Willy Loman and the American Dream Essay

1986 Words Jun 16th, 2012 8 Pages
Willy Loman, in the play Death of a salesman, believes that being physically attractive and well liked by people, are the only necessary ingredients to attain the American dream. Willy works his entire adult life trying to become an astounding salesman, such as Dave Singleman. In Willy’s mind, Dave is the epitome of a successful salesman and “thus, the dream has shaped in Willy’s mind. All his life has been spent trying to imitate this person” (Danqing 27), until he finally realizes that his hard work has got him nowhere. “I’ve got to get some seeds, right away. Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground” (qtd. in Delbanco and Cheuse 332). All of the actions Willy makes and the choices he decides upon, come back to greatly …show more content…
Robert Hogan describes his efforts, “Willy has applied himself; he has been diligent and thrifty; he has extolled the businessman’s virtues; he has tried to be ‘well-liked.’ For this he should have been rewarded, but no reward comes, and Willy is numbly baffled by the failure of the American dream” (par, 40). However, he believes the reality is that, all he must to do be a successful salesman is be attractive and convince people to like him, “never understanding that he has sold himself a false bill of goods” (Moss and Wilson, par. 27). His bizarre beliefs have misguided him into thinking that he should be rewarded for having good looks and a likeable personality. Willy, unable to understand the error of his concept, desperately turns to Charley to pull him out of the mountain of debt he is trapped under. Charley, the voice of reason, “has realized that Willy’s views of success [are] seriously flawed” (Juan, par. 21). Rather than giving his neighbor more money, Charley offers something of much more value in the long run, a real job. Willy refuses Charley’s job offer and is insulted, because he holds himself at a higher regard than Charley. He also does not accept the job offer because of his pride as a man and in his sales position. In the Journal of American Culture, John Shockley denotes that, “Willy was too proud to give up his salesman’s
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