Life of Pi

Topics: Sociology, Death of a Salesman, Norm Pages: 4 (1276 words) Published: August 31, 2010
“The relationship between an individual and his or her society is responsible for the sacrifices he or she makes.” Discuss this statement making close reference to Death of a Salesman and American Beauty.

Ideas and qualities of acceptable standards that is considered worthwhile in society, pressures the relationship between an individual and his or her society due to the risk of social rejection. By accepting these social norms the individual is forced into the pursuit of the American Dream of that context whilst the rejection of the American Dream also leads to social rejection. Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman looks at the notion of the American Dream and the consequences one faces by valuing and devaluing social certain social ideals. Sam Mendez directs the story told in American Beauty of one man’s search for happiness after the realisation of the inadequate satisfaction the Dream presented. Both these texts looks at the illusion one lives during the pursuit of achieving the social norm and the sacrifices the individual makes to achieve this goal.

The two main characters featured in Death of a Salesman and American Beauty, Willy Loman and Lester Burnham; experience the pressures from social expectations in pursuing and achieving the American Dream. These characters pursue similar dreams of social respect and image which is highlighted throughout the play and in the beginning of the film. Image and how the society perceives an individual, in Death of a Salesman, is an important aspect in the pursuit of the Dream. Willy refuses to let society know that he is in desperation to fulfil the criteria of the Dream in the post-Depression time resulting to his rapid psychological decline due to the refusal to accept the gap between his dream and the reality. Willy’s values concerning one’s image and materialism is highlighted in his flashbacks through Happy’s repetition of ‘“I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop?”’ portraying the obsession with self image...
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