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deutsch artikel (Interpretation und charakterisierung)

5. comparism between the appearance of the american dream in arthur miller´s "the last yankee" and "death of a salesman"

1. Drama
2. Liebe

In order to understand the changing outlook of the American Dream in the two books written by Arthur Miller, you have to see that "Death of a salesman" was written much earlier than "The last Yankee". Between the two books there is a difference of 44 years, ("Death of a salesman" was published in 1949, "The last Yankee" in 1993!) which means a lot in a persons life. So there was a change in Miller´s own attitude towards life and what he expected of it.
These are the facts appearing in "Death of a salesman":
Willy Loman is a worker who has the vision that he can make it to real whealth. But he has just the vision and is not ready to work real hard for it.
He would have had the opportunity to go with his Uncle Ben, who has the same vision, but he was ready to give something for it, so he went to Africa and startet in the mining business, which made him quite rich.
Willy was offered this chance but he denied and so it is obvious that he is not really willing to invest something in his dreams, he just wants them to become reality by doing nothing.
The only thing he was proud of in his life is that he was liked by the shopkeepers he went to in his younger years on his business trips, but also this situation changed during the years. And even as this situation changed, he was not ready to spend something so this would change again. After realizing that he has lost everything he was proud of, he began to live his vision, but just in his mind, which means he put himself back in the times when everything was still okay for him. But as this is no real solution, he always got into conflicts with the reality that surrounded him.
The same thing happend to his son Biff. Willy always sets himself back into the year of Biff´s senior year at High School, and so he forgot that Biff did fail in math and he never finished his High School. But Willy imagines Biff always as his son who is a member of the famous football team and so everybody else does also have to like him, which is quite wrong as Biff stole several things.
After continuing for several years with his life in a vision, he got more and more tired of life. And this is why he commits sucide in the end. This is the only possible chance for his son Biff to get enough money to start his own business.
So we can see what Miller meant by this final solution: It was more important for him to have enough money in life than having a working social backround without money in masses.

This point of view changed completely 44 years later. Miller wrote "The last Yankee" and here there is a totally changed view of what the American Dream can be.
Leroy Hamilton would have had the chance to use his name in order to lead his the live more easily, but he does not. He is someone who wants to stand upon his own legs, build up something by his own work. And this is what his wife can not understand as she comes out of a famous family where every - body was used to have a certain position in the society just because of their roots.
Out of this misunderstanding, she got so worried about her own life so that she had to be treated in a mental hospital, where she gets to know Karen, the wife of a quite rich former business owner.
The reader has the chance to compare both women while they are talking to each other. And then the feeling arises that Patricia is a totally healthy person and just Karen seems to be ill because in all the dialogues she is not able to response to what Patricia has just said.
So it is not understandable for the reader why Patricia is in this hospital, but he can find out in the end.
It was the conflict between what she was used to from her family and the attitude her husband has. She always wanted him to use his name in order to make life for them more comfortable, but he refused to. So she got in a mental conflict about the knowledge and traditions of her past and what happened in the reality. But as this is just a mental problem, she only had to think about Karen´s situation to find out that she is healthy.
Karen can be found in the opposite situation: she has a quite rich, but not a caring husband. He is a person who had success in his life and so he regards his family as not important.
The reader gets to know that Leroy´s view of leading his life is the right one because he had the chance of using his name in order to make life more comfortable for himself and his family, but he refuses. This is why there is to say: he is a man who truely lives the American Dream.
Leroy Hamilton used his own chance of personal fulfillment.
He had the wish to lead a life just doing the things he likes to. And this starts with searching a job you like, and not searching a job others respect you for. This made Leroy a real sympathic man. He always had his own vision of life and he made it come true. Even more, he was so convinced by his idea of leading one´s life that he even made his wife believe in, which is quite difficult because she had a totally controversery pint of view. But as she feels healthy in the end, the reader gets the impression that Leroy´s attitude is right.
Compared to Mr. Loman, there is a little difference you have to see.
Willy Loman never had the chance of using his name in order to achieve a better life. But Arthur Miller gave another solution in "Death of a salesman": this solution appears in form of his dead brother Ben.
He had the same wish, to be rich and whealthy, but he was ready to work for it, which Willy certainly was not. Willy preferred to think that his dreams would become reality by time without doing anything for it. So he escaped in the times when the future seemed still okay.
So you can say that Willy never made it out of his low position because he was no ready to do something for it. And Leroy, who had the chance of making it to a higher social position, did not use this chance because it was not what he wanted in his life.
So Leroy is the only person in these two books by Arthur Miller who really lived the American Dream.
He used his chance of personal fulfilment combined with his equality and dignity to make his life for himself satisfying and worth living for. This is what Willy Loman never managed to and that is also the reason why he commited suicide in the end.



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