Death of a Salesman Essay

Submitted By kmcginn8
Words: 1580
Pages: 7

Kaitlyn McGinness
H. English 10
Mr. McVety
October 9th, 2013
Wrongly Thought Notions Everyone has their own dreams that they would like to accomplish. Not all dreams are alike, and those that are alike are not always achieved or depicted similarly. The American Dream is one dream that many people have shaped and interpreted in every possible way. Some versions of the American Dream contradict each other, while others go off of one another. This famous dream used to be a popular Literature topic for books in the early 1900s; Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is one. Miller's book is about a salesman, Willy Loman, and how failing at his job and his version of the "American Dream" plays a hefty role in his mind, leaving him to become crazier and crazier over the years. Willy should of been brought up learning that achieving success from the American Dream is not dependent on how much money you end up making from your job, but whether or not you love what you are doing with your life. Willy wrongly possess the values of the American Dream, that being you need to be well-liked in order to have a successful, wealthy job. When a person is taught wrongly to do something, it normally results in that person teaching others those bad habits. Thus forming a vicious cycle. Willy Loman is wrongly taught by his brother Ben while he is growing up. Therefore he cannot help but teach his sons, Biff and Happy, exactly what he was taught. Willy teaches them what he the believes to be the key to a successful life. His heart is so set on the idea that you only need to be well-liked and determined to make it far in the business world, and that you cannot just rely on being smart to get you places in life. One of the many times Willy talks to his sons about the type of person they need to strive to become in order to be successful, he uses Bernard as an example of who they should try to avoid being. Bernard is Biff's friend who lives next door and tries to keep Biff on track with his schoolwork. Willy says, "Bernard can get the best marks in school, y'understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y'understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him...Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want" (Miller, 20). Biff and Happy adore their father, and all that he says and does. Therefore it is not a surprise that they eat up every word Willy says to them when they are young. Things begin to change once Biff and Happy become older. Willy personifies himself to his boys as someone they should look up to and they do. Biff and Happy are in awe from all the respect Willy says he receives whenever he goes out on all his business trips: "You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. 'Willy Loman is here?' That's all they have to know, and I go right through" (Miller, 21). Biff and Happy never question Willy and the things he says because they did not have any reason to when they were in high school. As they get older and reach an age in the thirties, Biff begins to see through Willy's fake success and no longer believes what Willy always tells him about the business world. When Biff is talking about business, he says, "Screw the business world!...I don't care what they think! They've laughed at dad for years, and you know why? Because we don't belong in this nuthouse of a city! We should be mixing cement on some open plain or--carpenters. A carpenter is allowed to whistle!" (Miller, 44). Willy overhears Biff saying this to Happy and responds, "Even your grandfather was better than a carpenter. You never grew up. Bernard does not whistle in the elevator, I assure you" (Miller, 44). Willy always wanted for his sons to grow up with a job in business. He could never perceive anyone being able to achieve success and wealth through any job other than business. Biff does not agree