The American Dream of Willy Loman
The 'American Dream' is a generally held belief that through hard work, perseverance, ingenuity, and courage, that one might find happiness through financial prosperity. Willy Loman is of the belief that it is necessary to be well liked in order to succeed in life. He also appears to lack the ability to express love for anyone in his family. Arthur Miller uses these two aspects to show Willy's skewed version of the American Dream and how it compares to two competing historical American Dreams (Islas).
Willy Loman chose the career of being a traveling salesman, and has reached a point in his life, that of his age, that doesn't allow him to compete successfully any longer. Facing the termination of his job, he tries to examine his past in order to determine his life's value. His oldest son Biff disappoints Willie when he returns home for a visit and he rejects Willie's values and aspirations. Willy, although he doesn't realize it, has already achieved the historical American Dream; that of buying his own house, having a stable job that allows him to pay the bills and live a decent life. However, this isn't adequate enough for him. When Willy was deciding whether or not to go with his brother to look for his father, he met Dave Singleman. Dave was an extremely successful, eighty four year old salesman, to the point that he could now simply go into his hotel room, call the buyers, and make his living in his green velvet slippers. This view of a calm and successful career made Willy reconsider his decision and instead of going to Alaska he chose to be a salesman. Dave represents a sort of father figure to Willy, and so Willy follows the same path in hopes to create the same future and success in his life as Dave's. After thirty five years however, he saw he hadn't accomplished the success that he wanted in his career. His career as a salesman gave him and his family the normal success that the average person would want, however, he wanted more. Realizing he hadn't accomplished his dream, he taught his kids in to his way of seeing life, hoping they would follow in his path and achieve the level of success Willy dreamed of (Islas).
At the age of sixty, Willy had built a family and had two sons, Biff and Happy. No matter what happened they would love and respect him to death. He was even lucky enough to find a woman, Linda, who devoted her life to adoring him and treating him in a way nobody else would have. “She more than loves him, she admires him, as though his mercurial nature, his temper, his massive dreams and little cruelties, served her only as sharp reminders of the turbulent longings” (Miller 2). She was the one that helped him throughout life and the one who helped him to reached the historical dream. Linda didn’t work but she was the one responsible for the house chores. His two sons adored him and idolized him while they were children, but when they grew up they began to see the...