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Unformatted text preview: Blasius 1 Michael Blasius Dr. Dalessio LCS 121 11 December 2007 The Loman Family: The Ill Conceived American Dream During the early periods of mass immigration into the United States taking place in the 1880’s and onward, many people came into the country with little or no money, simply evading the harsh conditions of their home countries. A large influence in these people’s decision to seek a new life in America was the idea of the American Dream. Although the phrase’s exact origins are unknown, the American Dream is the idea that the extent to which a person is successful in America is entirely dependent on how hard a person works. By this notion, it is suggested that financial prosperity and security are readily attainable if a person is willing to put in the required effort. Such idealistic thoughts were helpful in inducing increased immigration to the United States but for many immigrants, they found out the hard way that the American Dream was not completely true. Today, the American Dream has many more potential meanings than when it was first interpreted. In some cases, especially in more modern times, the Blasius 2 meaning of the American Dream can be so misconstrued that it can be harmful to people and even entire families. The characters in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman exhibit how the American Dream can be misinterpreted and, if relied upon enough, destructive. The idea of the American Dream has long been a central ideal in the minds of both natural born Americans and people who come to America in search of a new life. James Trunslow Adams speaks on the American Dream in his 1931 book The Epic of America and describes the dream as, “…that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for every man, with opportunity for each according to his ability or achievement. (Adams, 401)" Although it has been accepted to mean the equal opportunity for wealth and freedom, the American Dream can mean many different things to different people. For some, the American Dream is equated with the ability to own a home and raise a family. Others associate the American Dream with going from “rags-to-riches”, a phrase generated from the stories of immigrants who were able to go from having no money at all to amassing large fortunes. A real life example of such a story is Andrew Carnegie who came to America as a poor Scottish immigrant and died with a legacy of public buildings such as Carnegie Hall. Willy Loman, however, has his own version of the American Dream which leads to his family’s downfall. In Willy’s Blasius 3...
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- Fall '08
- Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman