The struggle for making it big and living wealthy has always been extremely relevant in the American culture. Everybody wants to be the top-dog, the alpha-male, and the king amongst his people. The Death of a Salesman and A Raisin the Sun are two tales about this struggle. They are about these two classic American families around the 1940’s that depict the common way of life along with the many tribulations that come with it. The book Death of a Salesman is about a typical white family living in New York, while the other book, A Raisin in the Sun is a typical black family in living Chicago. Although they may seem normal, they actually have many problems and differences that set them apart from other families and each other. They also share some similarities that you might not expect. I will be comparing and contrasting these two great plays.
In both stories the father is the main character or the center of attention throughout the books. They can be the protagonist and the antagonist because of how much their roles change in the plays. They both have goals to be their own boss and own their own business. They want live wealthy. Like when Walter says “ No--It was always money, Mama. we just didn't know about it”(Hansberry, ). I think this shows the eagerness and anxiety that Walter feels toward making money. In this pursuit of wealth they both end up betraying their families in one or many ways. For example, Walter Lee wanted to get involved in the liquor business and his mother received a check from her husband’s life insurance for ten thousand dollars. Walter Lee’s plan was to persuade her into giving him the money so he can invest into starting his business. His mother, after spending money on her dream, gave him what was left as long as he used three thousand dollars for his sister Beneatha’s medical school. What Walter decides to do is the climax of the story. He uses all the money and the then trusts that Willy(a so-called friend of his) will invest it for him but instead Willy runs off with the money and leaves Walter right back where he started, with nothing. Now Willy from Death of a Salesman betrayed his family by firstly, having an affair while he was suppose to be making sales and supporting his family. Then he ends up killing himself and taking the easy way out of his problems instead of confronting them.
Another comparison that can be made is the similarities and differences between Linda from the Death of a Salesman and Leena from A Raisin in the Sun. In the beginning, Leena seemed to be more stressed and tired than Linda like when she yells at travis in one of her first lines in the play saying “I say hurry up! You ain't the only person in the world that got to use a bathroom!(Hansberry,25) As to Linda who comes off as loving and a peacekeeper about her sons being home when she says “You know he admires, I think if he finds himself, then you’ll both be happier and not fight anymore”(Miller,15). This can make it seem that Linda appreciates her family more than Ruth, but in my opinion, she is like that because she is a bit naive of what her husband and son’s do. A similarity is that both of these wives were never fully respected and were being verbally abused. This can mean that the novels are a bit sexist, in the way the women are always being treated inferior to men. This judgement can be thrown out at the end when the wives ironically are in better position than the men at the end of the novels. In the end of the novel, Linda comes out and says she can't shed a tear for her husbands death after all the time she stood by him. In Leena’s case, it isn't as ironic but she turns out having a nice place to raise her son and her new baby. So what does this all mean? Well i believe that through hardship and pain the honest and righteous will stand tall at the end.
I believe one of the most obvious differences is the that one family had an advantage over the other or a better opportunity in America because of the color of the skin. That family was the Loman’s, a white american family. I’m not saying that they were spoon-fed the chance to be rich. What i'm getting at is that during this time frame there was a lot of racism and oppression towards black families and their communities and their way of life. This also might be the reason God was more present in A Raisin in the Sun than in Death of a Salesman. The Loman’s never even mention God unless they were swearing. They both also lived in typical locations where a struggling black and white family would live. The Loman’s had a small house in New York. The Youngers lived in a cramped apartment. This shows that the Youngers would be more likely to be stressed and frustrated, and they were. The Youngers had no choice but to be more involved in each others lives because of how close they lived together. With the Lomans, it was much different, they were sometimes clueless of what everyone else was doing. like when biff and Linda were talking and Biff tells her “I stole a suit in Kansas city and I was in jail”(Miller,31). This shows that the Loman’s didn't have the togetherness that was present in the Youngers household.
