The “American Dream” is “the belief that through the pioneer virtues of hard work, perseverance, ingenuity, and fortitude, one might find happiness through wealth” (“Death of a Salesman”). This is the center of our lives as Americans; we all want to accomplish it one way or another. The concept of the American Dream shown in the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller is believed by Harold Clurman to be divided into two meanings; the historical dream and the business success dream. In our society the biggest achievement is when you buy your own house, and live with a stable job, it does not have to be a high paying job but one that allows you to pay your bills and live a decent life, if you have this then you have achieved the historical dream. In the other hand if you have a high paying job in the corporate world; meaning a white collar job, and although you might or might not own a house but you earn more than enough for your living expenses then that is consider to be the business success dream. Willie Loman had already achieved the historical drea…
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…” Juvenile and Young Adult Literature Series.(Feb. 2005). Magill On Literature Plus Ebscohost. City U of New York Lib. 14 Nov. 2006 .
Miller, Arthur. “Death of a Salesman.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. 4th compact ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, 2005. 1194-1266.
Murphy, Brenda and Susan C.W. Abbotson. “Death of a Salesman’s Impact on American Culture.” Understanding Death of a Salesman. Ed. Claudia Durst Jhonson. Westport CT.: Greenwood Press, 1999. 197-201.
Murphy, Brenda and Susan C.W. Abbotson. “The Significance of Death of a Salesman’s” Understanding Death of a Salesman. Ed. Claudia Durst Jhonson. Westport CT.: Greenwood Press, 1999. 4-7.
Stanton, Kay. “Women and the American Dream of Death of a Salesman.” Willy Loman. Ed. Harold Bloom. USA: Chelsea, 1991. 129-153.
Metamorphosis of Celie in Alice Walker’s Color Purple
Metamorphosis of Celie in The Color Purple
In the book The Color Purple (1982) by Alice Walker, the main character Celie develops from an abused, shy and browbeaten teenage girl into a strong, mature and self-confident woman. This metamorphisis is due to five major factors: Celie observes other successful women, she receives love and appreciation, changes in Celie’s view of God, Celie’s maturation and a bit of luck.
As Celie is brought up, her father sexually molests her over and over again, making her pregnant twice. And as a girl of fourteen, she has to marry an older man named Albert. Albert also bullies Celie as well as beats her. Celie does not know how to fight back. “All I know how to do is stay alive”, she says (18). But some things start changing around Celie. Being married to Albert, she meets other women that show her different ways of fighting back.
Sofia, who is married to Albert’s son Harpo, is a big and strong woman. Whenever Harpo tries to beat Sofia up in order to make her obey him, Sofia always fights back, even harder. Celie looks up to Sofia, and the knowledge that a female can physically strike back is strengthening for Celie.
Another woman that shows Celie that women can and are allowed to be successful is the singing queen Shug Avery. Shug is a well-known singer that almost every man admires. She, therefore, has the power to control them. Once again Celie is being taught that a woman can succeed and rule over her own life.
The third woman that has an important role in Celie’s life is her own sister, Nettie, who is living away from Celie most part of her life, but who anyway stays in contact with Celie through a number of letters. Nettie was always said to be the most clever, good and b…
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…and last main reason for Celie’s development. Firstly, Celie happens to find out that the father that she grew up with was not her real father. Her biological father was a better and much more successful man. Knowing that her family bonds were quite good after all strenghens Celie by making her feel better inside. Secondly, the inheritance of a house and money after the father makes it possible for Celie to become richer and fulfill some of her dreams.
All the reasons mentioned above lead to Celie’s development into a strong, mature and self-confident woman who manages to leave her abusing husband, run an industry and a store, and become independent in many other ways. Celie’s own saying illustrates this new independence perfectly: “If she [Shug] come, I be happy. If she don’t, I be content. And then I figure this the lesson I was suppose to learn” (290).