Opposite Takes on the “American Dream” in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman Kevin Andrew Fagan College

Money is one method to achieve one of the “American Dreams.” The “American Dream” is different for everybody which dream for most people depends on how they were raised. There are lots of plays that review the “American Dream” however just 2 will be focused on, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesperson; these two plays have opposite views of the “American Dream” and 2 extremely different households. Miller’s play provides a very cynical view of the “American Dream” and maybe all the “American Dream” is just a myth and can no longer be attained. Lorraine Hansberry’s play on the other hand provides a play in which reveals that the “American Dream” lives and can be attained, accomplished by anybody. A Raisin in the Sun presents a positive view of the future and the “American Dream.”

Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun handle an African-American family in the ghetto of Chicago. The Youngers get a life insurance coverage look for 10,000 dollars. Each family member has their own concept of how the money ought to be spent. Walter Lee wants to purchase getting a liquor store; in theory this would assist his household enhance their future. Lena Younger, along with Ruth Younger, wish to purchase a home with a lawn in hopes of leaving the ghetto; this would give Travis, Ruth’s and Walter’s boy, a much better training, one beyond the ghetto. Walter’s sibling Beneatha wants to use the cash to pay for her college tuition so that she can end up being a medical professional. Walter Lee’s father’s death is what moves the scenarios throughout the play. Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman provides a middle class white family that is having a hard time to move up in the world. Willy Loman is the primary protagonist of the play and believes that through a great character and being favored one can move up the ladder life and reach success. Willy’s beliefs have actually been engrained into his two sons, Biff and Hap; the outcome of Willy’s beliefs has triggered one son to be not successful due to his actions and the other child is on verge of repeating the exact same life as Willy. Both of the plays have a strong style of the “American Dream.” Hansberry’s produces the positive view while Miller’s play shows a very grim outlook on the dream.

Walter Lee wishes to be more than just another man’s motorist. He desires more for his spouse and his son. Walter recognizes that he can never be anything more, he can never go up in his position as a motorist nor can his other half go up in her position as another female’s maid. The insurance cash has the ability to relieve the problem of being static. In order for Walter to seem like a guy and in order for Walter to achieve his dreams he need to produce a company himself. Developing a service will offer him stability, money, and assurance that he is the head of the home. Walter is frustrated because he can never attain this goal, head of the home; his dream is prevented by Mama because she takes authority more than Walter. Starting an organisation will relieve the problem of authority and place Walter into the masculine role. Walter does not wish to work for another male which is a huge contrast to what Willy Loman believes.

Miller’s protagonist Willy Loman believes that being well liked can attain anything in business world, however not as soon as does he ever mention owning his own organisation. Willy only thinks about going up in the company at which he already works. Walter has a bigger dream and understands what it takes. Walter likewise knows that he may stop working and even states, “Invest big, gamble huge, hell, lose huge if you have to, you know what I imply” (Raisin 2.1). Walter understands that gambling might indicate losing everything. Willy represents somebody that is stuck in the old methods, reluctant to change. Walter ought to have a tougher time prospering because of his race, whereas Willy, in theory, should not have a challenging time prospering. Miller’s play provides an America where no one, not even white people have the ability to move up. However, Hansberry’s play reveals that anybody can be successful and have the “American Dream.”

Hansberry’s play shows an “American Dream” for all Americans. The social ramifications are less in Miller’s play, however the end objective is still joy. Lee Jacobus argues that A Raisin in the Sun shows all the traditional worths of the “American Dream:” This play illustrates the American dream as it is felt not just by African-Americans however by all Americans: If you strive and conserve your money, if you hold to the correct worths and hope, then you can buy your own home and have a type of area and personal privacy that permits individuals to reside in dignity. (Jacobus 1214) Willy Loman wanted to be well-liked and the Younger’s simply wished to live someplace with more dignity. The home that the Younger’s occupy reveals the indecency in which they are surrounded, which mentions the dreadful scenarios that surround their whole race. As quickly as Ruth finds out that Mom purchased a house she rejoices, “my time– to state goodbye– to these God-damned splitting walls!– and these marching roaches!– and this cramped little closet which ain’t now or never ever was no cooking area” (Raisin 2.1)! To Mother and Ruth living because place was indecent; it belittled them. Walter’s and Ruth’s child did not have his own space; he needed to sleep on the couch in the living-room. The Youngers are even worse off than the Lomans; that’s not to say that a person worked more difficult than the other, however possible greater inspiration and a better understanding of the “American Dream” did the Youngers have. Arthur Miller’s play can serve as a pointer that the “American Dream” is simply a dream and will not always come true no matter how difficult one works. On the other hand there is A Raisin in the Sun which gives factor to believe that the “American Dream” is alive and real.

