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American Dream

Essay by   •  October 5, 2010  •  Essay  •  1,197 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,780 Views

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American Dream

Willy Loman is a man on a mission. His purpose in life is to achieve a false sense of the "American Dream," but is this what Willy Loman really wants? In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller analyzes the American Dream by portraying to us a few days in the life of a washed up salesman named Willy Loman. The American Dream is a definite goal of many people, meaning something different to everyone. Willy's version is different from most people though; his is based more on being well-liked and achieving monetary successes rather than achieving something that will make him happy. Willy never becomes part of the "American Dream" because he never follows his true dreams and aspirations. He chooses a career that will make him money, but not much, rather than a career that he will enjoy. This is the big mistake that Willy makes in his life and in the end he never overcomes it. Willy never becomes part of the American Dream because he tries to become successful and wealthy rather than spending his life doing something that would bring him and his family joy.

"The American Dream " is a term used to summarize the basic ideals held by the American public. Death of a Salesman focuses on this dream and analyses the dreams significance in the American social order. The basic principal behind the "American Dream" is the belief that if people have an aspiration and they work for it they will achieve their dreams. Furthermore, what lies at the heart of the American Dream is the desire to achieve wealth and power based on one's looks and appearance rather than the value and quality of their work. The American Dream is supposedly what everyone wants to end up with; a family, a house, a car and a well paying job. The problem is that not everyone wants these things. People all over the world desire to immigrate to America because they have heard of this "American Dream" and they want to be a part of a country that makes it seem so easy to make a fortune. The problem with this dream is the theory at the basis of it; the fact that success is not assured, but if people work for their dreams they will eventually achieve them. People can work their entire lives thinking that they are contributing to humanity when in fact they are not. They believe that as long as they put something into civilization, at the end of their lives they will receive something in return. Many times this is simply not the way things work out. If people work their entire lives to achieve something that they can enjoy at the end of their life, they will miss the entire journey in between. "The American Dream" is the basis of American culture although some ideals at the heart of it seem incorrect.

Willy Loman's dream is an adaptation of the American Dream. Willy believes that the only things that are important in life are the successes that he achieved and the amount of friends that he made. This is easily illustrated when Willy says " It's who you know and the smile on your face! ... and that's the wonder, the wonder of this country, that a man can end with diamonds here on the basis of being liked!" (Movie). Success is an important part of the American dream, but Willy puts too much importance on the need to achieve success. He neglects the needs of his family and chooses to remain in the mindset that as long as he is well liked he will achieve success. Although he has lost his ability to sell, Willy continues to believe that as long as he works hard good things will happen to him and his family. Willy's wife Linda realizes this and conveys these thoughts to her sons when she says "He drives seven hundred miles, and when he gets there no one knows him anymore... what goes through a man's mind, driving seven hundred miles home without earning a cent?" (Movie). Willy has delusional ideas about the American Dream. Even in the end Willy still believes that the only thing Biff needs to be successful is some money to start a business.

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