Death of a Salesman Essay

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Carlton 2/22/2012 Research Paper DOS Fortune is the fundamental idea of the American dream, which has been passed down through generations and from America’s borders to all four corners of the world. Unfortunately, this fantasy is a false notion created by a few “rags to riches” stories. The American dream is the belief that if one works hard enough he or she will one day become wealthy. Despite popular belief, this is not the case. Yes, in the United States, there are possibilities to accumulate a fortune, but most Americans do not thrive but merely survive. Arthur Miller wrote the play, Death of a Salesman, to dispel popular culture’s portrayal of the American dream as generally achievable. Miller conveys that this aspiration is not something physically attainable, but rather an obsession with the possibility of success that corrupts most values a person once held. Sociologists like Dr. Brian Starks define the American Dream as not just being affluent, but also raising kids, sending them to college, owning a home, and supporting oneself in old age (Starks). Miller depicts all of these scenarios with his characters in Death of a Salesman. Instead of the American dream being made up of these simple goals, however, Miller chose to give it a physical anatomy with four key parts: a head, heart, stomach and legs. At the top of the American Dream lies the head, which represents one’s desires. Each character has a different objective for their personal American dream. In Willy’s case his mind has warped his ambitions. He believes that he wants money and to be successful, but throughout the book we see that his main aspiration is not to be rich but to be well liked. His passion for wealth is overshadowed by his true desire, to “ be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people” (Miller, 81) Willy does not see the truth of life, which is

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