The American Dream in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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Centuries ago, Americans were fighting for their freedom from Britain. Then, the American dream was to have freedom. To American then, being free and having their own individual country was enough. Up until a few decades ago, African Americans were fighting to have equal rights. They thought this was all they needed and they would be truly happy. Somewhere over the course of time; happiness had a new meaning for all Americans. Now material possessions are what it takes to be happy. The American dream is to be rich.

A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry, and Death of a Salesman, written by Arthur Miller, both address the American Dream. Both plays discuss the desire for wealth and how the desire may lead to one’s
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Halfway through the play, Walter tries to explain that he wants more out of his life, and Lena says that he has all he needs- a wife, a family, and a job. Walter then gets even angrier and says “Mama, a job? I open and close doors all day long. I drive a man around in his limousine and I say ‘Yes sir’; ‘No sir”; ‘Very good sir’; ‘Shall I take the drive sir?’ Mama that aint no kind of job” (Miller, pg 107). Walter’s dream to be rich drives him to the brink of insanity. Finally, Lena decides that she will give him the money to invest in a liquor store. She keeps part of the money to invest in a house, and gives him the rest of it. She tells him to put three thousand dollars in an account for Bonita’s tuition, and the rest is his to invest in the liquor store. Instead of putting any money in an account for Beneatha, Walter gives it all to one of his partners to invest in the store. He is told he will get enough of it back in a few days, so he can put the money in the account. As it turns out, his partner ends up leaving town with the money, and never coming back. Walter lost the bulk of the check. His dream to have money, to be somebody, to be rich; leads to his downfall. Instead, he ends up losing the money that could have helped the family as a whole. Not only did he set himself back, but he also set Beneatha back. Not only did he ruin his dream, but he also ruined his