Meant to post this last week but was absolutely swamped. I’ve always enjoyed the film and play—A Raisin in the Sun. It’s so powerful particularly this scene and I wanted to share. For me, this is a testament to a mother’s undying love and a testament to what a parent tries to instill in their children. Even after all Walter put his wife, mom, and sister through Lena knows there’s something left to love and Walter Lee needs that love now more than ever.
For those not familiar with A Raisin in the Sun here’s a quick overview.
To put this scene in context. The family has come into some insurance money ($10,000). Lena (the mother) bought a house in a all-white neighborhood. However, the neighborhood will do all they can to keep a black family out—even paying more than what the Younger’s paid for the new home. Walter Lee is considering this offer. “Ain’t nobody in my family never let nobody pay ‘em no money that was a way of telling us we wasn’t fit to walk the earth,” says Lena who along with her daughter and daughter-in-law are in dismay over what Walter Lee may do. Walter Lee goes to rest and the following dialogue takes place:
—excerpt from Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun
“Beneatha: Love him? There is nothing left to love.
Mama: There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing. (Looking at her) Have you cried for that boy today? I don’t mean for yourself and for the family ’cause we lost the money. I mean for him: what he been through and what it done to him. Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learning – because that ain’t the time at all. It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in hisself ’cause the world done whipped him so! when you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is.”