"Death of a Salesman" and "Raisin in the Sun"

Essay by 10171988High School, 12th gradeA, May 2006

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Since the establishment of the Thirteen Colonies, Americans developed an unordinary dream. It was a vision held by many who believed that through hard work, courage, and determination they could achieve a better life for themselves; this was the American Dream. Unfortunately, the hard hits from the Great Depression and the two World Wars brought the need for immediate economic prosperity. It diverted the people of the 1950s from adhering to the traditional work ethic, and pinned their hopes on what they perceive as "easy" money. Willy Lomen, from Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, and Walter Lee Younger, from Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun, were portrayed as victims of their quest for the American Dream. Their pursuit for the illusion of the Dream rather than the reality and their unwillingness to give in due to their pride resulted in devastating failures and the findings of their true identity.

Willy and Walter's illusion of the American Dream could still be seen today as addicted gamblers spend their time in casinos.

Although both Willy Lomen and Walter Lee Younger were victimized due to their false interpretation of the American Dream, the ways the characters went about in trying to fulfill their twisted Dream was different; Willy, on one hand, focused on being well liked as the key to obtaining the American Dream, while Walter believed in the idea of a scheme. Arthur Miller, playwright of the Death of a Salesman, described Willy Lomen as a traveling salesman who continued to encounter frustration and failure as he struggled to accomplish his idea of the American Dream. Although Willy had good intentions, his tragic flaw was that he focused only on the appearance of the American Dream and never on the reality, the work ethic, on how to achieve...