A Raisin in the Sun
How we cite our quotes:
MAMA (Still staring at [the check])
Now don’t act silly…We ain’t never been no people to act silly ‘bout no money –
We ain’t never had none before – OPEN IT! (1.2.165-6)
The arrival of Walter's life insurance check is a momentous event. The Younger family is beside itself with the possible doors that money opens.
MAMA (She holds the check away from her, still looking at it. Slowly her face sobers into a mask of unhappiness)
Ten thousand dollars. (She hands it to RUTH) Put it away somewhere, Ruth. (She does not look at RUTH; her eyes seem to be seeing something somewhere very far off) Ten thousand dollars they give you. Ten thousand dollars. (1.2.169)
After Lena receives the much-anticipated money, she realizes there is no price someone can put on a lost loved one. It seems she would remain in total poverty if she could have her husband back.
WALTER (Picks up the check)
Do you know what this money means to me? Do you know what this money can do for us? (Puts it back) Mama – Mama – I want so many things… (1.2.220)
Walter feels limited from opportunities because of the family's lack of money. The poverty that he's been trapped in for his entire life is starting to drive him crazy.