Theme of Desire to Achieve the American Dream the Death of a Salesman

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Theme of Desire to Achieve the American Dream the Death of a Salesman essay
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In the story “Death of a Salesman” written by Arthur Miller they use motifs constantly throughout the novel. A motif is anything that occurs several times throughout a book, novel or piece of literacy. For the purpose of this paper i’m going to be focusing on the motif of stealing. Stealing is an common occurrence for the main character Willys son Biff. Willy never thought to discipline his sons about how wrong stealing actually is.

The overall theme of “Death of a Salesman” is the desire to achieve the American Dream. Willys sons didn’t have the luxury of their father having a good paying job. One instance of this is on page 40 and it states “ When he has to go to Charley and borrow fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it’s his pay?” As a result of this Biff and his brother Happy resorted to stealing in their pursuit of the American Dream and they justified this because of their lack of money. The first example of Biff stealing was when he “Borrowed” a football that was in the locker room without the permission from the coach. When Biff’s father Willy laughingly told him to return it, Biff said that he would but the reader never received a clear answer.

The second example of the stealing motif was when Biff and Happy stole sand from where they are building the apartment houses in order to rebuild the front stoop. They talk about this on page 34 and it states “ Boys! Go right over to where they’re building the apartment house and get some sand. We’re gonna rebuild the entire front stoop right now!” This supports how Willy is encouraging his boys to go take things that do not belong to them. Later in the book it talks about how Biff and Happy went and stole Lumber from the same apartment houses. They talk about this in the book on page 35 and the text states “You shoulda seen the lumber they brought home last week. At least a dozen six-by-tens worth all kinds a money.” Charley then tries to warn Willy that they may get caught then Willy’s reply was “I gave them hell, understand. But I got a couple of fearless characters there.” Willy is basically making up an excuse for the behavior of his boys and he isn’t correcting it.

The final example of the stealing motif that was in “Death of a Salesman” was when Biff realized that he was never a salesman and was actually a shipping clerk then proceeded to steal Oliver’s fountain pen. They talk about this on page 76 and the text states “ I don’t know what came over me, Hap. The next thing I know I’m in his office — paneled walls, everything. I can’t explain it. I — Hap, I took his fountain pen.” After he ran out of the room he came to the realization that he needed to sit down with his father, To tell him that he doesn’t spite him.

Throughout the play, Willy’s sons Biff and Happy continue to steal things that don’t belong to them. This is largely due to the fact that Willy never taught his boys good morals and the value of hard work. Often Willy appears to be proud of his boys bad habit of stealing and he does not set a good example for what it takes to achieve the American Dream. The American Dream takes hard work and dedication.

Theme of Desire to Achieve the American Dream the Death of a Salesman essay

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Theme of Desire to Achieve the American Dream the Death of a Salesman. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/theme-of-desire-to-achieve-the-american-dream-the-death-of-a-salesman/


How does Death of a Salesman represent the American Dream?
To the protagonist of "Death of a Salesman," the American Dream is the ability to become prosperous by mere charisma .
What are 3 themes in Death of a Salesman?
Denial, contradiction, and the quest for order versus disorder comprise the three major themes of Death of a Salesman. All three themes work together to create a dreamlike atmosphere in which the audience watches a man's identity and mental stability slip away.
What is the main theme in Death of a Salesman?
The main themes and symbols of Death of a Salesman include family relationships and, at large, the shortcomings of the American dream and all of its consequences, namely the financial well-being that can afford people certain luxuries.
What is the theme of the American Dream?
What Is the American Dream? The American dream is the belief that anyone, regardless of where they were born or what class they were born into, can attain their own version of success in a society in which upward mobility is possible for everyone.
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