There are many ways in which the two films represent what is to be considered the American dream. Yet both show it from different perspectives. One is what many people think the American dream is while the other one is unlikely to be thought of as a dream at all. In Citizen Kane, the American dream is to be considered as having plenty of wealth and plenty of influence on the world around you. In the movie it shows that Charles was easily able to influence the world around him. Once he hired the ‘best’ team of writers, his paper started having some power behind it. Also, he had 60 million dollars when he was finally out of custody of the bank. Therefore giving him power over many of the people around him. In Death of a Salesman, Willie thinks that to achieve the American dream is to be liked by everyone you know. It is expressed in this film by how he always tries to impress his boss but ends up failing at it. He also tries very hard for his sons to like him although this too doesn’t workout very well. His sons used to look up to him when they were younger but now one of them doesn’t due to the fact that he has cheated on his wife.
The one thing to be taken away from these films is that what others might think creates happiness is not always true. In Citizen Kane, Charles has everything society thinks you need to be happy. Wealth. Kane believes he will be happy if he spends his money on nice, exotic, and expensive things. Even though Kane has enough money to pretty much buy anything he wants, he still can not find any happiness. Something else that he thinks would make him happy would be his wife. His first wife only made him happy for a short time until he went off with his second wife Susan. Susan made him somewhat happy but she did not like the way she was being treated. So, in turn she has ended up leaving him causing Kane to flip out and in turn make him unhappy again. In death of a salesman, Willie always is trying to please his boss and everyone around him hoping they like him. He spends so much of his time worrying what other people think about him and stressing over it he isn’t able to enjoy things in like. Just like with his son Biff, Willie wants him to be proud of him and respect him but Biff knows something that makes him unlikely of respecting him. SO basically, the single message that should be taken from this is that you should find your own way of being happy instead of going after the american dream which is not a fitting choice for everyone.
These two works and their messages are still relevant today because people today are still trying to go after the ‘American Dream’. People should realize that there is not only one thing that can make everyone happy. What should be the american dream is that you can live a free life and choose what people to be around with an overall goal of being happy. One way we see the elements of this story is in Death of a Salesman. Willie has been working very hard for most of his life but still ends up being fired. In many jobs today, businesses are cutting many people to save money. Also, with how many years Willie has been working, he still doesn’t get paid much. He gets paid just enough to support his family. Many people in America are the same way either living in poverty or just above it and only having enough for their family and not to much for luxury things. Citizen Kane’s way of tying in is that many of today’s rich people end up too involved in their work to spend much of their time with their family. Also, they end up with lots of stress with the amount of work and the difficulty of it.