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American Dream Essay

1906 words - 8 pages

Jack O'Hennessy
Mr. Kay
English 11R
27 November 2013
The American Dream
At the turn of the century the electrifying and fantasising idea of the American Dream gave a newfound hope to immigrants coming from their forlorn lives back across the great Atlantic. Unfortunately as the century progressed the American Dream diminished and by the end of the century has almost ceased to exist. While in the past luck was only a part of the American Dream now it is seemingly all of it, with only being in the right place at the right time mattering. The play Death Of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is the quintessence of this idea of luck being preponderant influence on whether or not someone will ...view middle of the document...

Willy wanted the American so badly in his head he created a false reality in which his has achieved his Dream, of being a successful salesman, he even goes to the extent of grossly inflating his commissions to appear to himself and everyone else that he is living the Dream, however it's quickly revealed he hasn't when he talks to his wife (Miller 35). Willy feels the American Dream collapsing even if he might not realize it, with the grow of the apartment building that are creeping in on his neighborhood and his life (Miller 17) because the growth of apartment buildings symbolizes the growth of meritocracy and the end of american exceptionalism the foundation of the Dream, the idea you can owe a home and support your family and be content in life is deprived with the onset of meritocracy. Willy sees this increased competition as a problem as well saying, " There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country! The competition is maddening! Smell the stink from that apartment house! (Miller 17)." This may be a legitimate criticism of America by Willy, however it is more likely his own rationalize for his own failures, Willy can not take his own failure and throughout the play he progressively gets worse and worse until finally in the end he decides to try to help his son achieve the American great that he never could. He says, "I gotta go, baby. ‘By! ‘By! Imagine? When the mail comes he’ll be ahead of Bernard again! (Miller 135).” Willy chooses to try to ensure the American Dream for his son at the cost of his own life; what has the great American dream come to if the cost to achieve it is a man's life?
Since its birth Americans have been fantasized by the American Dream. The same people that founded the county, might have started the Dream or they at least set the groundwork for it. One document in particular the Declaration Of Independence and specifically the line,”The Pursuit of Happiness”, some accredit with created the American Dream ("American: What is The American Dream?"). The Pursuit of Happiness is the simplest definition of the American Dream, one could say that both America and the American Dream were born together, and that the Dream was already in the heads of our founding fathers. There are many definitions of the American Dream one of which is “material prosperity”, the idea that through hard work one can get bigger houses, fancier cars, the means to have fun with their families but its at the cost of time, the time to enjoy their new prosperity ("American: What is The American Dream?"). While some argue the Dream is based on financial gain while others argue that it is simply to live a fulfilling life ("American: What is The American Dream?"). Both of this definitions are really both the same thing, the pursuit of happiness, but they different in the definition of happiness because happiness is different to everyone, this means that the American dream is different for everyone. This has led to...

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