The American Dream (Discussion Of The Problems That Arose When Trying To Reach The American Dream, Based On Three Films, "Citizen Kane", "Grapes Of Wrath", And "Death Of A Salesman.")

2912 words - 12 pages

If you are an American and if you have a family, a house and a car, a sufficient job with a good salary, you can be said to have reached the American Dream. The idea of the American Dream became popular when millions of people immigrated to America in search of a better life because America was the ideal image of success. At that time, a better life could mean a decent place to live, maybe some livestock and a piece of land to cultivate. The meaning of the American Dream means even now somewhat the same; have valuable possessions, a social life with high standards and respectful image of ones self. This came about through honesty, hard work, and determination, that anyone who was willing to make the journey could achieve the American Dream.However, in time and after events in American history, the American Dream slowly drifted from the idea of spiritual and personal success, to personal success being something to strive for to show a hierarchy in social class. The more material possessions one has, the happier one would be is the corruption of the American Dream, and that is the problem with the American Dream today. People have a roof over their heads, a car, food, and a family, but to some that just isn't enough, and the pursuit for more possessions in turn makes them feel more fulfilled. These people searching for superficial things in the American Dream do not truly achieve it.This paper will discuss the ownership of the American Dream and the aspect of how the search for something better leads to the intangible and the never ending "pursuit of happiness." The readings of Thomas Jefferson's "Declaration of Independence," and excerpts from "The Live of Working Men and Women," as well as the films, The Grapes of Wrath, and Citizen Kane, Death of a Salesman will be used to evaluate problems with the American Dream.The American Dream originated in the early days of the American settlement, with the mostly poor immigrants searching for opportunities of freedom. America represented a new life of freedom, holding a promise of spiritual and material happiness. It was filled with much opportunity for those coming from oppression and communism over seas.This idea of freedom for all and equality was first manifested in the Declaration of Independence, which describes an attitude of hope. The Declaration of Independence states that "all man are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness." (Jefferson, 131) However, Jefferson's statement here is just merely an expression of a dream. It assumes fulfillment of wishes that can probably never be fully realized in actuality. The American Dream describes an approach of faith and hope of fulfilling human wishes and desires. The ideals are intangible and for one to achieve such, one must not look at the outcome, but the journey on how one gets there is what's important.Through the course of change in the world, either through...

Find Another Essay On The American Dream (discussion of the problems that arose when trying to reach the American Dream, based on three films, "Citizen Kane", "Grapes of Wrath", and "Death of a Salesman.")

Citizen Kane: Redefining the American Dream

985 words - 4 pages In the classic film Citizen Kane, director Orson Welles introduces the idea of the American Dream: a life of success and wealth. One's formal expectation of this theme would be that of a perfect family life, large amounts of money, a successful career and ultimately, happiness. Welles redefined these expectations through the mise-en-scene of the first flashback in which Kane's parents bequeath him to Thatcher.The scene opens with Charles Kane's

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 Death of a Salesman

2454 words - 10 pages "The American Dream" is based on the 'Declaration of Independence´: 'We believe that all men are born with these inalienable rights - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.´ (Thomas Jefferson, 1776). This 'dream´ consists of a genuine and determined belief that in America, all things are possible to all men, regardless of birth or wealth; you work hard enough you will achieve anything. However, Miller says

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

Failures of the American Dream in The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath

1290 words - 5 pages is never exactly the same again, and he actually regresses in his relationships from that point on. The Joads have a parallel experience except it is death and absence that pushes them away from the American Dream. When Ma says it “Use' ta be the family was fust. It ain't so now. It's anybody," she means everyone has put themselves first, compared to before they left when they functioned as a family. The deterioration of the family’s bonds is the

The American Dream as Shown in The Novels The Grapes of Wrath and The Great Gatsby

572 words - 2 pages "founded securely on a fairy's wing" (Fitzgerald 100).Both books also ended in references of the American Dream. The great Gatsby ended on a note of going back to the past, a past when the simplicity of the Dream was not blemished with the mounting materialism of society. The Grapes of Wrath ended on a note of hope for the future. In desperate circumstances and a hopeless situation altruism and optimism were still present.The American dream is just that, a dream, concealing but not entirely suppressing the brutality of reality.John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath F Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby

The American Dream In The Great Gatsby and The Grapes of Wrath

974 words - 4 pages makes the weakest link plummet. The true American Dream can be chased, but exists if and only if the one trying for it can accept failure and move on. This continually presents itself in John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Taking place in the height of the Great Depression, Grapes depicts the Joads, a family with no wealth that loses everything due to foreclosure and repossession. This family

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

Death Of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. Analysis of how it relates to the American Dream.

1461 words - 6 pages only thing you got in the world is what you can sell. And the funny thing is that you are a salesman, and you don't even know that" (1997).Throughout Willy's life he has picked the wrong definition of the "American Dream". Although, the "American Dream" is not truly definable because everyone has a different definition based on what his or her individual definition of success, Willy has believed his entire life that success is measured by the

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

The American Dream in Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby

1295 words - 5 pages is a mere illusion, focusing on money, power and how to reach it; portraying materialism and wealth as the “American Dream” and self-actualization, as portrayed by Miller in Death of a Salesman. The American Dream came to mean fame and fortune, instead of a promise that shaped a nation. (David Kamp, Vanity Fair) This so- called dream has done incredible damage to our companies and corporations in America. As economic success and

Similar Essays

Elusive American Dream In Miller's Death Of A Salesman And Steinbeck's Grapes Of Wrath

1151 words - 5 pages ideas, for they illustrate the repercussions of the belief in the American Dream and what happens when the dream proves elusive. In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman’s illusions are based on his belief in individual success, but his ideas about how to attain that success are impractical and unrealistic. Willy’s comment in Act I that “some people accomplish something” (15) is ironic because he yearns for this to be true for himself and Biff

The American Dream And Death Of A Salesman

987 words - 4 pages the idea that all people are just concerned with making easy money. In Miller’s play, some characters, such as Willy (from early on in the play) and Bernard genuinely work hard to try to make an honest living. Works Cited Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 1949. Print. Warshauer, Matthew. “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Changing Conceptions of the American Dream”. American Studies Resourced Center 13 February 2003: n. pag. Web. 26 May 2011. .

Comparing Death Of A Salesman And The American Dream

1223 words - 5 pages Comparing Death of a Salesman and The American Dream     In Arthur Miller’s Death of A Salesman and Edward Albee’s The American Dream, Willy Lowman and Mommy possess the trait of superficiality. Their priorities are to look good and be liked, and this contributes to their misguided paths to reach success. This attribute is one of many societal criticisms pointed out by both authors. Arthur Miller criticizes society for perceiving success

Death Of A Salesman The Pursuit Of The American Dream

1218 words - 5 pages The Pursuit of the 'American Dream'Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is a tragic play about Willy Loman's pursuit of the 'American Dream.' This dream is the dream of wealth and success. The author's main character, Willy Loman, is a traveling salesman that spends his whole lifetime trying to find success based on looks and popularity. Willy Loman is a product of this ever-increasing society. This society is obsessed with measuring success by