Oh, the allusive American Dream. Everyone, American or not, wants to achieve it. Though the real question is: what is the American Dream? Well it’s really a historical thing, goes way back to when America was trying to gain immigrants. They assumed that creating this glamorous idea of life, people would be eager to migrate to USA. The original American Dream was that a richer, fuller life was available to all. That pretty much means that status is achieved not ascribed. Whether you’re born into the poorest of the poor, or the richest of the rich, everyone has equal opportunity. But don’t be confused, American Dream is not really about money at all, but rather about social class/standing.
Like everything, the American Dream evolved into something new. The modern Dream is to have a nice home (yes, with a white picket fence), a family (preferably one son and one daughter), while having a good stable job, so you can provide finically for your family (the man should really be the one bringing home the bacon).
Miller’s All my Sons is a great example the American Dream gone wrong. Two constant themes throughout the short (and in my opinion, boring) play were: greed ending in death, and nothing is more important than family. Both these themes go right back to the American Dream, the need for money and the need to have a perfect family. The play takes place in a time when the American Dream was both, the original definition and the modern one (a transition stage if you will). So in short, Joe Keller (or if your not good with names, the dad) truly did live out the dream. He went from a 10 year old boy living on the streets, to a comfortably- wealthy man, living in a nice home with his two sons. Joe’s problem was he always wanted more. Joe threw all his morals out the window just so he could achieve the dream.
Joe Keller, to the outside world is just an average Joe, but he has some dark secrets that tear his world apart. He has made his life all about achieving the American Dream, but at what cost? In the play we see him lose sight of what’s really important, like family and values, just to reach some silly dream. To him is doesn’t matter how it’s achieved, just that it is.
He had a happy family, nice home, financial stability, but that wasn’t good enough. By the end of the play, he risks it all, and loses both his sons (one to war and one because of his poor choices), loses his money (when the town heard the news he surely would be put in jail and his factory closed) and eventually his life. The way one achieves the American Dream is just as important as the dream itself. It’s the journey not the destination.