Hansberry writes, “Now the once loved pattern of the couch upholstery has to fight to show itself from under acres of crocheted doilies and couch covers which have themselves finally come to be more important than the upholstery” (23). Ruth can easily be compared to the couch in her living room as a woman who is overcome by how she feels about the Younger household and living conditions. Over the course of this play, The Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry, Ruth changes from fed up to relieved, content to concerned, and finally from concerned to satisfied.
In the beginning, she is sick of everything, and events change her feelings to be calmer. Near the middle, Ruth goes from feeling content to concerned. Finally, after being concerned, she eventually is satisfied. Near the beginning of the play, Ruth is very fed up with everything, and throughout she becomes more relieved. Hansberry illustrates, “Ruth is about thirty…and disappointment has already begun to hang in her face. In a few years…she will be known among her people as a ‘settled woman’” (24).
This shows how Ruth feels about the conditions they are in, and that she is unhappy with living in a place that is so run down. Hansberry writes, “The glassy-eyed look melts and then she collapses into a fit of heavy sobbing,” (60). She describes Ruth’s thoughts when she finds out that she is pregnant, and living in poor conditions to raise a child. But when the check comes in from insurance, Ruth is somewhat relieved to find out that their conditions may be improving. Once she finds out they are moving into a house, she is relieved and excitedly starts asking Mama about all the details.
At this point, Ruth is able to be seen as more calm about the current events. Throughout the play, Ruth goes from feeling content, or at least comfortable with where they are, to feeling concerned. In the beginning of the play, Ruth is not exactly happy, but she is okay with the conditions they are currently in, and she does not want to bother anyone with the way she feels. Hansberry writes, “Ain’t nothing the matter with me. And don’t keep asking me that this morning” (26).
She does the best she can to keep the family together, and keep everyone as satisfactory as possible. As soon as Ruth finds out that she is pregnant, she is concerned about the way a baby will grow up in the apartment they are currently living in. She particularly gets upset when she finds out the neighborhood children have been chasing a big rat down the street outside their apartment. When she hears the news that the family will be moving to Clybourne Park, a neighborhood of all houses, she thinks about how it could change their relationships and overall moods.
Ruth is very worried when she hears the family may not move. She says, “I’ll work twenty hours a day in all the kitchens in Chicago…we got to MOVE! We got to get OUT OF HERE!! ” (Hansberry 140). At this point Ruth thinks about how the family will be affected if they keep living in the poor conditions they are presently in. At the end of the play, Ruth finally goes from feeling concerned to satisfied. She realizes that since they are moving into a house, rather than a worn apartment, she will be able to raise her child in a better environment.
The entire family’s mood is more positive near the end, and it makes her happy to know there is an opportunity for things to get better. Ruth says, “Well for God’s sake – if the moving men are here – LET’S GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE! ” (Hansberry 149). Ruth is very eager to finally move out of the apartment, and she shows it. Hansberry writes about her as she replies to Mama, “Biting her lip lest her own pride explode in front of Mama” (151). Ruth sees that Mama is, in a way, upset about moving out of the apartment she has lived in so long, and doesn’t wish to upset her.
As they are in the process of moving out, Ruth is overjoyed about leaving, and is finally fulfilled. Ruth’s qualities change due to the events that she is put in throughout The Raisin in the Sun. At different points she is fed up, relieved, content, concerned, and in the end, she is satisfied. Ruth is no longer the upholstery on the couch that is overcome about her feelings for the apartment. She can easily feel what she wants now that her living conditions have vastly improved.