Imagine for a moment it is your big sisters 17th birthday. She is out withher friends celebrating, and your parents are at the mall with your littlebrother doing some last minute birthday shopping, leaving you home alone.
Youthen hear a knock on the front door. When you get there, nobody is there, justan anonymous note taped to the door that says Happy Birthday, along with ahundred dollar bill. Youve been dying to get that new video game, and yoursister will never know. You are faced with a tough decision, but not a veryuncommon one. In both Fences, by August Wilson, and A Raisin in the Sun, byLorraine Hansbury, tough decisions have to be made about getting money fromsomeone elses misfortune. But moneys that important right? The role ofmoney in peoples day-to-day lives is quite amazing when its put intoperspective.Order now
The primary reason most Americans get up in the morning is so theycan go out and make money. Money buys things; money influences people; moneykeeps us alive; money makes us happy. Or does it? In Fences, by August Wilson,the Maxtons get their money when Gabes head is shot in the war. In A Raisinin the Sun, by Lorraine Hansbury, the Younger family gets their money whenWalters father dies. But do these things make them happy? Of course not. Theyare coming upon money from someone elses misfortune, someone they love.
Themoney may have made life easier for a brief moment in time, but the novelty soonwears off and reality soon returns. The interesting thing about these two novelsis that the money received by both the Maxtons and the Youngers did exactly theopposite of what everyone expected it to do. It eventually made problems forboth of the families. In Fences, the Maxtons used Gabes money to buy a houseand even though it seemed like a good idea, when Gabe moved out, it caused agreat deal of guilt in the family, but especially in Troy.
He just couldntget over how he used someone he loved so much, and they didnt even knowit. In A Raisin in the Sun, the Youngers also buy a house with the money thelife insurance gave them. But their problem are caused not by guilt, but by twoentirely different emotions. One is the feeling of being the object of racism intheir new community when the “Welcoming Committee” tries to get them not tomove in. The other one is the combination of defeat, loss, anger, and self-pityfelt by the whole family when Walter loses the rest of the money and the Youngerfamily is left with nothing but a house in a neighborhood where they arentwanted.
And money is a good thing? Answering that question is a simple one. Yes,money is a good thing when it is dealt with in the right way. Both the Maxtonsand the Youngers had trouble in how they handled their money and that led tomany of the problems they both faced. Money is what makes the “world goround” in our modern society, but its not a way to measure success, love,or happiness. As Bob Dylan put it, “Whats money? A man is a success if hegets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in-between does what hewants to do.
” All money really is, is a way to buy material things. Sure,its important, but not close to how important the people we love are. Theyare where real happiness comes from, not from little green pieces of paper. Happiness is not having what you want, its wanting what you have. .