Both Miller’s and Hansberry’s plays have the death of a dad which brings hope in both plays. In Death of a Salesperson Willy thought that the life insurance coverage would help his kid Biff. Willy does the supreme sacrifice due to the fact that he thinks that Biff has a better possibility to succeed with the cash. Biff has the capability to let his full prospective shine and be out from under his dad’s shadow. The audience does not know what ever occurs to Biff, however at least there is some hope at the end of the play. In A Raisin in the Sun Walter Sr.’s death provides the Youngers the capability to make a much better life. Walter Sr. worked his whole life in order for his household to have a better life; his death was the final payment which would allow his household the opportunity to live their dream. Death offered both households hope; however, in Miller’s play there was very little hope till the end, but in Hansberry’s play hope is translucented the majority of the play. Walter and Ruth are discussing coming together and how things do not need to be so hard; speaking of the previous Ruth states, “Honey … life do not need to be like this. I imply often individuals can do things so that things are better … you keep in mind how we utilized to talk when Travis was born … about the method we were going to live …” (2.1 ). Ruth and Walter both had hope that they would attain their dreams and help pave a much better future for Travis. The “American Dream” lives even prior to Walter Sr.’s death and flourishes after since of his effort. In both plays death brings hope and strengthens the idea of the “American Dream.”

As stated earlier, the dream in Hansberry’s play can be used to all Americans white or black. Many critics slammed Hansberry for composing the play in this fashion, but no matter what Walter Lee strives to get out of the ghetto and accomplish his dream. Walter’s dream is to be independent, a dream in which Darwin Turner claims to be widely accepted by whites, “Resenting his financial dependence upon his white company and his mother, he specifies manhood as the ability to support and offer luxuries for a family– an idea definitely accepted by many white Americans” (Turner 5). This notion that only whites want to be independent is unreasonable because self-reliance is the exact same as flexibility. Servants desired liberty; the next thing for them to desire would be independence in order to guarantee their happiness. The “American Dream” is not just for one race but for all individuals that concern and are born into the United States of America.

Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesperson both have a strong sense of the “American Dream;” both have their own views on the reality of the dream, but only one offers a positive view in its ending, A Raisin in the Sun. David Cooper believes this to be an extremely uplifting play and states, “It is a play about distress, futility, and catastrophe, but likewise about hope and pride and what type of conviction and commitment it takes to bring hope out of hopelessness, courage out of worry, and idealism out of fatalism” (Cooper 59). Lots of critics thought that Walter Lee was desiring resemble the overbearing white guys who were over him, however the “American Dream” is not just for those guys; it is for anybody, even African-Americans. In Miller’s play a downhearted view of the “American Dream” is seen and it is not till completion that a little glance of hope peaks through for Biff. The audience nevertheless, still does not know what will come of Biff which causes the ending to be abstract, like a dream or a misconception; this ending leaves a cynical outlook on the “American Dream.” Hansberry’s play ends with Walter Lee stepping into his manhood and achieving his dream, leaving hope.

Works Mentioned

Cooper, David D. “Hansberry’s A Raisin In The Sun.” Explicator 52.1 (1993 ): 59. Academic Search Total. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.

Jacobus, Lee. Bedford Intro to Drama, 3rd ed. Boston: Bedford Books, 1997.

Mays, Kelly J. “A Raisin in the Sun.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th ed. New York City: W. W. Norton &&, 2013. 1911-974.

Print. Mays, Kelly J.”Death of a Salesman.” The Norton Introduction to Literature. 11th ed. New York: W. W. Norton &&, 2013. 2109-176. Print.

Turner, Darwin T. “Visions Of Love And Manliness In A Blackening World: Dramas Of Black Life Since 1953.” Black Scholar 25.2 (1995 ): 2. Academic Search Total. Web. 9 Dec. 2013.

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