"Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in a world they've been given rather than to explore the power they have to change it."
Dreams Leading to Denial.
Every birthday people wish for my dreams to come true. Do dreams ever come true? How about people who dreamed of becoming doctors, business owners, baseball players, or firefighters, but life forced them to go to a war to serve their country and when they came back they could not take those positions in a society or they just never returned. Maybe these people fought for their dreams and ideals, but life was unfair to them and they failed.
The main characters of the books Born on the Forth of July, Ron Kovic, and Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman, had many dreams and some of them were similar. But did they ever come true?
These books show us two heroic persons, who were both tragic heroes.
They had different life stories and lived in different times, however they had a few things in common. Willy Loman always worked hard to put food on the table for his family. He dedicated his life to his job. Thirty-six years were spent earning respect and success doing his work.
Ron Kovic, a handicapped veteran of the Vietnam War, thought that nation would stay behind their soldiers, but when he came back his opinion was not appreciated. He tried to tell the nation how senseless the war was but nobody listened. But what did Ron Kovic and Willy Loman do to be remembered, loved and of course respected?
When Ron Kovic was young he fantasized of himself as a strong guy and it was important for him to have many activities. He joined the high-school wrestling team and dreamed of being the best. The trainer taught them a very important principle: " Play fair but play to win" (Ron Kovic, 50). Later he started thinking of baseball, swinging a baseball bat in front of the mirror. He daydreamed of becoming a hero and playing for the New York Yankees. He wanted his body and his life to be perfect. He called himself a beautiful person and he was also saying that, "I was a natural athlete, and there wasn't much of anything I wasn't able to do with my body back then. I was proud and confident and there was always a tremendous energetic bounce in the way I moved". (55) And his body was perfect till a certain period of time.
Patriotism was of great importance for him. He believed that he had to do everything to help the United States of America, so he chose to join the marines " and serve our country like the young president had asked us to do" (61). Ron Kovic thought that he had whole life ahead of him.
Unhappily just one bullet changed his days. His body and his dreams got paralyzed in one second. He returned from the war heartbroken, confused and, sorry to say, hated. He expected to receive a hero's welcome, but welcome was not with open arms. He always wanted to be a hero, but society showed him the opposite. He was not integrated and it was not easy to find people he could trust. I can imagine how cruel the war can be and what holes it can leave in the hearts of people. The real fight for him was the fight after the war when nobody understood.
As well as Ron Kovic, Willy Loman never stopped fighting for respect. Willy Loman worked all his life for a company selling products. His wife and friend Charley always talked about him as a great person and great salesman. Charley described him:
" He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshineÃ¢ÂÂ¦ A salesman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory" (Miller, 138).
Willy Loman loved working with his hands; he planted a small garden so that he could leave something tangible behind. He also installed a ceiling in the living room. However, he denied himself of the pleasure of using his hands to make a living because of his dreams to be like Dave Singleman and to be so loved that all came to his funeral. I think he should have chosen a career based on his skills, not on the opinions of others.
Sorry to say, Willy Loman never gained the rightful position in his society. His dreams of opening a business, being a successful businessman and many others became nearly impossible when, at the age of sixty-two, Willy Loman got fired. After that happened the only thing he could dream of is his sons going into business for themselves, so he decided that only through suicide could he leave them some money. The author doesn't tell us if Loman's family received some money or not, but it feels like Willy was wrong about insurance paying off as well as his funeral. Willy Loman dreams never came trueÃ¢ÂÂ¦
Ron Kovic and Willy Loman both wanted to live good, successful lives, but the world was not fair to them. They both tried to change it, but it did not happen. They sacrificed everything they had for it, but it was never appreciated.
These questions, why childhood dreams of Ron Kovic and all life dreams of Willy Loman never came true, would never leave my head. I would be always thinking about them and many other people, who had to suffer all their existence.
Kovic, Ron. Born on the Forth of July. McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1976
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Viking Penguin Inc. 1949