The American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and Fences by August Wilson

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The American Dream is a common theme in literature. The American Dream as defined by Webster is: an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity. Egalitarianism is defined in two ways: 1: a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic rights and privileges and 2: a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people. To most, this sounds like the perfect society, however what happens when the obsession takes away the truly important things in a person's life? In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, physiological, safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization, are all components necessary to function fully in society. With The American Dream, …show more content…
Although, when Biff goes along on one of his father's business trips and discovers that his father is having an affair, their relationship changes and Biff goes from a high school football hero with college scholarship potential, to a high school drop out and kleptomaniac who can not even hold a job. Willy fails to see the importance of the love that is offered by his family because he is obsessed with being well liked in his career, such that it is. This obsession costs him and his family, the safety, love, esteem, and self-actualization that would truly make him a success.

Fences, written in 1985, August Wilson introduces Troy Maxson, a fifty-three year old sanitation worker in Pittsburgh. The story takes place between 1957 and 1965, however through Troy's storytelling, he takes the reader back to South in the early 1900's, where he grew up as a unsuccessful sharecropper's son. Troy's experience as a child and also his failed opportunity as a baseball player in the Negro Leagues of the 1930's and 1940's has left him bitter and living in his own delusions of what The American Dream is all about. He fails to see the importance of the love that is offered by his family and is blinded by his perverted sense of responsibility for the physiological needs in life. Troy has taken his compassionate wife and mother of his son Cory, Rose, his respectful,

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