Evaluate how Troy lives the American dream in both its successes and failures.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that Troy can point to several instances where he has "made" it according to the mythology of the American Dream. On one hand, Troy has succeeded more than his father.  Part of the myth of the American Dream is the idea that the children have to "do better" than the previous generations.  In this, Troy has proven to be more of a success than his father.  Additionally, as seen in the second Act, Troy is promoted in his job and enjoys a greater level of financial success than he exhibited at the start of the drama.  In this, Troy has accomplished yet another element of the successes of the American Dream.  If these were the only components to Troy's being in the play, then he would be a successful representation as dictated by the ends of the American Dream.  Yet, there is more to Troy and it is here where he can be seen as a failure in achieving the American Dream.  Initially, Troy's domestic situation does not conform to the rigid standards of "the American Dream."  Lyons is a son from a previous association, Cory abandons his father, and the child born of Troy's mistress all represent domestic elements whereby the American Dream's vision of private bliss is absent.  Additionally, Troy does not conform to the supposed contentment and happiness in the American Dream in how he is fundamentally riddled with fear and doubt about death and what lies in the future.  It is here where Troy is not one that strides confidently into the future, as per the stipulations of the American Dream, but rather one who is trying to battle an adversary whose force and pull is far too great.  In this battle, Troy naturally fails, and with it, fails to live out the emotional conditions of happiness and contentment that are part of the American Dream mythology.

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