Anda di halaman 1dari 5

Mitchell, Camryn M.

English Honors I


January 10, 2018

Is There Mental Illness In A Raisin In The Sun?

What is ODD? What does ODD mean? It stands for Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

According to and “it is a disorder marked by disrespect,

defiance, aggression and argumentative, impulsive behavior”. Walter Lee Younger of ​A Raisin

In The Sun​ has ODD and it is clearly shown in his angry,impulsive and defiant actions towards


Walter is an impulsive and defiant person. This can be seen in his actions and heard in

his speech. Both being impulsive and defiant are traits marked by disrespect, disobedience and

giving little thought to actions or speech. One of the most outstanding examples of Walter

demonstrating these behaviors is in the opening act of ​A Raisin In The Sun. ​Walter's son Travis

asked his mother for fifty cents. Walter and his family are struggling and have no money to

spare. Ruth, Walters wife, realizes this and she tells their son no. Travis complains to his father,

saying “she won’t give me fifty cents.” He speaks to his wife briefly and she holds her position,

she would not give Travis the money. Walter goes into his pocket and hands his son money all

the while, laughing in his wife’s face. This is clear proof that Walter is extremely defiant and

disrespectful. The opposition came into play when he directly went against his wife word.

Walter displayed impulsive behavior a little later in the text. When speaking to people, Walter

often makes rude impulsive comments. Because of this, it was no surprise when he made a very
degrading comment to his wife. He says“First thing a man ought to not to make love to

no colored woman.” He went on further saying “You all some eeeevil people.” No doubt Walter

gave no thought to what he was going to say before he said it. Had he, he might have realized it

was an inappropriate statement. Walter’s impulse issues manifest themselves in his speech. He

says everything that comes to his mind. When doing so he takes no one's feelings into

consideration. To sum it up, Walter has displayed all the symptoms of ODD. He has been defiant

and disrespectful. He has also degraded his wife by making rude comments about her and

generalizing black women.Walter has acted on emotion and impulse rather than thinking actions


Walter’s defiant and oppositional actions are similar to those of a real life man with

ODD. Take for example, the story of a twenty-five year old man(Back From the Brink: Two

Families’ Stories of Oppositional defiant disorder, BFB). Jared Smith was diagnosed with ODD

when he was eleven years old (BFB). Smith has spent his life opposing any authority like his

parents and teachers (BFB). When he was a child he was argumentative, aggressive, rebellious

and vindictive (BFB). He says he finds himself getting into many heated arguments every day

over “trivial” things (BFB). He often regrets the things he says later on. Smith admits that he

often say things he wishes he could take back (BFB). The main recipients of his argumentative

nature are his mother and girlfriend (BFB). Comparing Walter and Jared, the similarities that can

be seen are undeniable.The two men get into to heated arguments often. Many of the issues they

argue about are minor. Their defiant behavior is usually directed towards those closest to them.

So, after examining the story of a man living with ODD who exhibits the same behaviors as

Walter, How can one deny that Walter has ODD? Jared Smith gets angry, impulsive, and defiant
especially around those he loves. Walter Lee Younger gets angry, impulsive and defiant often

when he is around loved ones.

Walter creates drama and confrontation with everyone. One instance of this behavior

happens early in the story. Walter sees his sister shortly after she woke up and said “You horrible

looking chic at this hour.” Hansberry, the author of ​A Raisin In the Sun,​ Is very descriptive in her

stage directions and not one time does it say that Walter is joking when he is making rude

comments. Because of this the reader is left to assume Walters tone. Judging by his history of

speech there is no reason to believe Walter was kidding around. About have way through the

story is upset with his mom and takes his frustration with her out his wife referring to her as his

“biggest mistake.” Walters wife was not involved in the argument he was apart and he drug her

into it and then insulted her. This is yet another time he escalated conflict in his home. Once,

while Beneatha had her boyfriend George over, Walter invaded their conversation and insulted

him. He approached George asking “Why all you college boys wear them faggoty looking white

shoes?”. Walter can not control his mouth he went to the extreme of not offending and

stereotyping his sisters guest but also stereotyping homosexuals. Think about it, He insulted his

wife during and argument with his mother. Walter rather insult his sister as soon as she wakes up

rather than greet her with good morning. Walter even fights with those outside of his family. No

one should be able to argue with the fact that Walter has no filter.

Some may feel that Walter doesn't show extraordinary signs of defiance, impulse or

anger. Something they did not consider is the constant presence of Walters negative behavior and

speech. How many make disrespectful comments, mocking or heated arguments can be a part of

a person's everyday conversation before someone realizes it is not normal. Everyone gets upset.
Even the most passive and mild tempered people lash out and get involved in conflict. So does

this mean everyone has ODD? Certainly not. Getting into arguments, losing one's temper or

getting aggressive and angry, alone are not indicators of ODD. What proves Oppositional

Defiant Disorder is the frequency and intensity of these behaviors. Walter gets into multiple

arguments in every scene he is in. That is at least twelve arguments and disputes throughout the

play. Take into consideration that the plot of the story only spans for a short period of time.

Most don't get involved in this many arguments or have this amount of outburst in short periods

of time. Once again, everyone loses their temper, get angry and display negative or obnoxious

behaviors sometimes. That does not mean that one has ODD. What does prove that someone has

ODD is the rate of which this happens and how far will take it over matters that can be handle


Walter has argued with most of the characters in the story. Walter has harbor hostility and

resentment towards his sister Bennie and mother. He has acted on impulse and made rash

decisions and rude comments as a result. Walter Lee Younger has ODD. This is evident in his

angry, impulsive and defiant actions towards others.

Work cited:

~Lorraine Hansberry, ​A Raisin In The Sun​, Chicago.1959

“Oppositional Defiant Disorder” ​Smarter Parenting ​Sorrenson Legacy Foundation “n.d.”


“US Inflation Calculator” ​Inflation Calculator ​RITANI “n.d.” 1/10/2018

Signs and Symptoms of Oppositinal Defiant Disorder” ​Valley ​The Jason Foundation

“n.d.” 1/10/2018

“Back From the Brink: Two Families’ Stories of Oppositional Defiant Disorder”​ Attitude

Inside the ADHD Mind ​New Hope Media “n.d.” 1/10/2018

“Oppositional Defiant Disorder Symptoms” ​PsychCentral ​Victoza 8/24/17 1/10/2018