The American Dream

The American Dream

How can the American dream influence different people? To most people, the American dream is basically to have shelter, a job, a family, and friends. Although most people can get those examples, some take the dream to an extreme. You can become brainwashed in a way on trying to be the most popular, have the biggest house, be able to hold the best job, also having a great family, and live in a good neighborhood. Those example are still fair but they can be too much to dream of. A dream is something that makes you happy and you should not spend your whole life on trying to get a dream that is too extreme. In the book the Great Gatsby Tom is showing Nick his extravagant house, “I’ve got a nice place here….’ He moved a broad flat hand along the front vista, including a sunken Italian garden, a half acre of deep roses, and a snub-nosed, motor boat.” (p 11) Nick has is well off but he is not spending all of his time trying to impress other people into liking him more because!

he has more money. Tom goes on to say that he is proud to live in the east and says, “Oh I’ll stay in the East, don’t you worry, I’d be a God-damned fool to live anywhere else.” (The Great Gatsby, p 15) The East is where everyone wanted to live, that was the rich and popular place to be. In the West all of the new rich were there but with out connections. They envied the East and some of them spent a lot of time trying to reach the same dream of the Easterners. Based on Arthur Miller’s play and Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, the “American Dream is too much for most people and your whole life should not be wasted on trying to achieve the American dream.

In the play Death of a Salesman, The American dream is too much for Willy Loman and he becomes disillusioned in a way about how you achieve the American dream. From the time the boys were going to school Willy emphasized that to achieve success all they needed to get by was good looks. Growing up Willy’s boys were taught that being more liked was better than studying. Biff was an all-American boy as captain of the football team and girls and admiring friends surrounded him all the time. He was so caught up in achieving the dreams of his father that he failed math and could not get to the University of Virginia, which he believed he was going to. Willy was having problems of his own too. He was a used up old salesman that had the wrong dreams, he loved to work with his hands and build things but he was a salesman. Willy wanted the American dream so bad he believed he was one of the best salesmen and everyone liked him a lot. He was telling his boys about his plans and !

told them, “I am better liked than Uncle Charlie and I will soon open a bigger business than him.” (Death of a Salesman, p28) One thing though, Willy was not better liked than Uncle Charlie. Uncle Charlie had built himself up off of hard work and knowledge and the love of what he did. Willy did not have that. His dream should have been to be a great carpenter. He told Linda at one point in the play, “I’m not dressing to advantage.” (Death of a Salesman, p 37) He was run out, he never was a good salesman but the qualities that he had that sold for him when he was younger was his looks but those will not last forever.

Another person who believed he had the right dream was Jay Gatsby. He was a young army officer who loved Daisy Buchanan and then left for war. When he returned he discovered Daisy had married Tom and they had a lot of money. Gatsby decided he would achieve a lot of money, a big house, an expensive car, be well known a liked, and get Daisy back. He wanted it so bad; he devoted his life towards getting rich and had to achieve it through illegal activity. He was not very well educated because he never wanted to stay at school for very long. Even though Gatsby achieved most of his dream he did not fully achieve it. He never got the respect he wanted, he never got Daisy, and he ended up miserable from not being able to get her. He achieved all of his possessions for her and not for himself, he was never happy. If he would have tried to help himself and then once he was happy he might have had a better chance with Daisy but he wasted it on trying to win her back. From the!

book The Great Gatsby, Nick sees Gatsby out of his window, “He stretched out his arms toward the dark water in a curious way, and, far as I was from him I could have sworn he was trembling. Involuntarily I glanced seaward-and distinguished nothing except a single green light, minute and far away.” (p 29) The green light was at the end of Daisy’s dock and Gatsby was reaching towards her and could not get to her. The green light also symbolized the American dream for Gatsby and that he was close to it but could not reach it. It was sad to see that he could be so close to his dream and yet so far.

From the Great Gatsby era of the 1920’s to the Death of a Salesman era of the 1940’s the American dream did not change much. In the 1920’s World War I had ended and America moved into a time of isolationism and was content on having a big party the entire time. The economy boomed and people were getting rich easily. The American dream to many at the time was not too different from that of Jay Gatsby. People wanted what they saw and would do anything to get that. In the 1940’s America was getting over another war and many people were struggling because the strength of the 1950’s was not around yet. Willy Loman thought he had the perfect way to get to the American dream by using good looks and there would be no need for book smarts. Even today the same American dream still exists, and many people get caught up in trying to achieve it.

Based on Arthur Miller’s play and Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, the “American Dream is too much for most people and your whole life should not be wasted on trying to achieve the American dream. The characters Jay Gatsby and Will Loman were tragic heroes caught up in a dream that was too extreme to be a reality for them. If only Jay Gatsby had gone to college and stayed there he could have found something he really loved to do and then would not have been so miserable by leading a life of illegal activity to get rich. With Willy Loman if he had only have been a carpenter he could have been really happy and taught his boys his trade. He could have loved his life and then not had affairs. Willy might have even made a lot of money because if you love what you do, chances are you will excel in your field. Just like being an English teacher, if you love English and kids, then you will be a great teacher. If you loved to learn about medicine maybe you should be a doctor. Willy a!

nd Jay were just two characters corrupted by having the wrong dreams. These two works were more than just entertainment they were lessons that should be thought of when considering where your life will go. Looking at Arthur Miller’s play and Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, the American dream is not worth pursuing.


none, the books are Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby