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The American Dream of Willy Loman Essay

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The American Dream of Willy Loman
The 'American Dream' is a generally held belief that through hard work, perseverance, ingenuity, and courage, that one might find happiness through financial prosperity. Willy Loman is of the belief that it is necessary to be well liked in order to succeed in life. He also appears to lack the ability to express love for anyone in his family. Arthur Miller uses these two aspects to show Willy's skewed version of the American Dream and how it compares to two competing historical American Dreams (Islas).
Willy Loman chose the career of being a traveling salesman, and has reached a point in his life, that of his age, that doesn't allow him to compete successfully any longer. Facing the termination of his job, he tries to examine his past in order to determine his life's value. His oldest son Biff disappoints Willie when he returns home for a visit and he rejects Willie's values and aspirations. Willy, although he doesn't realize it, has already achieved the historical American Dream; that of buying his own house, having a stable job that allows him to pay the bills and live a decent life. However, this isn't adequate enough for him. When Willy was deciding whether or not to go with his brother to look for his father, he met Dave Singleman. Dave was an extremely successful, eighty four year old salesman, to the point that he could now simply go into his hotel room, call the buyers, and make his living in his green velvet slippers. This view of a calm and successful career made Willy reconsider his decision and instead of going to Alaska he chose to be a salesman. Dave represents a sort of father figure to Willy, and so Willy follows the same path in hopes to create the same future and succ...


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...impression that wealth and status are the keys to fulfillment in his life.
Miller uses Willy’s beliefs of success and inability to show his love for his family, to show Willy's flawed view of the American Dream. His lack of understanding life and confusion about the real American Dream make him wrongfully teach his sons in what it means to be successful. Also, his failure is due to never really understanding what it means to succeed. Willy is a salesman, but what he sells is the wrong American Dream.


Works Cited
Islas, Jesica. “Willie Loman and his Mistaken View of the American Dream.” LaGuardia Community College. November 27, 2006. Web. scholars/doc_sp07/eP_sp07/Jesica.Islas/Documents/ENG102/ENG102_Final_Draft
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Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman: Play in Two Acts. New York: Dramatists Play Service, 1980. Print.



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