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Essay about Failure of the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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Failure of the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

 
In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller "forces the reader to deal with the failure of the American Dream"(Field 2367) and the effect it had on the Loman family, how it ruins the life of Willy, and destroys Biff’s life as well.  By focusing on serious problems that the reader can relate to, Arthur Miller connects us with the characters facing these life-altering crisis. 

            To Willy Loman success is defined as being a well-liked businessman.  As Willy grew up, his American Dream was to be able to “pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, make his living.” (81) This is Willie’s dream, to be respected and so well known that at such an age he would still be able to provide for his family.  Willy was never a good salesman, because his heart was never in it.  The only time Willy put his heart into anything is when he worked with his hands, and Biff comes to realize this.  “There’s more of him in that front stoop than in all the sales he ever made.” (138) Willy never comes to the realization that it was not being a salesman that he cared about, but rather being well known.  The American ideal of success as Willy sees it is being above a blue collared worker. This idea, however untrue, has been burne...


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...row for both Willy and Biff Loman.  With Willy it is heart breaking to see this sixty year old man finally come to the realization that he is really not who he thought he was.  In addition to that to have this fact pointed out by his son.  Unlike Willy Biff finds out who he is, and that the American Dream is not for everyone.

Work Cited

Field, B.S. “Death of a Salesman” Twentieth Century Literature. January, 1972. 19-24. Rpt. in World Literary Criticism. Ed. Frank Magill. “Arthur Miller” Detroit: Gale Research, 1992. 2366-2368.

Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman" in Literature, Reading, Reacting, Writing, Compact Fourth Edition. Harcourt, Inc. 2000.


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