In history, therehave been a countless of plays made, but there have only been two that fullycapture the American dream, like “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Death of aSalesman”. In both plays the main character is trying to achieve the Americansdream, but it is almost impossible to do when neither of the characters has therespect of their authority figures or even the people they surround themselveswith. It is impressive that these two different plays can be closely like eachother when they have a large gap of when each story was written Both Miller andLorraine created a theme of achieving goals, Willy Loman just wanted to earnthe respect of the people around him while Walter Younger wanted to get richquick and support his family.
American politician Reubin Askew once said, “Wemust stop talking about the American dream and start listening to the dreams ofAmericans.” What this means is people like Willy Loman and Walter Younger liketo talk about the American dream and how it is their right, but they won’t goanywhere unless they go out and follow their own dreams. “Yes, he is a fine man—justcouldn’t catch up with his dreams that’s all”. Both Willy and Walterthink they have it all figured out, but they are sadly mistaken. Willy believesthat to succeed in life all you need to do is be well-liked, but all it got himwas a lack of respect from coworkers even younger than he. Walter was sure hehad found the answer to his family’s problems by investing in a liquor store;as a result, one of his co-investors and the alleged friend ran off with allthe money Walter had invested. Both Walter and Willy have the idea that all ofthe pressure on their shoulders. This pressure is so great that no one elseunderstands what it’s like.
“Man, I’m a volcano, a giant surrounded by ants.Ants can’t understand a thing giants talking about”. These two men sufferedmore than anyone in the two plays, and they both had a warped view of life. Butluckily, they both have the support of a loving family to help them through it. Ruth Younger wasone of the people that kept Walter sane and their house intact, she kept upwith the house and was emotionally strong throughout the story, “goodbyemisery! I don’t ever want to see your ugly face again”. A character from “Deathof a Salesman” that is almost identical to Ruth is Linda Loman. Linda cared fora already damaged family all those times when Willy’s foolish attempts atsuccess miserably failed.
She too held together her family with her emotionalstrength, without her Willy would have broken long before he did on the play.Linda was the one that kept a cool head in heavy situations, when everyone wasfreaking out she was the one to bring them down to earth. These two womenplayed a huge role in keeping their family together; they knew when the toughtimes came they were the ones who needed to stay strong.
Both plays have acharacter that gives the families some news they don’t want to hear. In “ARaisin in the Sun” that character is Mr. Karl Lindner; he informs the Youngersthat they are unwanted in a neighborhood that they just moved in to. “He saysthat because of there color they will lower the value of the surroundingneighborhood”. Their excitement from finally buying a house of their ownquickly diminished.
Howard Wagner was another prime example of someone thatgives bad news, or in this case catastrophic news, he was the one who firedWilly or told him to take “a leave of absence”. There no doubt that this is thefirst in the string of events that eventually led to Willy’s suicide. These twomen did more than just give a bit of bad news, they single-handedly changedthese two families forever.The two plays arevery similar, they both show poor American families just trying to live out theAmerican dream. Both families have the problem of not having enough money, andin both plays, this is part of the major conflict. The Youngers were living ina rundown apartment that was not big enough to hold the entire family. They didnot have the money to move to a more adequately sized house until they receiveda life insurance policy from Mama’s deceased husband. The Loman family faced asimilar problem in Death of a Salesman; Willy Loman could not even come up withthe monthly rent son he had to borrow money from Charley, his next-doorneighbor.
Obviously, the thing that drove the Loman family to venture out andtry their “get rich quick scheme” was the lack of income. In both plays, theprotagonists believe that if they had more money their lives would be wherethey want them. Although Death ofa Salesman and A Raisin in the sun has so much in common they do have a fewdifferences. Most the major differences in the two plays appear towards theend, or in other words the outcome.
In A Raisin in the Sun the Younger familyachieves their goals, Walter becomes the man of the house by standing up to Mr.Lindner, and the Younger family gets to move into their new house. The Lomanfamily was not so lucky; sadly, Willy Loman was eventually successful in hissuicide attempt and he did not achieve in reaching his goals. A Raisin in theSun’s ending was much more positive than Death of a Salesman.
The Youngers, forthe most part, achieved their goals but the Lomans did not, the boys wanted tostart a business but they could not reach their father’s expectations. Willywanted to find happiness but ended up committing suicide.