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The american dream can be defined as “a happy way of living that can be achieved by anyone by working hard and becoming successful”. The vigorous journey of the pursuit of the American Dream can be achieved by any individual who is willing to invest their time, resources and energy in accomplishing their goals. This investment will bring forth both financial and social success and heighten the status of those individuals. However, at any time the dream can be destroyed by greed, and the pursuit of gaining material possessions while neglecting their own emotions and the well being of others. In the novels The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, both authors illustrate and critique the reality of the American Dream. Mainly through the protagonist Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman, they are perceived to be ignorant in believing that in order to be completely happy in life you must be successful, wealthy and popular. Several characters in both literatures are blinded by the pursuit of their futile American Dream, contrary to their class, gender and values, their behaviours and decisions leave them with a false perception of this lifestyle, which ultimately leads to their downfall. It is established throughout both novels that social status and wealth influences and moulds the characters. Each character believes that in order to achieve the American dream and to be completely happy and successful they must be apart of the upper class. In The Great Gatsby, there are three distinct separation of social class. East Egg reflects a higher class society where the people are inherently wealthy, also considered ‘old money’, the people of West Egg are wealthy as well but have only become rich recently, often referred to ‘new money’, and the Valley of Ashes is inhabited by the lower class. Myrtle Wilson, who represents the low and ignorant class, lives in the Valley of Ashes, she despises her life and is unhappy with the lack of money and status her husband brings her. She idolises the city and upper class where she sees money and glamour as she desperately wants to become a sophisticated, wealthy women. Myrtle, for a short period of time,  is able to break the social barriers of society but must put up a facade to do so. “I told that boy about the ice.” Myrtle raised her eyebrows in despair at the shiftlessness of the lower orders. “These people! You have to keep after them all the time” (Fitzgerald 32). Myrtle acts like a snob and criticizes the lower class despite the fact that she herself is of lower class. She presumes that if she marries Tom, and buys expensive items for their apartment she will be able to advance her social ranking and truly be content with life. She puts all of her hopes into material items and the idealism that she can be apart of the upper class. Likewise, Willy Loman is a middle-low class businessman, he presumes that any man who is good looking, well-liked and charismatic deserves success and wealth. Over the course of his lifetime, he is disillusioned by the impossible measures of his dream. He fails to achieve the financial success promised, but still rather buy into the dream meticulously that he ignores the substantial things around him. “Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead” (Miller find pg). Willy truly believes that in order to prosper in life you must earn the respect of others and they will help carry you through life. Willy was a failure as he tried desperately to climb out of his social class. As a result, he not only loses grasp on reality but also loses his mind. While pursuing success Willy hopes it will bring his family security. Both Myrtle and Willy’s determination to live up to their American Dream and too seek material possessions and happiness only take their lives. As Myrtle is hit by Gatsby’s car while running onto the street to confront Tom and Willy takes his own life in order to get his family his life insurance money. This establishes that the American Dream, while a powerful vehicle of aspiration, can turn a person into a commodity whose sole value is financial worth.   

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