A raisin in the Sun and Fences are two plays that show African-American families dealing with their daily hardships and tensions. Both families face discrimination, and both have internal problems as well. The storylines of two main characters are in many ways parallel to each other: Troy Maxson and Walter Lee share some flaws and challenges, but the ways in which their characters develop are different.
specifically for you
for only $16.05 $11/page
One major similarity is the fact that, although striving to improve their families’ living conditions, both characters disregard and fail them in some way. Troy and Walter are prideful, and their pride often gets in the way of their families’ happiness and well-being. Walter’s pride is shown in his stubborn desire to open a liquor store. He does not listen to his mother when she says that he is too inexperienced to invest in it. He becomes desperate when she refuses to give him money, and demonstrates his frustration in every possible way until she finally offers him the remainder of the sum. Likewise, Troy’s pride is seen in his stubborn refusal to believe that “the world has changed”, even when everyone around tries to convince him of it (Wilson 14). He ruins Cory’s chances to become a professional football player because of his self-centeredness, and the secret affair with Alberta shows his disregard of family values, which causes his wife to reject him.
In the end, however, Troy and Walter appear to have differences too. Walter changes: “finally coming into his manhood” he begins to put his family’s well-being first (Hansberry 150). This is evident in the scene where he refuses to take the money for the house and instead decides to move to a white neighborhood. Troy’s character, conversely, does not progress: when his secret is revealed and his relationship with the family is ruined, he does not manage to make amends. Because of the perspectives fixed in him from the early childhood, he fails to learn to maintain relationships with his closest ones. Being a center of attention in his own small social circle at the beginning of the play, at the end of it he becomes a lonely and friendless man.
Hansberry, Lorraine. A Raisin in the Sun. Modern Library, 1995.
Wilson. Fences. Penguin, 2019.