In conclusion the struggle shouldn't be about the pursuit of wealth, it should be the pursuit of happiness and if wealth is your happiness then i feel sorry for your lifestyle choice. What brings people together is love and compassion for one another not how much money you have or how big your house is or what name brand you are wearing. Many people have forgotten that and i think thats why our government is so corrupt and is run by the wealthiest who only plan on staying wealthy and helping the the wealthy stay in control. These guys in control don't care about us, they are just of bunch of bloodthirsty blood hounds only promising change if its in their benefit. If i were to pick the better family, i would have to pick the Youngers. At the end of the book they were given an option to pick money or pride and they stood by their values and chose to stick together as a family. The Younger’s, in my opinion chose the true American dream. Willy chose a different path and well, you know what happened to him.
“Ordinary riches can be stolen, real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you”-Oscar Wilde
Are you being poisoned? Do you know if your country is being attacked? This book covers the whole experience of a deadly bioterrorist disease spreading in a town in New Jersey. This book has essentially two main characters. One character is Cora Holman, whose mom was the first to experience a brain aneurysm from a disease that they know nothing of. All the way on the other side of the globe is a 16 year-old Pakistani boy named Shahzad Hamdani, who spies on his computer in an internet cafe. He is the one who figured out that the disease is an attack by terrorist and he is getting to the bottom of it. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who loves to read thrillers and mysteries.
A theme in the book that I believe stands out over all is that we go through many drastic changes in life and sometimes they can really impact us and the way we act. For instance, Cora was very shy in high school and didn't have many friends but when her mother died and her neighbors mother died, they connected and then she was introduced to more people. Another drastic change was with Shahzad, who had to move from Pakistan all the way to New Jersey to work for a government agency. Shahzad liked to stay in his internet cafe and alienate himself from the world. Now Shahzad is doing the same job but he is now more involved and closer to the action. You can see that this is important to the theme because they are building stronger character and finding themselves in this journey. The setting is typical for this book because it was post 9/11 and it hits home to many families who were close to tragic scenes that occurred on that day. It this took place in another setting the overall story would be the same but it wouldn't have that extra touch. I felt like the beginning was very boring at first.
Streams of Babel took a while to sit in and get the plot started but then it became really interesting. The end was amazing and shocked me completely. Streams of Babel had many different first-person views. I would be reading about Cora and then the next chapter would be Owen and then Shazad. Chapter by Chapter they would be linked closer and closer. It came off as confusing but then when I settled down and re-skimmed a little, it was intense and had me wanting to read more and more.
I believe when the author writes "Yo, Expensive! We can read the online newspapers ourselves"(pg.77, Plum-Ucci) she is trying emphasize the way Americans can be so condescending to other nationalities. Another interesting sentence is when Cora says "We had a zombielike conversation"(pg.243, Plum-Ucci). I think this was a way to make the book relatable to teens. She could have easily said awkward or dull but instead she chose zombielike. I also think that the way Carol Plum-Ucci uses 6 different characters in first person shows how she wants us to see different views. For example, Cora is sitting down at her mom's’ funeral and in her neighbor's point of view she says “Look at Cora sitting so perfectly” (pg 110, Plum-Ucci). As Cora thinks to herself, she says “I don't know what to think or what to do, all i can do is sit here and watch” (pg,112, Plum-Ucci). This is important because it really details the personality of each Character.
The effect of Alesse dying was that Owen and Cora met because his mom died as well. This is major because now that they're friends, they try to figure the reason why theirs mothers died. When Shahzad comes to America he gets more involved. He later finds out that the terrorist aren't from another nation at all but in fact, the terrorist is Cora’s father. another important effect is that, because Cora And Owen couldn't reach the lobby floor in time, the terrorist got away. On goodreads.com Josamarie said “Fast paced and mildly interesting, everything wrapped up a little too neatly for me”. I agree with this because it was a good read but it was also an easy read. I agree with “The switching between characters every chapter kept the pace racing along and kept me at the edge of my seat”(goodreads.com, Katrina). It was neat the way the characters would transition, it would keep climaxing and then it would switch to another character. I disagree with this “I was unsatisfied with the ending. Interesting premise, but poorly carried out”(goodreads.com, Erin). I disagree with this because the best part of the book was the ending.
In conclusion, Streams of Babel was interesting but wasn't a top tier book. It took awhile to build up but ended with a cliffhanger. there is a sequel out and I don't think I would personally go out and read it. My book was also suppose to be relatable to teens and I didn't really feel that way. Overall, I think that a theme from the book that can be taken out is that there are many dangers that lurk in our world and if we help each other we can stop it.