The "Falseness" of the American Dream in Arthur Miller's Writing

Essay by d0rkablex2High School, 11th gradeA-, November 2007

download word file, 13 pages 5.0

Many associate the American Dream with the years following World War II. One sees the 1950's as movies and books portray them; a happy-go-lucky time where every household has two-point-five children, a dog, and a picket fence around their house. Many families strive and work all their lives to fulfill their American Dream, but when reality sets in, they end up failing and their American Dream turns into a nightmare: the American Reality. The origins of the American Dream seem to have been rooted in the pioneering mentality of the 18th and 19th century immigrants, most of who came to America because of a promise of a new and better life. In particular, one came to America to own land of their own. But land 'ran out' and cities developed and financial situations changed quickly, meaning that this 'American Dream' changed from being a potential reality, into being a dream, like the name implies.

Most of Miller's plays are directly or indirectly about the American Dream, conveying his opinion that ultimately this dream was not going to succeed as many wished it would. Arthur Miller's plays All My Sons and A View from the Bridge use situations to show the "falseness" and disintegration of the American Dream in post-World War II times.

The disintegration of the American Dream after World War II is portrayed by Arthur Miller in A View from the Bridge when families turn on each other to protect themselves. Eddie, like Joe in All My Sons, believes that achieving the American Dreamis being successful financial and protecting one's family. Eddie believes that his wife's cousins who are living with him, illegal immigrant from Italy, are a threat to his niece,Catherine, and attempts to remove them from his life. The turning point of the play is when Eddie...