What is the American Dream? Seeing the American dream through the eyes of others in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. To prepare for our discussion, please read •Act I of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman Miller, Arthur (1949) Death of a Salesman. ACT I. [Premiered on Broadway in New York, recipient of 1949 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play]. Retrieved from http://www(dot)polyester(dot)org/literature/ArthurMiller/Miller_Salesman.pdf •“The American Dream in ‘Death of a Salesman.’” Bradford, Wade “The American Dream in ‘Death of a Salesman.’” [What does Willie Loman sell?]. Retrieved from About.com at http://plays(dot)about(dot)com/od/plays/a/themesales.htm As you read the first act of the play and Bradford’s article, think about the following questions: 1. How would you define the “American Dream”? 2. How do you think the play’s protagonist, Willie Loman, would define the “American Dream”? 3. How would Willie’s sons define the “American Dream”? 4. What values do you see Willie trying to instill in his sons? 5. Based on your reading of the first act in Death of a Salesman, what do you think the dramatist, Arthur Miller, could be saying about the “American Dream” and/or American values? 6. What lines from Act I could you use to support your responses on questions 2 through 5? Wade Bradford, in his “American Dream” article about Miller’s Death of a Salesman, states: “It has often been said that Death of a Salesman is a harsh criticism of the American Dream. However, it may be that Miller wanted to clarify our definition: What is the American Dream? The answer depends on which character you ask.” In an initial response of no less than 250 words, respond to the following question: Describe your reaction to the first act in Death of a Salesman, sharing your thoughts on what it means to pursue the “American Dream” and what the play could be saying about pursuing some version of the “American Dream,” using at least two (2) quotes from a character to illustrate and support your points.
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