Willy Loman, Jay Gatsby, and the Pursuit of the American Dream
Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, and Arthur Miller, author of Death of a Salesman, both tell the stories of men in the costly pursuit of the American dream. As a result of several conflicts, both external and internal, both characters experience an extinction of the one thing that they have set their sights on.... The American Dream.
Jay Gatsby, a mysterious, young and very wealthy man, fatally chases an impossible dream. Gatsby attempts to rekindle an old relationship and has confidence in repeating the past. Gatsby claims that he is going to “fix everything just the way it was before” (Fitzgerald 117). In a a conversation with Nick, Gatsby discusses how the past can be repeated and how he wants the relationship that he once had with Daisy (Fitzgerald 116). Secondly, Gatsby attempts to exemplify his wealth through fancy cars and stylish clothing. Gatsby shows his clothing to Daisy and informs her that he has a “man in England” who buys his clothes every season (Fitzgerald 97). Illustrating his wealth, Gatsby drives a Rolls Royce that “was a rich cream color, bright with nickel” (Fitzgerald 68). Although Gatsby’s foolish quest of the American dream exemplifies a respectable aspiration, it ends in a tragic death that goes virtually unnoticed. A sharp contrast to the parties , the funeral was sparingly attended and “nobody came” (Fitzgerald 182). Following the death of Gatsby Daisy leaves town with Tom and “hadn’t sent a message or a flower” (Fitzgerald 183).
An elderly salesman lost in false hopes and illusions, Willy Loman works for strict commission and cannot bring home enough money to pay his bills. Willy foolishly pursues the wrong dream and constantly lives in an unreal world blinded from reality. Despite his dream Willy constantly attempts to live in an artificial world and claims “If old Wagner was alive I’d be in charge of New York by now” (Miller 14). As a result, Willy often ignores his troubles and denies any financial trouble when he says “business is bad, it’s murderous. But not for me of course” (Miller 51). Another false segment of Willy’s dream includes the success of his two sons Happy and Biff. Biff was a high school football star...