write about the definition of the american dream in american literature focusing on miller's Death of a Salesman.

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amymc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The American Dream is the concept that any person living in or immigrating to the United States has the opportunity to be anything or do anything he wants to further his education, wealth and standard of living.  The "land of opportunity" does not discriminate and provides more chances for people to earn a living and to become successful than their previous situations.

In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman has not achieved the American Dream.  At 60, he is still struggling financially and deluding himself with ideas that he is "vital" to his company and that his sons still have a chance to achieve greatnes.  In contrast, his neighbor Charley, has succeeded by remaining firmly rooted in reality.  His son, Bernard, once teased by Willy and Biff, has grown to be a lawyer who will be arguing in front the Supreme Court. 

Willy can be compared to his brother as well.  Ben has also achieved the American dream, and on a greater level.  His business enterprises in Alaska and Africa have made him unbelievable wealthy.  Willy is tormented by the idea that he missed his chance to join Ben.  Seemingly this has affected his whole life in that Willy has never owned up to his own shortcomings, and as a result, has failed to succeed himself or to instill a work ethic in his sons.

uttamkumari | Student

'American  dream'  is  a concept in  American  literature  which believes  that  America  is a  city  of  dreams  and  you  can  achieve  your  dreams  there  by  earning  more  income , buying real  estates , brand new  car etc . Also  the  americans  are believed  to  have  been very  fond  of  success  and  success is  counted  in  concrete  and  absolute terms . Feelings  and  emotions  do not control  the  lives  of those  who  dream  'American  dream'  instead the need  to  amase wealth and  success  is  their topmost priority. In  the  play 'Death  of a  salesman ' by  ARTHUR  Miller  Willy Loman  dreams  of  becoming  a  rich  salesman  one day  but  his hopes  are  thwarted towards the  end  of  the play  and  his disillussioned life could no  longer  bear  failure and  he  commits  suicide. 

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Death of a Salesman

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