Illusion Of The American Dream Essay, Research Paper
The Illusion of the American Dream
The American Dream is what all Americans strive to achieve. It is the illusion of prosperity and happiness. The American Dream consists of three different elements, money, sex, and power. The plays “Death of a Salesman” and “The Glass Menagerie” are about families who strive to achieve the American Dream. These plays are a lot alike and they have more similarities than differences.
In America, money can get you many places in society. In both plays, money plays an essential element. In “The Glass Menagerie,” Amanda is always concerned about Laura getting a job or marrying someone whom can support her. When Amanda realizes that Laura quit going to business school, she becomes very distressed. “What are we going to do, what is going to become of us, what is the future?” They did not have a father, or someone to support them; therefore, Amanda did not know what to expect in the future. The relevancy of money is also apparent in “Death of a Salesman.” Willy believes that he and his sons are great men who can be successful in the business world. Linda, Willy’s wife, says, “Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid.” Willy liked to imagine that he was prosperous, and that his sons would be prosperous.
Sex is another element of the American Dream. The characters in both plays have their fantasies and dreams about love. They are dreamers who can slip into, and out of reality. In “The Glass Menagerie” Laura is in love with a person that she knew in high school. She talked to him some in high school, but not a lot. Her crush for him lasted long after high school. She says, “Yes. I liked one once. I came across his picture a while ago.” Once he comes to her house for dinner, she is quite around him, and she is disappointed when she finds out that he is engaged. In “Death on a Salesman,” Willy searches for love, but does not realize what he has. He has a loving family, and wife who cares a lot about him. He does not recognize their love, and has to run off and have an affair with a woman. When Biff finds out about the affair, he finally realizes that he fails in business because his father had him stuck on the myth of the American Dream.
Furthermore, having power is also very important for achieving the American Dream. In “The Glass Menagerie,” Amanda has to be in control of everything. She likes telling her son and daughter what they should be doing. She recurrently reminds Tom about how important his job is for the security of the family. She says, “What right have you got to jeopardize your job? Jeopardize the security of us all? How do you think we’d manage if you were-.” She likes to have the power in the family, in order to keep the dysfunctional family together. Willy, in “Death of a Salesman,” also liked to have a lot of power. He was afraid of being abandoned, and he worked hard for social acceptance. Charley talks about him and says, “Nobody dast blame this man…Willy was a salesman. Ad for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don’t put a bolt to a nut, he don’t tell the law or give you medicine. He’s a man why out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back-that’s an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you’re finished. Nobody dast blame this man. A saleman is got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.” Willy liked to be in control of his family, and be well liked by everyone. He also passes these dreams onto his sons.
In conclusion, these plays have many things in common. The American Dream is something that must be worked for. It takes a lot of hard work and determination, and only a handful of people ever actually reaches the top. For the Loman and Wingfield families, the American Dream is something they will probably never have. It is just a myth to them, like it is to many people.