How Does 'the Death Of A Salesman' By Arthur Miller And 'better Days' By Bruce Springsteen Position Us To See The American Dream?

1328 words - 5 pages

"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 also show Willy's belief in the American Dream and his idea about how easily accessible it is to him.However, in the book, Charley, who Willy tells his sons conspiratorially, is not well liked, is a highly successful businessman and his son Bernard, who used to be a glasses wearing book worm is now a brilliant lawyer. This different, successful family shows the audience that the American Dream does exist and can be achieved by normal people.Because of Willy's view of the easily attainable Dream, his older son, Biff is 'lost' because of the ideals drummed into him by Willy since he was a child, about how he has to make it in 'two weeks'; he can't start from the bottom, he has to go straight to the top. Biff cannot settle down in one job and just drifts. Willy has passed on the idea of the American Dream to his sons but it is his twisted interpretation of it.His younger son, Happy has a steady job but likes to make out he is much more successful than he actually is. Another product of his father's delusional teachings, Happy tries to stay in Willy's world and likes to keep up the pretense that he has attained the American Dream.Willy Loman and his son give the audience the impression that the American Dream has led them astray. It has given them false hope and...

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