Analytical Exposition in Response to Literature: Death of a Salesman and The Great Gatsby

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The two texts that this essay will compare and contrast are the novel The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald and the play Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller. Both works are based around the central topic of ‘the American Dream’ and the unceremonious death of it. However, the journeys that the protagonists take to meet their tragic ends are very different though the motives involved are accused murder and adultery. This essay’s aim is to determine whether the novel or the play best is more successful in engaging and provoking the reader. This will be done by analysing characters, plot lines and the main/recurring themes throughout.
“I hope she’ll be a fool – that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little
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The lavish parties he holds (though he rarely shows his face); his ownership of several enviable motor vehicles, and his ludicrously large mansion that he resides in add to his ‘image’. Though he does have a large fortune which he can spend without care, Gatsby’s wealth is ‘new money’.
‘New money’ is recently acquired wealth and can be earned through business deals, illegalities, gambling and the like. As opposed to ‘old money’ which is inherited wealth as shown in the character Tom Buchanan of East Egg whose family is extremely rich and goes back many generations. In Gatsby’s case, it was the selling of alcohol which was illegal in the Twenties – also known as bootlegging, which earned him his fortune.
This, in comparison to the discourse of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman is slightly different. Willy is trying to achieve the American Dream by becoming successful, thus ensuring him popularity. To be well-liked is what he is aiming for, and he is living through his eldest son, Biff, in order to do so. “Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground” (Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Act 2). Willy’s quote is further proof that he believes his life and its doings have been failures, and he has nothing left, nothing constant or permanent. The horticulture reference suggests that his ‘garden’ is a final effort to make up for his failed career and
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