The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)

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We ordinary mortals want to turn against him, for what excuse does it leave us? Franklin maintains that cheats fail and honest men rise.

But the Franklin portrayed in the Autobiography allows us older people little comfort for our comparative failure. The laws of physics, the moral wisdom of the ancients, and our own visions of reality say that everything rises but to fall. Both Richard e. See Jeremy Bernstein, Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed. Franklin to Priestley on moral algebra, 19 September , in Smyth, —38; Franklin to Kames, 3 may , in P, —5; Autobiography, p.

Wecter, p. Blom, , pp. Hertford: Ballad Society, —99 , —91; and claude m. On the West as terrestrial paradise, see William H. On the translatio idea the theory of the westward movement of civilization , see Rexmond c.

The American Dream -- Englisch --

Simpson, ed. Although he gives no indication of being aware of the intellectual and historical backgrounds of these motifs, Paul W. Autobiography, pp. Adams, Works, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin James m.

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Poor Richard, October , in P, See my remarks toward a definition of the American Dream in Men of Letters, pp. P, 3:xiv and The quotation is from Sallust, The War with Catiline, chap. Rolfe, trans. Seltzer, , pp. See especially Herbert W. Super Ann Arbor: University of michigan Press, — , P, See the biographical sketch in the Autobiography, p. Smyth, P, — Sallust, The War with Jugurtha, chap. Brown, Lloyd W. But, to repeat, Hughes associates these revolutionary notions with only an image of childhood innocence.

When one considers the fact of Black enslavement, the disenfranchisement of large groups, and the disadvantages of women, to name but a few areas, there seems little basis, apart from the usual dreams of American mythology, to believe that the American rebellion involved a fundamental re-struc- turing of the social order.

The preoccupation with an image rather than with the reality of revolution fits in with the American Dream of innovative transformations and novel beginnings. I do not offer these observations by way of registering a complaint. Whether or not there should have been a real revolution, of whatever kind, in the course of American history is not my main objective here. So that writers like Langston Hughes are exploring the nature of these revolutionary inclinations in order to determine whether they are fundamental revolutions against the majority dream and culture as a whole, or whether they are actually rebellious attempts to break down barriers to their realization of the majority dream.

The acid reminders of a tradition of revolutionary rhetoric are really taunts directed at the majority culture rather than some species of exhortation aimed at Black Americans. The child-identity minimizes the possibilities of such a posture, at the same time that it emphasizes the Black American as child-heir to the American dream-legacy of freedom, equality, and individual fulfillment. What happens to a dream deferred?

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Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore— And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over— like a syrupy sweet? Or does it explode? But here again it must be emphasized that Hughes does not explore this legacy of revolution in any exhortatory sense. That is, he obviously identifies with the Black rebel-heirs to the American Dream—indeed their rebellion is the very essence of his own poetic protest—but he does this without necessarily espousing any concept of a radically transforming revolution.

The point is not that Hughes is being hypocritical, or even muddle-headed; rather that his interest in sociopolitical reform is sharply defined by his basic loyalty to the unfulfilled promises of the American Revolution. So that in the final analysis his overall protest is not that the deferred dream is non-revo- lutionist but, quite simply, that it has been deferred. America is a dream. The poet says it was promises. The people say it is promises— that will come true. Who is America? You, me!

We are America! At the same time, the distinction which he offers between the quasi-revolutionary scepticism of the poet-intellectual and the firm faith of the masses, has significant implications for pro-revolutionary themes in Black American literature, especially since the sixties. For, in general, what one finds in these themes is an emphasis on the Black artist-intellec- tual as the revolutionary archetype whose mission is the bringing of a revolutionist consciousness to the supposedly receptive Black masses. The Revolutionary Theatre must take dreams and give them a reality.

Americans will hate the Revolutionary Theatre because it will be out to destroy them and whatever they believe is real. The force we want is of twenty million spooks storming America with furious cries and unstoppable weapons. We want actual explosions and actual brutality.

And a Black World. On the other hand, the current trend in Black revolutionary literature assumes a rather easy identification of the artist with some mass revolutionary taste, a taste, one should add, that is often postulated but never really demonstrated as fact. Death of a Salesman is centrally concerned with dreams and dreaming. What are the dreams of its protagonist, Willy Loman? What is their worth? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens? All right, boy. He had a good dream. Willy is dreaming, in a literal sense, throughout much of the play. And i was fine. You can imagine, me looking at scenery, on the road every week of my life.

This is an important passage in setting up the way the tragedy will unfold. Later, when he makes just this request, he is spurned on the basis of pure business calculations. Willy is drawn to death. We learn later that he has attached a little hose to the gas line in his basement and is flirting with the idea of suicide. At the end of the play he carries through with it, appar- ently by crashing his car. Throughout the play he slips his moor- ings, comes unstuck in time, and is living through a past event while, in some cases, still interacting with those who are in his present.

A small glimpse of this phenomenon is visible in the passage above, when he tells Linda that he opened the windshield to enjoy the warm air. Death of a Salesman Whether we consider these events daydreams or reveries, they are a crucial part of the play. So are the past moments supposed to be entirely believable? And why not?

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Biff is as given to fantasizing and dishonest braggadocio as Willy, until the end, and Happy has the same traits, on a mundane level, mostly about his sexual conquests. There has been a great deal of discussion about the question of tragedy in Death of a Salesman, most of it focusing on the unadmirable protagonist, Willy Loman.

Linda is simply baffled. Only Biff seems to judge adequately:.

Biff: He had the wrong dreams. All, all, wrong. Biff: He never knew who he was. Or was he wrong in his way of going about realizing them? Willy would like to have his refrigerator paid for and be freed from nagging financial worries, but except for wistful reflections on his brother Ben, he never seems to aspire to great wealth. He likes the idea of many people coming to his funeral in the end there are five in attendance.

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He stifles his doubts, though, submerging them in his dream that business success comes from personality. America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people. And they know me, boys, they know me up and down new england. The finest people. Biff is popular that cellar full of admirers , handsome, and athletic.

The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)
The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes) The American Dream (Blooms Literary Themes)

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