How does 'The Death of a Salesman' by Arthur Miller and 'Better Days' by Bruce Springsteen position us to see the American Dream?

Essay by mood_changerHigh School, 10th grade September 2006

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"Death of a Salesman" by author Arthur Miller and "Better Days" by singer Bruce Springsteen take slightly different stances on the American Dream. Arthur Miller both promotes and criticises the American Dream and allows the audience to make up their own minds. Bruce Springsteen presents a more negative picture of the American Dream, but of course, all impressions are in the eye of the beholder.

The character of Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" is one of who aspires to be successful, well liked and respected. However, his actions and thoughts show him to a failure, a person who suffers from delusions and has made up a world in which he lives his fairytale life.

He tries to portray himself as liked by everyone, successful at his job as a salesman and a good role model to his sons. Willy boasts of his high sales figures but in reality is instead fired from his low paying job.

He gets by with loans from his only real friend, Charley and pretends to his wife, Linda that the money is what he earned and reassures her that he will get paid more.

Throughout the book, Willy seems to be losing his grip on reality and constantly slips off into his dream world talking to dead people and experiencing events that had already happened. In his delusional state of mind, he sees himself as a successful man with two successful sons. Willy impresses upon his children the importance of being well liked and therefore the prospects it can bring them.

Loman's idea of the American Dream is attaining immeasurable wealth with no apparent effort as evidenced by his constant fantasies about conversations with his older brother Ben, who walked into the jungle "and when he walked out he was rich!" These conversations...