Death Of A Salesman And The Novel Of America

2331 Words Sep 26th, 2014 10 Pages
Throughout the play Death of a Salesman and the novella Of Mice and Men, both Miller and Steinbeck make very clear what each of their characters’ hopes, aspirations and dreams are in life. By doing so, both writers are able to shed light on their own critical views of the “American Dream”.
The term “American Dream” was coined by the American historian J.T. Adams in his book “The Epic of America”, published in 1931, at the time of the Great Depression in the USA. He used the term to try and encapsulate the social, political, economic and religious strands of life in America: “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement”. It is an idea that would have been attractive to the many European immigrants in America as it puts an emphasis on individualism at a time when totalitarian ideas like communism and fascism were prevalent in Europe. However, both Miller and Steinbeck make the point in their two texts that, for many, the “American Dream” became the American nightmare.
In Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller suggests that the “American Dream” is, for the most part, unattainable and unachievable. Only some who are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time will succeed in achieving the dream, and others will struggle for their entire lives, never reaching the material and emotional success the American Dream promises. Steinbeck believed the…
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