene 1 Quotes

Mama, something is happening between Walter and me. I don’t know what it is – but he needs something – something I can’t give him anymore. He needs this chance, Lena.

Related Characters: Ruth Younger (speaker), Lena Younger (Mama), Walter Lee Younger
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:

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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 2, Scene 1 Quotes

Well – well! – All I can say is – if this is my time in life – MY TIME – to say good-bye – to these goddamned cracking walls! – and these marching roaches! – and this cramped little closet which ain’t now or never was no kitchen! . . . then I say it loud and good, HALLELUJAH! AND GOOD-BYE MISERY . . . I DON’T NEVER WANT TO SEE YOUR UGLY FACE AGAIN!

Related Characters: Ruth Younger (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

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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.

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:

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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.

Act 3 Quotes

Independence and then what? What about all the crooks and thieves and just plain idiots who will come into power and steal and plunder the same as before – only now they will be black and do it in the name of the new Independence – WHAT ABOUT THEM?!

Related Characters: Beneatha Younger (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 134
Explanation and Analysis:

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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 repre

Then isn’t there something wrong in a house – in a world! – where all dreams, good or bad, must depend on the death of a man? I never thought to see you like this, Alaiyo.

Related Characters: Joseph Asagai (speaker), Beneatha Younger
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 135
Explanation and Analysis:

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Talking ‘bout life, Mama. . . . Mama, you know it’s all divided up. Life is. Sure enough. Between the takers and the “tooken.” I’ve figured it out finally. Yeah. Some of us always getting “tooken.”

Related Characters: Walter Lee Younger (speaker), Lena Younger (Mama)
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 141
Explanation and Analysis:

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Son – I come from five generations of people who was slaves and sharecroppers – but ain’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay ‘em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn’t fit to walk the earth. We ain’t never been that poor. We ain’t never been that – dead inside.

Related Characters: Lena Younger (Mama) (speaker), Walter Lee Younger
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 143
Explanation and Analysis:

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Have you cried for that boy today? I don’t mean for yourself and for the family ‘cause we lost the money. I mean for him: what he been through and what it done to him. Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learning – because that ain’t the time at all. It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in hisself ‘cause the world done whipped him so!

Related Characters: Lena Younger (Mama) (speaker), Walter Lee Younger, Beneatha Younger
Related Symbols: The Insurance Payment
Page Number: 145
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

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.

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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The Insurance Payment Symbol Timeline in A Raisin in the Sun

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Insurance Payment appears in A Raisin in the Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act 1, Scene 1
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...the conversation promptly circles back to the anticipated check, which Mama reveals is a $10,000 insurance payment resulting from her husband’s recent death. Mama declares that some of the money must be... (full context)
Act 1, Scene 2
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...as he keeps a “good lookout” for the postman, who is supposed to deliver the insurance check that morning. After Travis exits, Beneatha asks Mama where Ruth is, and Mama says “with... (full context)
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...the doorbell rings, a sudden sound that signals that the mailman has arrived with the insurance check . Ruth sends Travis downstairs to get it. Travis returns moments later and Mama opens... (full context)
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 a discussion of his proposal to use the money as an... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 1
Dreams Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...“to tend to some business.” Walter angrily worries that she did “something crazy” with the insurance money . Travis enters and tries to explain his lateness, but Ruth cuts him off and... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 2
Dreams Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Gender and Feminism Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...a down payment on the house. She gives control over the remaining $6,500 of the insurance payment to Walter. She tells him to put $3,000 in a savings account for Beneatha’s schooling... (full context)
Act 2, Scene 3
Dreams Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Mama goes to Walter and asks him if all of the insurance money is in fact gone. Walter admits that he never went to the bank and never... (full context)
Act 3
Dreams Theme Icon
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
An hour later, Walter’s loss of the insurance money fills the apartment with “a sullen light of gloom.” Asagai enters the apartment to visit... (full context)
Dreams Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
Beneatha laments that with the loss of the insurance money her dream for the future has been stolen “right out of my hands.” Asagai asks... (full context)
Dignity and Pride Theme Icon
Race, Discrimination, and Assimilation Theme Icon
Money Theme Icon
...the world done whipped him so!” Mama tells Beneatha to mourn her brother, not the insurance money that he lost. (full context)