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Portefolio: The American Self-made Man

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INTRODUCTION. Self Made Man by Carlyle Bobbie (1996)

I chose this visual art document: it is a bronze statue that represents a man who sculpts his own body. I find this artistic work corresponds perfectly to the image of the self-made man since it is someone who achieved the success with his own hark work and who come up the social, economic or financial ladder by one’s self, without asking for or taking help. It is a person who creates his own business with the only strength of his hands – talissaantr

The Great Gatsby - Extract from chapter 9.

In this document, we can read how James (“Jimmy”) Gatsby made his father proud with his success and money ; since he was able to offer him a home. We also note that from a very young age, Gatsby imposes a very strict routine and a discipline that explicitly shows his determination. It sets rules to follow and this is obviously the recipe for its success. Gatsby’s determination is not driven by a need for money, nor luxury nor celebrity. His real motivation is to find and win back the woman he has always loved, and that is surely what drove him to his success because it is obsessive. Gatsby, on the other hand, refrained from revealing where its success came from, since it was likely based on criminal activities. In his lifetime he likes to organize grandiose parties to which many people come to have fun without knowing who Gastby really is ; that is why Gatsby dies in total indifference and there is a great paradox between his fortune and his person. It also illustrates the “dark” side of this illegal achievement, stimulated by his passion for Daisy, he almost lost the reason for it and it caused his loss. – talissaantr

Death of a Salesman - Extract 3.

In this extract, we are once again witnessing the failure of this poor Willy Loman to succeed in business. His boss, Howard refuses to give him a raise and stop him traveling regularly because he’s tired of doing this all his life. We see that he has been working for a very long time in this company because he worked with Howard’s father, and despite that Willy has never been able to climb the ranks and evolve in his career. He is despised by his boss as a common employee. This shows the difficulty of the world of work, it is possible to not always succeed in life as is the case for Willy Loman whose desire to be a rich and self-made man will remain only a dream haunted by flashbacks of the past and regrets. Bad choices, bad decision-making or bad luck can hurt the American dream and drive the candidates crazy. Sometimes, the American dream is inaccessible. – talissaantr
Willy has been very persevering throughout his life, he is a man who has worked hard, and despite that he bears the contempt and ingratitude of his boss, that is why I appreciate this passage. I find that it shows a new decisive step in Willy’s life, by wanting to improve his situation he only made it worse, and lost his job. Lacking money already, it is something very hard for the main character to accept, and it is what will cause his final action : his suicide. The quest for success can be a real moral torture for some people and can have serious consequences. – talissaantr

Analysis of DOS by Jinying Zhao.

I like this analysis because the things that are said in it are true and I find the paragraph “Willy Loman's Death as a social tragedy” (end of page 405) particularly in relation to the problematic. Thus is one of the most truthful quotes from the work, I think it reflects Willy Lomen's company well: if you don't create your own business, your employers rush you like a lemon to make money and then fire you when they deem you useless without giving you one more chance. – talissaantr

Death of a Salesman: Uncle Ben, a man who success.

Uncle Ben is the brother of the main character of Death of a Salesman. This man embodies success and independence, which contrasts greatly with the character of Willy Loman who is always in search of this success and fortune. Ben knew from a very young age, to take the lead, to leave his country and start his own business elsewhere. He started from nothing, and yet, thanks to a strong will to succeed, a very hard job and a little luck, he became a rich man that Willy Loman cannot help but admire and envy. I chose this photo because Ben seems very proud, he is dressed in a white costume (maybe to better represent this deceased character, the white is the color of the afterlife) which seems expensive unlike Willy, he is bright and looks successful. For me this character is the perfect example of a man who has succeeded legally in life even if he is selfish and cheating. – talissaantr