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The American Dream: A Conflict Essay Of "Death Of A Salesman" And "All My Sons"

1269 words - 5 pages

"Death of a Salesman" and "All My Sons" are centered around one man trying to attain the American dream. Few will deny that Americans are keenly focused on the quest for money. The American Dream is the belief that through hard work, courage, and willpower one could attain a better life for oneself and family, more often than not through financial wealth. The difficult part is, once attained, the methods and knowledge need to be passed from one generation to the next to assure this dream is maintained. To add to this difficulty, neither son finds their father's knowledge or career inspiring.One of the main differences between "Death of a Salesman" (DOS) and "All My Sons" (AMS) is that the father Joe Keller in AMS has already achieved the financial wealth portion of this American Dream while father Willy Loman in DOS has not. One of the major similarities of these plays is both fathers killed themselves to allow their sons to attain and maintain wealth and prosperity.Willy Loman is a short fused 60 year-old salesman who through his struggle for the American Dream finds himself struggling to carry on in the aggressive consumerist world. Through his struggle to attain this dream, he finds himself visiting the past in his mind and tries to sculpt his sons into his own image of success. By doing so, he tries to prevent his sons from following down his same path of failure in attaining the American Dream. However, this comes with a price: He is trying to drown his sorrows by sniffing gas because he feels responsible for the failure of his son Biff. This is a secret that his wife Linda and son Happy only know. This secret, if not revealed could mean the end of his life.Joe Keller is a 61 year-old man who owns a machine shop. Joe has become a wealthy man; however, his wealth comes with a large price: He was responsible for the death of twenty-one pilots by manufacturing faulty engine parts and selling them to the military. In addition, he made his partner take the fall and get sent to prison while he was working on becoming wealthy for his son Chris. His wife Kate is the only one who has knowledge of this secret; a secret that if not revealed could mean the end of his life.A key struggle that Willy Loman faces is within him. A salesman's success is based on clientèle and unfortunately Willy Loman is washed-up and can't even make it to his destination to sell his products. He explains that he's worn-out and couldn't make it on his trip. He also explains that he only got as far as Yonkers, and doesn't remember the entire details of his trip. After thirty-five long years as a traveling salesman all through New England, Willy Loman is drained and defeated by his lack of achievement and his complicated family life.Similarly, a key struggle that Joe Keller faces is also within himself. To conceal a lie about being responsible for the death of twenty-one men and have a suspicion that you've been figured out must weigh on the mind. Becoming aware of...

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