How Did Willy Loman Contribute To The American Dream

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The early twentieth century was a time of great economic achievement for many, and it seemed as if any man, with a little drive and know-how, could prosper. The turn of the century brought the Alaska Gold Rush, and new territories across Africa and South America seemed to abound with wealth, waiting for a man with great ambition to come along and seize it as his own. This exciting time in American history placed every man on the brink of success, none more so than Willy Loman, a man who spent his life chasing the elusive American dream, one in which a self-made man can easily amass a great fortune. Willy’s brother, Ben, and his father both benefited from this time of exploration, with Ben becoming enormously wealthy after stumbling across…show more content…
Since both Ben and Dave Singleman succeeded in business, Willy believes that he is destined to succeed as well. Willy believes that if you are able to go out in the world set on achieving the American dream, you will be able to. He notes that Ben “knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle, and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he’s rich!” (Miller 41). Willy believes that if he follows Ben by going out into the world believing that he is entitled to greatness, then he will achieve what he believes he deserves. Willy became a salesman in part because of Dave Singleman, who was able to work few hours from his home. Willy recounts, “He’d...pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, he made his living” (Miller 81). Willy believes that he will be able to work only a few hours a week and become wealthy, leaving him unprepared for the reality of selling: driving for days on end without making a single sale. As Galens noted, “Willy’s personal representations of the American Dream are his brother Ben and the salesman Dave Singleman, and he views the success of these two men as proof that he can indeed attain the success he is so desperate to achieve” (61). Willy does not notice that Dave became successful in the early twentieth century, in which salesman were in a very different job market, one with little training or specialized knowledge needed to succeed, very unlike the market Willy found himself in decades later. Since Willy views Ben stumbling upon success in the Jungle as a result of him going into the world with a can do attitude rather than blind luck and sees Dave as a model salesman of the modern world, Willy develops an entitlement to success in business since he tries to follow their example. Willy is unable to succeed in the modern business world because he believes that

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