This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

A Comparison Of The American Dream In Death Of A Salesman And A Raisin In The Sun

1533 words - 6 pages

The Value of a Dream in Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun

 
   How does one value a dream? This question arises while reading both Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun.  Although the two novels are very different, the stories and characters share many likenesses.  Death of a Salesman concerns a family’s difficulty in dealing with unrealized dreams.  A Raisin in the Sun focuses on a family's struggle to agree on a common dream.  In each of these stories, there are conflicts between the dreams that each character is struggling to attain.

 

            In Death of a Salesman, Happy and Biff are uncertain of where they are in life, and only reach out for the simple, already-tangible things at hand. Biff: "I don't know- what I'm supposed to want", and Happy:  "I don't know what the hell I'm working for", means that they bothh feel they havn't progressed.  All they want to do is work with their hands, with their shirts off and their backs to the sun.  Neither Biff nor Happy have struggled to get to where they feel secure, otherwise they would not be admitting such things.  And both have also dismissed the truth; Biff saying "Never mind. Just don't llay it all to me" and Happy saying, "Just don't lay it all at me feet."  Happy also wants to believe that everything is alright; Happy is fine, so long as he can make himself believe that everyone around him is fine.  Towards the end of the story, when Biff accuses everyone of lying, Happy exclaims, "We always told the truth!" but in the beginning, he admitted to Biff, "See, Biff, everybody around me is so false that I'm constantly lowering my ideals."

 

            Willy Loman wants his dreams so badly that, in his mind, he made them come true.  Willy Loman does not have much, but of what he does have, he fears is falling apart.  One of Willy Loman's biggest fears is everything falling apart.  He wants to be successful so that his family will never worry.  He works hard, but things go downhill despite his hard work; he is sixty years old and "tired to death".  Willy Loman is an untrustworthy character, because he is half-senile.  In the same conversation with his wife Linda, he proclaims, "Biff is a lazy bum!" then says, "There's one thing about Biff- he's not lazy."  But his craziness says more than that of any other sane character in the story.  Willy Loman wants the American dream, and says to Biff, "Be liked and you will never want.  If you're well-liked, that's all you need."  He wants his boys to make something great of themselves, possibly which would redeem them for abandoning Willy, which haunts him daily.  Willy Loman only wants to die the death of a salesman, in his slippers.

 

            Symbolism played a key role in Death of a Salesman.  Willy's brother, Ben, symbolizes a dissolved dream that Willy constantly looks back to, remembering the opportunity he had to come out of the African jungle with something...

Find Another Essay On A Comparison of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman and A Raisin in the Sun

The American Dream Conspiracy in Death of a Salesman

1747 words - 7 pages Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman tells the story of the failure of a salesman, Willy Loman. Although not all Americans are salesmen, most of us share Willy’s dream of success. We are all partners in the American Dream and parties to the conspiracy of silence surrounding the fact that failures must outnumber successes.(Samantaray, 2014) Miller amalgamates the archetypal tragic hero with the mundane American citizen. The result is the anti

The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

819 words - 3 pages The American Dream in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman The American Dream ~ for many, it is the unlocked door that leads to happiness.  It is the hope for a future filled with success and fortune.  Although most people have a similar idea of what the American Dream is, they may have different ideas on how to achieve it.  For Willy Loman, a struggling salesman, achieving this dream would be a major accomplishment.  Unfortunately, his

The American Dream in Death of a Salesman

2454 words - 10 pages 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, because ultimately this dream wasn´t going to succeed as lots of people wished. 'Death of a Salesman´ written in 1949, is a moving destruction of the whole myth. To be hard working, honest and have ambition were the ways of the American Dream. This lead onto success

American Dream in "Death of a Salesman"

5507 words - 22 pages to suicide, of an aging traveling salesman, who comes to realize that he had based his life on false ideals" (Martine 23). The American dream and its delusions are everywhere" (Helterman 92) throughout the play, pointing to the fact that reality pales in comparison to one's hopes and dreams.(qtd. in Collins) So, his Death of a Salesman, in which characters have lost at trying to live the American Dream, can be viewed as a direct commentary about

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry: A Criticism of the American Dream Analytical Paper

