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The central conflict of the play lies in Walter's notion of this American dream. Walter buys into the middle-class ideology of materialism. The notion of the self-made man who starts with nothing and achieves great wealth through hard work seems innocuous enough, but the idea can become pernicious if it evolves into an idolization of wealth and power. In the beginning, Hansberry shows how Walter envies Charlie Atkins' dry-cleaning business because it grosses $100,000 a year. He ignores Ruth's objection to his potential business partner's questionable character and dismisses his mother's moral objection to achieving his goals by running a liquor store. The liquor store is a means to an end, and Walter is desperate for his dreams to come to fruition. That same Machiavellian ethic is demonstrated when Walter plans to accept Mr. Lindner's offer. Walter is not concerned with the degrading implications of the business deal. It is simply a way to recover some of the lost money. However, Hansberry challenges Walter's crude interpretation of the American dream by forcing him to actually carry out the transaction in front of his son. Walter's inability to deal with Mr. Lindner marks a significant revision of his interpretation of the American dream, a dream that inherently prioritizes justice and equality over money.