“The Great Gatsby” and “Death of a Salesman”

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Throughout the works of The Great Gatsby and “Death of a Salesman,” we see Willy and Gatsby don’t have a lot in common. Gatsby throws crazy parties and is a shady businessman on the side. Willy just can’t even get his crap together to begin with. But as you get to know the characters more and more you see that they aren’t as different as you think. The dreams they have, the relationships with the women in their lives, and,finally, their obsession with the past all share a similarity with each other.

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The green light in the novel The Great Gatsby is symbolic of both the American Dream and Gatsby’s hopes for later on in life. Gatsby refers it to Daisy in the first chapter of the book. “Nothing except a single green light, minuet and far away, that might have been at the end of a dock” (21). Willy Loman’s dream was to be a well-liked successful salesman.
“WILLY: Don’t say? Tell you a secret, boys. Don’t breathe it to a soul. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more.
HAPPY: Like Uncle Charley, heh?
WILLY: Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not liked. He’s liked, but he’s not—well liked”. (Act 1). The dreams and hopes that Gatsby and Willy have might not be the same exact thing, but at the end of the day they are both just trying the live the American Dream.
Although Daisy and Linda don’t have much in common, the men in their lives both had the same goal, and that was to give their lady the best possible life. “It was a strange coincidence,” I said.
“But it wasn’t a coincidence at all.”
“Why not?”
“Gatsby bought that house so that Daisy would be just across the bay.” (137-140). In that quote we see that Gatsby loved her so much he bought the house right across from her just so that he can see her and one day try and win her back. Willy is just trying to put food on the table and be the man of the house like he should be, but just he just has so many struggles and challenges that he needs to get through. Linda was a very sweet woman and only wanted the best for willy. “I don’t say he’s a great man. Willy Loman never made a lot of money. His name was never in the paper. He’s not the finest character that ever lived. But he’s a human being, and a terrible thing is happening to him. So attention must be paid. He’s not to be allowed to fall into his grave like an old dog. Attention, attention must be finally paid to such a person”. (40). The woman in both Willy and Gatsby’s life both just wanted good things from them, but at the end of both books it doesn’t quite end up like that.

Finally there is one more thing these two iconic men have in the common, and that is their obsession with the past. There is a love/hate relationship that Gatsby has with the past. Gatsby loves the past because of how it was back then it was just a much simpler time, people had actual values that they kept too. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past”. (149-153). On the other hand we see Gatsby also tries staying away from his past because as we know he changed his name from James Gatz a very poor person that couldn’t afford anything to Jay Gatsby the person who throws the most amazing parties and is so wealthy. Willy is also obsessed with the past because that is the time Willy could have maybe actually achieved the American dream. The passed allows him to ignore his mistakes. Willy is just trying to escape his depression.

“WILLY: I got an awful scare. Nearly hit a kid in Yonkers. God! Why didn’t I go to Alaska with my brother Ben that time! Ben! That man was a genius, that man was success incarnate! What a mistake! He begged me to go”. (Act 1).
In conclusion Willy and Gatsby have a lot more in common than most people think. The dreams they have, the relationships with the women in their lives, and,finally, their obsession with the past all share a similarity with each other. The Great Gatsby and “Death of a Salesman,” are both amazing books/plays and we see the two main characters Willy and Gatsby both had one main goal and that was the American Dream.

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"The Great Gatsby" and “Death of a Salesman”. (2021, Jan 25). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/the-great-gatsby-and-death-of-a-salesman/