What Is Willy's Rejection Of The American Dream

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Willy’s rejection of reality, stems from his fear of recognizing the mounting evidence of his failure to fulfill his desires and expectations. Willy’s concept of “success” is defined by the capitalist values of American society. Willy evaluates his life in terms of material success, shaped by the search of the American Dream. He adheres to the belief that if he works hard enough, he will be rewarded. An example of Willy relating his concept of success, can be seen when he makes an effort to find himself a position in New York. While speaking to Howard Willy explains that he associates the business of selling with Dave Singleman, his idol whom he met in his youth. Dave was still working at eighty-four. With admiration Willy declares “he’d go up to his room ... and pick up his phone and call the buyers, and without ever leaving his room, at the age of eighty-four, he made his living. And when I saw…show more content…
But he desperately holds onto the ideals thrust upon him by the American Dream instead of recognizing the inherent fantasy in them. In a central moment to the play, as Howard informs Willy that the firm is firing him, Willy utters: "I put thirty-four years into this firm, Howard, and now I can 't pay my insurance! You can 't eat the orange and throw the peel away-a man is not a piece of fruit!" Willy then reflects on a moment when he “averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in the year of 1928” (pg.60) He uses this example, from twenty years prior, to illustrate that he has long been an asset to the company. But as mentioned in his confession, the height of his career occurred two decades before he faces Howard, and yet he does not acknowledge that he has been sliding downhill in sales since. He refuses to recognize his own participation in his downfall, and he retreats into the past, which he desperately wants to believe offers an accurate reflection of his previous
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