The American Dream in ‘Death of a Salesman’ and ‘Fences’ Analytical Essay

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The American Dream is the fairy-tale by which fairness of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest need for goals to be achieved. In the 1950’s Americans was able to go after the American Dream, with big hopes towards the future Americans were able to own homes and start families. In the 1946 through the 1964 many babies were born and had reached its highest peak in 1957, people called it Baby Boom because many babies where born. Parents were able to encourage their children to become whatever it is that they wanted to be and truly believed it. Which freedom involve the chance of wealth and success, as well as moving up from lower class for the family and children, accomplished through being dedicated and hard workers in a society with many problems.

The American dream became more than just a word, it was life to all Americans with a chance for each without being affected by social class or situation of birth. The American Dream is not about material things but more of being able to achieve things to the fullest sprout as man and woman, uncontrolled by the hurdles which had slowly been put in the older civilizations, unrestricted by social orders which had developed for the benefit of classes rather than for the simple human being of any and every class. The American dream was not a easy way of life family values, and desire become reconciled. The American Dream is something everyone wish to have but achieving it is not that easy. African Americans still had no access to the American Dream and over half of the African American population were below poverty line in the 1950’s.

However, even some white males who the dream was created for did not achieve the American Dream. There were a few people who was accepted and achieved the American Dream, middle class white men were nothing better than poor black African American women. Everyone had there own style of the American Dream Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. In the 1950’s the American Dream was more about survival instead of success but some people see success different some see success as money and others see success as happiness and family.

On the other hand, living the American Dream with different races such as Whites and African Americans dealt with living the dream differently. In the play Death of a Salesman or Fences the American Dream that anyone can achieve financial success and material comfort was how both races dealt with it, in different ways of life.

In Death of an old salesman Willy Lowman is a 60 year old man who is deranged, self conscious and delusional. Willy have a tendency to conjure up things in the past that is not real. His loving, loyal, wife Linda Lowman is suffering because of her husbands delusions and egotistic ways. Sometimes she feels that she is going in circles with Willy Lowman’s egotistic belief and outlook of success. Willy explains to his wife Linda that their 34 year old son Biff , who is on his way to visit, has not done anything good with his life and he is lazy. Willy believes his sons should be more successful in life.

Willy is known to have frequent memories in which he sees things and figures from his past, like his deceased older brother Ben who has been deceased for some time, and Willy looked up to him. Lacking ability to understand between his memories, present-day reality, he speaks to the people in his flashbacks as if they were real, scaring those around him. Biff and his brother Happy, who is also visiting, discuss their father’s mental loss of pride while talking about their childhood together. There father walks in, angry that the two boys have never became anything.

Yet, in fences the American was different. August Wilson’s Fences tells the story of Troy Maxson and his family in the 1950s. Troy is a former baseball player of the Negro league and now works as a garbage man. His story is sad. Troy Maxson is the simple definition of a tragic character.

Strong willed, stubborn, and savagely proud of his ability to provide for his family against all odds, a fire burns inside of Troy Maxson, never allowing his heart to truly heal. Troy’s son Cory is a good football player that has the option to attend college on a football scholarship, but Troy’s resentment of never getting to play professional baseball brings out an ugliness that he talks about to those closest to him. His anger and roughness nearly messes up his entire family, because he cannot accept the hand that life has dealt. He’s a former excellent baseball player who now picks trash. His son is signing up to suffer the pain he struggles to overcome while at the same time potentially accomplishing what he never could, and his wife filled with unconditional love, may be the best he’ll ever have.

Things have changed now in 2019, as years went on the American Dream changed from making your family happy and living a happy life to everyone for they self. Today the American Dream is much different it has taken on a new plan. Like being able to graduate college with low debt, keep a job with good benefits, affording healthcare cost, paying off loans and still live a wealthy life. The American Dream is not over it still exist depending on how you define it. To me the American Dream is more about getting a education being successful and able to build a family and strive for happiness. Although everyone may not agree I believe the American Dream is still alive there is a lot of opportunities for people.

In conclusion, In Death Of A Salesman and Fences, these stories follow two middle-class families around the same time period (late 1940-1950’s), who are both facing problems within their own household’s. From marital issues to failing father/son relationships, both of these stories paint a picture to the audience of what life in an urban family living in that time setting was like through the author’s eyes. It’s common to compare Troy to Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman as nothing more than cheating, angry, and arrogant, but the circumstances in which Troy gets to his place in life verse Willy Loman’s is important to note. Willy Loman is a white man of privilege who runs his life down the drain. And even yet with all the things between these two plays that make them alike, there are also many things that make them very different.


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The American Dream in ‘Death of a Salesman’ and ‘Fences’ Analytical Essay. (2020, Sep 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-american-dream-in-death-of-a-salesman-and-fences/



How are fences and Death of a Salesman similar?
As both fences and Death of a Salesman focus on the themes of isolation and the American Dream, the two share similarities in terms of their portrayal of the struggles and disillusionment of the working-class.
How does Death of a Salesman criticize the American dream?
The play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is a critique of the American dream. The play shows that the idea of the American dream is a fallacy and that the pursuit of it can lead to destruction.
How does Death of a Salesman represent the American dream?
The play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is a representation of the American dream. The dream is that through hard work and determination, anyone can be successful.
What is the American dream in fences?
In Fences, Wilson wanted to take an average invisible worker, a garbage truck worker, and travel inside his life , explore his story, and in so doing bring us the rarely-told mythology and reality of the black experience as it relates to the American Dream and the American story.
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