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Popularity, Physical Appearance, and the American Dream in Death of a Salesman

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For many, the “American Dream” is the hope for a future filled with success and fortune.  Although many may share the idea of the American Dream, each person has a different perception of what is necessary to achieve this goal.  Willy Loman, the lead character of Miller’s play, Death of a Salesman, believes that popularity and physical appearance are the keys that unlock the door to the “American Dream”.

            We are first introduced to the importance of popularity and physical appearance when Willy is speaking to his wife, Linda, about their son Biff.  “Biff Loman is lost,” says Willy.  “In the greatest country in the world, a young man with such personal attractiveness gets lost.”  In this quote, not only is Willy confused about how Biff’s good looks can’t help him get a job, b...


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..., Ben, and the elderly man he encountered in his youth.  

            Willy Loman truly believes that physical appearance and popularity are the keys to success - hard work is not necessary.  Because of Willy’s naive ideas, he is unable to reach his goal of achieving the American Dream.

Work Cited
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Literature. Ed. Sylvan Bates New York: Longman, 1997.


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