Death of a Salesman

The Fall of Willy Loman, Dan Cleary & Liam McMahon

Is the American Dream an achievable goal?

Despite the American Dream being a common goal for the general man, it is believed that the majority of individuals will not be able to achieve this dream. In the video below, John Green describes the validity of the American Dream, and whether or not individuals are truly able to achieve it.
Is the American Dream Real?
The American Dream, according to John Green, is impossible to achieve. The bottom 30% of the economy will stay in that range, and those who are wealthy will dominate the upper range. Due to these statistics, the American Dream is almost impossible to achieve for those who started off with little to begin with in the first place. Those who are already wealthy have no dreams of which they desire to accomplish, therefore don't truly establish any form of American Dream. The American Dream is near impossible to achieve for these numerous situations and individuals' stances within the economy.

"Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such—personal attractiveness, gets lost. And such a hard worker. There’s one thing about Biff— he’s not lazy." (Miller 6) Biff Loman has started in a low class after being taught by Willy, and stayed in the same class upon aging if not entering a lower class. If individuals do not change their ways or follow the path of someone else unsuccessful, they are bound to turn the same way such as Biff did.

Walter White from Breaking Bad

Walter White started off as a normal individual with no direction in life, but upon receiving news of his cancer, he wished to acquire as much money as possible before his death. At this time he realized his goal of achieving the American Dream.
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Walter will partner up with Jesse Pinkman, a past student of his in his chemistry class. Together they will sell drugs undercover to make a quick fortune. Their desire for wealth resembles the American Dream's trait of financial and employment success. Walter also has a tragic flaw of being the best at what he does. This flaw will bring him into many predicaments where he will go through desperate measures to escape. His life will slowly become more and more dangerous, but the tragic hero always seems to find a way. He wishes to make as much money as possible to treat his cancer and support his family before his actions catch up to him.

"All I can do now is wait for the merchandise manager to die. And suppose I get to be merchandise manager? He’s a good friend of mine, and he just built a terrific estate on Long Island. And he lived there about two months and sold it, and now he’s building another one. He can’t enjoy it once it’s finished. And I know that’s just what I’d do. I don’t know what the hell I’m workin’ for. Sometimes I sit in my apartment—all alone. And I think of the rent I’m paying. And it’s crazy. But then, it’s what I always wanted. My own apartment, a car, plenty of women, and still, goddamnit, I’m lonely." (Miller 14). This quote is spoken by Happy Loman. Death of another is required to progress, and this can be considered similar to the steps taken by Walter White in order to succeed.

The Wolf of Wall Street

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Financial/Employment Success (or lack thereof)- The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street is a movie directed by Martin Scorsese that tells the real life story of Jordan Belfort, a man from a blue collar family who becomes a stockbroker with the goal of being a millionaire in mind. Jordan had a dream of what his life would be which he attempted to achieve but ultimately failed due to the flaws of excessive drug use, illegal operations, and familial turmoil. The problems that got in the way of obtaining and retaining Jordan’s dream parallel well to those faced by Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman. Willy’s dream of becoming a well-liked, successful salesman is deterred by his counter-productive values, mental illness, and familial turmoil. Willy’s counter productive values of being liked and handsome are clearly stated when he says, “Be liked and you will never want” (Miller 21), and further exemplify Willy’s flaws that prove devastating to his dream. The stories of Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman relate well and depict important personal issues.

Click the title above to view the article!

This article written by Steve Hargreaves is a great summary of an interesting study done in 2009 from Pew Charitable Trust on the fiscal progress of people born into the lower class. Some interesting statistics offered in this study are that 70% of people born into a lower class stay in the same income bracket while 26% move up to the middle class and only 4% became high earners. This offers real life support to the great number of failures depicted in Death of a Salesman. the two most notable failures in the play are Biff and Willy, and they are finally confronted with their failure when Biff says, “Pop! I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you!” (Miller 105). Furthermore the Study just goes to show that it is difficult for people to move on to a higher income rate as shown in the struggles of Willy, Happy, and Biff.

Works Cited

Hargreaves, Steve. "New Reports Shows 70% of Those Born Poor Stay Poor - Economy." Economy RSS. CNN, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 19 Jan. 2016.

Miller, Arthur, and Gerald Clifford Weales. Death of a Salesman. New York: Penguin, 1996. Print.