1428 words - 6 pages , freedom, justice, and more fruitful future prospects for the coming generations. In A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, she shows that achieving one’s dream, especially the American Dream can be difficult, through characterization, conflict, and setting. The conception of the American Dream has since long been distorted and the principals have undergone, as John E. Nestler depicts it in his essay “The American Dream”, “a metamorphosis” from

A Comparison of the Dream in Death of a Salesman, Ellis Island, and America and I

1451 words - 6 pages The Dream in Death of a Salesman, Ellis Island, and America and I       The American dream is as varied as the people who populate America. The play The Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, the poem "Ellis Island" by Joseph Bruchac, and the poem "America and I" by Anzia Yezierska illustrate different perspectives of the American dream. All three authors show some lines of thought on what the freedom inherent in the American dream

The American Dream & A Raisin in the Sun

940 words - 4 pages A Raisin in the Sun is prefaced by the poem A Dream Deferred which talks about what may happen when a person puts off or delays the achievement of a dream and the effects of putting off the dream. Throughout the play we see the effects on the characters of their dreams and how they are put off or put through trials and tribulations to be able to reach their dream. In the Younger family each member has a goal, but when you simplify their goals

Idea of the "American Dream" in A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

901 words - 4 pages Since the 1930's, the idea that a family, a home, opportunity, money and security being available to everyone in the US has been the "American Dream." Unfortunately, in reality this dream isn't really available to everyone, not then and not now. The idea of an "American Dream" is examined throughout Lorraine Hansberry's play, A Raisin in the Sun as the theme of the play surrounds itself around Langston Hughes' poem, "Harlem" where Hughes

The American Dream In John Steinbeck's novel "Of Mice and Men" and Lorraine Hansberry's play "A Raisin in the Sun"

2472 words - 10 pages overcome. Even though George knew of the improbability of achieving his dream, he still pushed forward. (P94) "- I think I knowed from the very first. I think I knowed we'd never do her. He usta like to hear about it so much I got to thinking we would.""A Raisin in the Sun" conveys a far different message from Of Mice and Men. The play opens as the Younger family anxiously awaits the arrival of a check. It is the life insurance check of ten

Analysis of Harlem (A Dream Deferred) and A Raisin in the Sun

1210 words - 5 pages everything to do with the pain each character goes thru after losing control of the plans they had in mind. I will attempt to break down each character’s dream and how they each fell apart as the play went on. The first character we meet is Ruth Younger. Ruth is a hardworking mother who has had a thought life up until this point. The Writer opens up describing her by saying that “she was a pretty girl, even exceptionally so, but now it is

The American Dream in "Death of a Salesman" and "Seize the Day"

1174 words - 5 pages portrayal of the individuals who have supposedly reached the nirvana of the “American Dream”. In the play “Death of a Salesman” Willy thinks that if a person has the right personality and he is well liked it’s easy to achieve success rather than hard work and innovation. This is seen when Willy is only concerned how Biff’s class mates reacted to his joke of the teachers lisp. Willy’s dream of success for his son Biff who was very well liked in

Similar Essays

Comparing The American Dream In Miller's Death Of A Salesman And Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun

3570 words - 14 pages Comparing the Destructive American Dream in Miller's Death of a Salesman and Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun America is a land of dreamers. From the time of the Spanish conquistadors coming in search of gold and everlasting youth, there has been a mystique about the land to which Amerigo Vespucci gave his name. To the Puritans who settled its northeast, it was to be the site of their “city upon a hill” (Winthrop 2). They gave their

The American Dream In Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun And Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

2733 words - 11 pages possessions are what it takes to be happy. The American dream is to be rich. A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry, and Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, both address the American Dream. Both plays discuss the desire for wealth and how the desire may lead to one’s downfall. However, each play is very different in addressing issues such as race and feminism. A Raisin in the Sun and Death of a Salesman have the same

"Death Of A Salesman" And "Raisin In The Sun"

2216 words - 9 pages 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

Comparing The Plays, A Raisin In The Sun And Death Of A Salesman

987 words - 4 pages In history there have been an uncountable amount of plays made, but there have only been two that fully captured the American dream like A Raisin in the sun and Death of a Salesman. In both plays the protagonist is trying to achieve the American dream, but it is near impossible when neither of them has the respect of their superiors or the people around them. It is amazing that two different plays can so closely parallel each other when they