Pursuit of the American Dream in Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman
1323 Words6 Pages
Comparing the Pursuit of the American Dream by Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman
(Essay outline also included in the word count.)
People from all around the world have dreamed of coming to America and building a successful life for themselves. The "American Dream" is the idea that, through hard work and perseverance, the sky is the limit in terms of financial success and a reliable future. While everyone has a different interpretation of the "American Dream," some people use it as an excuse to justify their own greed and selfish desires. Two respected works of modern American literature, The Great Gatsby and Death of a Salesman, give us insight into how the individual interpretation and pursuit of the "American Dream" can produce tragic…show more content…
Despite receiving little payoff for his efforts, he regularly gives extravagant parties to impress others, always "half expecting [Daisy] to wander [in] some night" (84).
Similar to Gatsby, Willy Loman from Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, bases his "American Dream" on the idea that public acceptance would bring him wealth. Willy believes that appearing well liked makes him successful. Willy has based his life on the idea that if you are "well liked, you will never want" (Miller 33). Moreover, he believes his sons' appearance will make them successful because they are "both built like Adonises" (33). Furthermore, Willy's obsession with money leads him to equate the value of an individual with their financial worth. Willy idealized his older brother Ben because "he is rich" (41). Willy, reflecting on his own worth, concludes "you end up worth more dead than alive" (98). Finally, Willy thinks that being a popular and successful businessman will win him the love of his wife and children. Willy lies to his family, by telling his sons "[if there is] one thing boys: I have friends"(31). He also exaggerates terribly by telling his wife he sold "five hundred gross in Providence and seven hundred gross in Boston" (35). In his final imagined discussion with his brother Ben, Willy concludes that by taking his own life he will finance his son's business venture, and "[Biff will] worship me for it" (135).
The American Dream in Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby
1238 Words5 Pages
Since Columbus made land, people have been searching for the “American Dream”. Many people have their own idea and ideas that have changed over a period of time, but what exactly is the “American Dream” defined as .Origins of the dream have been rooted in the pioneering mentality of the eighteenth and nineteenth century immigrants, most who came to America because of a promise for a new and better life. The American Dream was sought through hard work and determination. After the time of the World Wars, society changed and so did the view of the “American Dream”, it changed from a potential reality into being a dream. People were striving to reach their definition of the American Dream. Beliefs and values took a turn. The American Dream…show more content…
Pressures on society to live the dream can make feelings of low self-worth and turn into pushing people to go further to achieve by any means necessary. The American Dream does not only represent honesty and truth. It has not been uncommon for big CEO’s of companies to lie, cheat and steal to achieve their “American Dream”. This has been common throughout our history of economics. As society grows, wealth is the common denominator for success, and one starts to look up to these people at the top of the ladder to have achieved the dream. These people, who are anything but ethical, are the ones who influence society as what it takes to achieve and live the dream. "He's the man who fixed the World Series back in 1919" (The Great Gatsby, page 78). The dream became so focused on money that any means of a obtaining it were condoned, even if it were unscrupulous. Result of American dream being corrupted is that the motivation and ambition were gone and the dream is left with the pursuit of an empty goal. Ignorance and the ideal of looking out for oneself are prevalent; where as in the pure American Dream striving to accomplish ones' own personal goal is ones main focus. One should use the American Dream for motivation and hope that one can achieve ones personal goal. The American Dream should not