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Mr. Mehrotra


The American Dream What is it? Where did it come from? What is wrong with it? How does it fit in with Death of a Salesman? What is it? Concept of money buying ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Mr. Mehrotra

The American Dream
  • What is it?
  • Where did it come from?
  • What is wrong with it?
  • How does it fit in with Death of a Salesman?

What is it?
  • Concept of money buying happiness
  • Embraces Capitalism
  • Material Possessions
  • Financial mobility
  • Opportunity
  • Comfort
  • Stability

Where did it come from?
  • The concepts of comfort and stability appealed to
    many after the Great Depression and a Second
    World War
  • Appealing to many immigrants from around the
  • Rejected by the children of the generation (i.e.
    the Hippies)

Whats wrong with it?
  • Encourages people to be selfish
  • Fails to consider
  • Social standing
  • Luck
  • Race
  • Language
  • Inherited wealth

How does it relate to Death of a Salesman?
  • The American Dream assumes that anyone can
    achieve success, even if he or she began with
  • In Arthur Millers Death of a Salesman, we follow
    Willy Loman as he reviews his life a desperate
    pursuit of success.
  • Miller suggests in this play both what is
    truthful and what is illusory in the American
    Dream, and hence, in the lives of millions of

  • Unusual in its presentation of a common man as a
    tragic figure, the play received the Pulitzer
    Price as well as the New York Drama Critics
    Circle Award when it was produced and published
    in 1949.
  • Although he denies any direct intent to make a
    political statement about the capitalist way of
    life in the United States, Miller brings the
    American Dream onto the stage for evaluation.

  • When asked about writing the play, Miller stated,
    I wished to create a form which, in itself as a
    form, would literally be the process of Willy
    Lomans mind.
  • To accomplish this Miller uses the sense of time
    on stage in an unconventional way to illustrate
    that, for Willy Loman, the voice of the past is
    no longer distant but quite as loud as the voice
    of the present.

Questions before reading
  1. How is the American Dream characteristic of
    American ideals and philosophy?
  2. What are the differences between the
    materialistic and the idealistic values
    associated with the American Dream?
  3. What was happening economically and socially in
    the United States in 1949?
  4. Was it fairly easy or difficult to get a job?
  5. What was Americas standing in the world?

Questions before reading
  1. What is your definition of a salesman?
  2. How is salesman different from someone in
    another occupation?
  3. What attitudes do you think a salesman should
    have to be successful?
  4. What attitudes would hinder him?
  5. What effect do you think the expectations of
    parents have on the behaviour of their children?
  6. In what ways might parental expectations be
  7. In what ways might they be detrimental?

And now, Arthur Millers Death of a Salemsan