Marina, Andrew, David, Melvin
July 29th, 2014
The Essence of Success
“I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” (Cosby) Success is achieved not through popularity and personal connections, but rather through hard work, intellect and luck. In Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and Miller’s Death of A Salesman, the protagonists are confronted with challenges in the pursuit of success, which they try to overcome through status and reputation. Despite their similar circumstances, Gatsby and Loman’s decisions force them to face the inevitability of failure on the road to happiness. Due to the virtues and values propagated by the idea of the American Dream, Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman fail in their endeavors to achieve success. The definition of success is having both love and material happiness that proudly co-exist in the body of the American dream. Each, seperately prove as a challenge to obtain, yet very much possible nonetheless. In The Great Gatsby, the protagonist manages to attain material happiness with the vast amount of riches he possesses with a grand mansion and over a dozen servants to do his bidding. Even with all this, he is never truly happy and life to him is not yet complete. His fortune as it turns out is nothing but a ruse for the love of his life in which he works five years towards. "But it wasn't a coincidence at all...Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay" (Fitzgerald, 78). Scott Fitzgerald is depicting the message that love overrules materialistic views and that life is useless without someone to share it with. In Death of a Salesman, the father figure is a loving character who cares for nothing but providing for his family. He loves his family so much that he goes mad with stress and anger that he does not have the fortune to provide for them and keep them safe of harm’s way. "You're my foundation and my support, Linda" (Miller, 18). Arthur Miller is emphasizing that love is just as important as personal fortune. Yet money is required to keep them safe and provide a life of fulfillment. He is not capable of obtaining the means to make such a fortune and struggles to do so for the rest of his short life. Both works include the protagonists having one of the two requirements for a happy and successful life. Their hardships portray the path to gaining the missing piece to their life. Gatsby has money but no love for it to go towards any unselfish use, Willy has love in family but no money to support them in their future endeavors. They are both unable to obtain true happiness and success, and the authors exaggerate this message through the protagonist's eventual deaths. Their constant, endless struggles to reaching their near impossible goals lead them to their graves. Although love and material success are polar opposites, it is still very much possible to earn both and still be happy. Without a positive mindset or the right motivation, a goal may feel more difficult to accomplish than it seems. However, with strong qualities such as a powerful mentality which is shown by the protagonists from both works, such goals can be achieved. These characters demonstrate their determination through their continued effort in attaining the American Dream. Gatsby is seen as a hard working character throughout the novel. His remarkable work ethics are recognized by his father. “Jimmy was bound to get ahead. He always had some resolves like this or something. Do you notice what he’s got about improving his mind?” (pg. 173) The high achiever’s continuous strive is proven by the organized schedule he created as a young boy. This willpower is what brings the protagonist so close to the American Dream. These similar characteristics are witnessed through Willy as well. The aging character demonstrates high perseverance in several situations which he encounters. With a loving wife who repeatedly gives reminders of unpaid expenses...
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