Comparing A Raisin In The Sun And Death Of A Salesman

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The Capitalist Monster: What can be more morally invalidating than enslavement? Some say death. Others say torture. But what if enslavement is a combination of the two; an ultimate death spiral that captures the soul, debasing the heart and unhinging the brain? In Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Miller’s Death of a Salesman, we see the effects of economic enslavement. Set around the same time, the two plays depict a morally impervious capitalistic monster at its pinnacle in American history. As protagonists Willy Loman and Walter Lee fight for social standing and economic prosperity, disputes and familial discord flourish, hopes and dreams evaporate, and immorality permeates the helpless and struggling families. As Hansberry and Miller…show more content…
The stage directions in A Raisin in the Sun depict “all pretenses but living itself having long since vanished from the very atmosphere” and in Death of a Salesman Willy drives hundreds of miles a week and still only barely manages to pay off his bills. Both families subsist on meager servile jobs, especially the Youngers who suffer an extremely prejudiced community. This pecuniary crater sparks extreme discontentedness. In A Raisin in the Sun, Walter’s desire for wealth obviously surpasses his family members. In many parts Mama criticizes Walter’s dissatisfaction with his life. Ruth is also openly critical of Walter’s clamoring for money, however, secretly negotiates with Mama trying to persuade her to give Walter a chance by granting him a portion of the life insurance money in order to start a liquor store—hinting to a commonality of grievances. For example, Beneatha exclaims that George ( a wealthy boy that seeks to court her) is “shallow”, and Ruth inquires as to “what other qualities a man got to have to satisfy” her. This implies, therefore, that Ruth identifies wealth as a vital characteristic. Even Mama, who most vociferously proclaims contentedness, dreams of a new house and understands that only money will provide the way for such a transition. Moreover, as her main goal to become a doctor mandates that she have money, Beneatha relates to the familial ilk of materialism as well. Either plainly or subtly, all members of the Younger family are discontent. Their discontentedness leads to disunity, mutual animosity, and ultimately failure. Their failure to remain collected, failure to overcome in the midst of adversity, and failure to be content under the most disheartening circumstances reveals their lack of intestinal fortitude. The Younger’s deviate from success not because they fail to fulfill all their dreams, but because in pursuit of their dreams they lose sight of what really

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