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Walter's Communication in "a Raisin in the Sun"

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Walter's Communication in "A Raisin in the Sun"

There are two basic life processes according to communication theorist Lee Thayer. One is acquiring and processing energy. The other is acquiring and processing information, also known as communication. In Becoming A Master Student Dave Ellis states, "Communication can be defined as the process of creating shared meaning" (Ellis 235). In Lorraine Hannsberry's "A Raisin in the Sun" readers are introduced to Walter Younger, the character who is the focal point of Hannsberry's play. Walter is ambitious and bursting with thoughts of achieving his dreams. However, Walter is also a very desperate man. Walter's ability to communicate with his family suffers because of his own uncontrollable personal ambitions. It is Walter's suffering however, that brings him full circle and reestablishes the communication with his family and heritage.

Walter's troubles mount because he cannot accept his current place in society or even his own household. Walter believes that through his business idea of opening a liquor store he will be able to solve all his problems socially, financially and within his own family. Walter's communication frustrations within the family are evident when he addresses George Murchison by saying, "Here I am a giant surrounded by ants! Ants who can't even understand what it is the giant is talking about" (1155). Readers can see by this point that Walter feels his idea for the liquor store is a more noble cause than anyone else's in the household by this belittling statement. The lack of confidence in Walter's abilities for business and as a husband displayed by his family members cause him to grow distant and make decisions on his own despite what others tell him. After Mamma gives the remaining balance of the insurance check to Walter, he ignores the instructions to separate some money for Benethas schooling. Instead, Walter loses the money by taking a gamble on his business idea with Willy Harris and Bobo. Walter, after losing the money still is unable to shed his pride. Despite hitting rock bottom Walter believes he has found a way, once again without consulting anyone, to regain the money he has lost by calling Lindner to buy the house Mamma purchased for the family to move into. After learning of his decision Beneatha says, "Oh, God! Where is the bottom! Where is the real honest-to-God bottom so he can't go any farther" (1177)! Beneatha is in a sense speaking what everyone else is thinking; Walter is selling his sole. In this moment the gravity of the situation is too much for Walter to handle and his thoughts and emotions come pouring out like an angry purification of the sole. Upon Lindner's arrival, Mamma forces Walter to decide his own fate by having Travis, Walter's son, attend the negotiation for the sale of the house. Mamma

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