The development of the character of his sister is in direct defiance of his personality. It is interesting to note that it is the sister who wants to have the family return to their African roots and Walter who seems to want to join the white capitalist society. In the era that the play is set it was usually the men who wanted to hold fast to their heritage while the women were content to stay home, raise children clean house and have the men make the political and societal decisions for the family.
The audience gets to know the character of mama through her discussions with her children and her daughter in law. Mama makes it clear that her deceased husband's wishes should be an important consideration in the decision about what to do with the money. The audience sees mama, initially as a weak woman who is going to be led astray by her demanding son or self-centered daughter, but as the play continues to unfold the audience sees that mama has always been and is still the strongest members of the family. She works to organize the family to address the issues at hand with little success but the audience gets to know her strength by her arguments with both her son and her daughter when it was about something that she cared deeply about. The old saying choose one's battles, and choose the hill you are willing to die on, pertain to the character development of mama because she appears to be quiet and mild mannered and easy going, but when it comes to something she values such as the desire to keep her family together and move them into a house in a white area she becomes strong, demanding and vocal about those wishes.
Mama's character is developed through her insistence about certain things for her children. Her demand that her children have self-respect, tells the audience that the character of mama has self-respect, her demand that the house remained clean and polished regardless of how poor it is, demonstrates for the audience that she takes pride in her surroundings and understands that lack of money does not mean lack of class or style.
The fact that she consistently tells Walter that the only thing she ever wanted was to make her family happy, provides an understanding for the audience that her character is the most nurturing character in the play.
Beneatha's character unfolds itself before the audience as she demonstrates ambition, intelligence and drive. She works to display the need for African-American not to forget their beginnings and her character is developed in such a way that African-Americans are encouraged to maintain their sense of identity and heritage. Through the development of this character however, she sometimes appears to be self-centered as can be seen by her desire for the insurance check to be used to send her through medical school.
Her character is developed quickly as a defiant young women who wants to believe that she is independent but the reality is she is dependent not only on her father's insurance money but also on the fact that she is ultimately afraid to leave America and lead the life she claims she wants to lead. Her character shows itself to be spoiled a bit and possibly somewhat immature.
Asagai is a character whose development is essential to the play because he brings the international flavor to the set. His character is one that sets the stage to reflect the underlying lack of ability for Beneatha to actually do what she claims she wants to do and that is to leave the nation and live among her heritage people.
The scenes build dramatically because of the climatic attitude that they bring to the stage. Each scene of rising conflict builds and readies for the next one. Because the family is waiting for money to arrive, the author takes the time to develop characters as the audience goes along for the ride. The scenes build one on top each other because of the wondering by the audience about what will eventually be done with the funds that are coming. Audience members can't help but identify with one of the characters and therefore have a preference or belief about what should be done with the insurance check and the waiting and anticipation to see which character will get his or her way is something that helps keep the audience attached to the story line and helps build the scenes on top of each other to build suspense.
The climax of the play occurs when the mother buys a house, and gives the rest of the money to Walter for the store, but when he gets scammed out of it, he doesn't act like a child, he steps up as head of household and plans on how to take care of the family without the store. It is the climax because these events are what the entire play has been leading to since the first scene.
The ending is logical especially given the time frame and era that the play is set in. At that time the mother was often listened to even by her adult children and in that time if the father died the oldest son was expected to step up and take over as the man in the family. Buying the house was believable because $10,000 would enable them to do so and the scamming of Walter was believable because he was too cocky and did not listen to anyone about the desired store, which made him an easy target for being taken advantage of. The ending came at the right moment and did not go on too long or end too quickly. It gave the audience enough time to get to know the characters and identify with them, but did not drag on to the point that the audience was bored. It provided enough detail about the life and times of the family that the audience cared what happened in the end.
The theme of the play is that family is more important than money and that security by way of a house can provide a better future than a get rich quick plan could ever do.
The moral of the story is obviously the fact that family comes first. The theme is developed by the eventual coming together of the family members in the new house.
The history of the author is one of sadness. She was a rising star who had gotten her first Broadway production with this play and then was struck down in her prime, at the age of…