Ruth Younger Character in ‘ARAISIN IN THE SUN’ by Lorraine Hansberry
Ruth Younger is a character inthe play ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ by LorraineHansberry. She is in her30’s. She is a protagonist character, a non-complex and a staticcharacter who is hardworking, persistent and acts as a mediator inher family. Ruth is a family lady, a wife to Lee, and a mother toTravis. She is a pretty lady who has kind of been frustrated withlife. In the 1950’s it was a very common practice for women to stayat home and take good care of their families and Ruth was never anexception. Ruth did what typical women and mothers did by thencleaning, cooking, raising her son Travis and supporting her dearesthusband, Lee. Even though Ruth performed such chores, she also diddomestic work a work, which most women did not perform by then. Ruthwas involved in the cleaning of the homes of white people who werevery rich. Ruth was also very different from the typical women ofthat time in the way she used to live she not only shared the samehouse (a two bedroom house) with her son and her husband but she alsoshared the same house with her mother in law called Lena togetherwith her sister in law called Beneatha. This essay will analyze thecharacter Ruth Younger in the play ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ byLorraine Hansberry.
Thesis statement: Ruth is ahardworking and persistent character who encounters various strugglesin her life. Due to her practical nature and the fact that she doesnot fantasize, most women should actually look up to her as a rolemodel today.
Ruth comes from a poor BlackAmerican family living in Chicago. Her husband is a chauffeur for avery rich white guy but he cannot still raise enough money that canhelp him in supporting his family. Lee Walter hates his job and isyearning to become his own boss but he does not have the capabilityof doing so. Due to this, he often takes out his irritations andfrustrations on his wife Ruth. As a result, Ruth also takes out thesame frustration on her husband Lee making the couple to have a rockyand shaky marriage. It is clear that the turmoil within the marriageis a real issue and is taking a huge toll on her. Ruth seems verydepressed, irritable and sometimes she almost loses hope in life butthe joy of having her family keeps her going.
The close relationship Ruth haswith her mother in law and with her whole family can be compared tothat of the Biblical Ruth. The Biblical Ruth tells Naomi her motherin law that she will go with her to any place and that Naomi’speople will be her people (Morison 675).However, in the play, the parents or siblings of Ruth are not reallymentioned, unlike the Biblical Ruth. We are not told where Ruth camefrom before she joined her new family. Even though we do not know herbackground, we can see that she has a real soft personality. Ruth isnot an aggressive person she is an individual who let life gives heranything. She is an example of those women in today’s society whoare worn out with a tiresome routine life. The author of the playLorraine Hansberrydescribes her as a woman who is still in her thirty’s but in a fewyears time, will be known by her people as an already settled lady.She has simple dreams and is contented with what she already has shewould just be fine with a moderately comfortable life without muchcomplications. Moreover, Ruth’s dreams blossoms after she is toldof the probability of the family moving to a better vicinity.
Ruth has also got a character ofbeing embarrassed easily and a character of trying too hard to pleaseother people. When Murchison arrives at Walter’s and Beneatha’smiddle of the African frenzied dance, she is apologetic to Murchisonabout the behavior. When there is an argument between Beneatha andWalter, she asks Walter never to bring her into the same conflict.Also, even though she is annoyed by the meddling of Lena her ‘Mama’,she still allows her to have an influence on her especially on how toraise her son Travis.
When Mama decides to tell thewhole family about the house, Ruth with her clear mind tries to weighthe negatives and the positives on the choice of moving to a newhouse, even though she keeps her opinion to herself for the timebeing. She actually sees the movement as a good choice for the wholefamily and even goes as far as trying to state the good impacts themove can have on the family. Ruth sees the move as a good thing forher when she states that ‘this is my time in life’ (Hansberry34). Even after being that happy,there is a little problem because her husband Lee is not really happywith the move. The unhappiness from Walter is a huge threat to hersince her main goal is to ensure her whole family is happy first.Ruth has got an opinion that any little change from their currentplace is just okay and so she decides to embrace the ‘moving’decision even though it has got some few race relation problems.
Ruth can also be seen as someonewho does not express her opinions very often. She shows the mostemotion when her mother in law tells her that they may not have thecapability of moving that is the time Ruth decides to express heropinions. Since she lacks sophistication and education, Ruth majorlyrelies upon the advice and suggestions of others, even if what shethinks may be the wishes of other people. This can be observed in herwhen she contemplates abortion because she is worried about thefinancial crisis within the family and is afraid she will add moreburdens to the family. This is not what she really wants but shecares for the family more than herself. Also, we can see a characterabout Ruth of not being an emotional weakling. She does not raise hervoice even when she is really annoyed, like her husband Walter oftendoes. With the marital and economic problems she is experiencing, shetries very hard to overcome them she never despairs easily. Ruth hasalso got another character of being inimitable quiescence she tellsher son Travis to kiss her goodbye even though Travis is very angrywith her. She also persuades ‘Mama’, her mother in law to stopinterfering with just a single disapproval glance. She also managesto save her rocky marriage even when everything seems hopeless in herrelationship with Walter (Hansberry 34).
Finally, Ruth makes a decision tokeep her baby after being assured that they will move out of thehouse. However, Ruth will still have to do her usual job to help paythe mortgage. She will also have to deal with the racism backlash ofhaving to live with the white people. Yes, it will still be verytough for her but she is a strong woman, a woman who is a role modelfor very many women in our current society and should be emulated.She is always ready to face any struggle as long as her family isclose to her. With her hard work and persistence, Ruth is someone whowomen should look upon in our today’s society. She does everythingin her power just to make her family happy. Also, whatever she cannotchange, she leaves it for nature she is simply a practical woman whodoes not fantasize often like some women.
Hansberry, Lorraine, and Robert Nemiroff. A Raisin in the Sun.New York: Vintage Books, 2012. Print.
Morison, James, R P. Smith, and R P. Smith. Ruth. GrandRapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 2014. Print.