The American Dream and The Book of Mormon.

Brantley, Ben. “‘The Book Of Mormon’ At Eugene O’Neill Theater – Review”. Nytimes.Com, 2011, https://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/theater/reviews/the-book-of-mormon-at-eugene-oneill-theater-review.html.

The American Dream Blog
*Choose any of the performances that you have seen to write this post. Remember you cannot write this post about a performance for which you have already written a blog.

Choose one of the performances that you have seen and detail what you think it suggests about the American Dream. In your post, make sure that you compare the musical with the play Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.

One aspect that The Book of Mormon suggests about the American dream is that it is something that can be pushed onto other people, making even those who live in other countries believe in the glory. This is extremely obvious in the performance where the Elders, especially Elder Cunningham, convince the Ugandan people to buy into the American dream that is Salt Lake City. He convinces them that the book of Mormon will change their life. If they consent to be baptised into the religion, they would be able to achieve a better life, one that is vastly different to the corrupt and distressing environment in which they live. This is a common thread throughout individuals who chase the American dream, they are all wanting more than what they have. Nabulungi believed that through joining this religion she would be able to escape to “the most perfect place on the earth”, a place of “paradise” where there is “no suffering or pain”. A place where the “roofs are thatched with gold” and the “warlords are friendly and help you cross the street”. She was unaware that this dream was not only unrealistic but it was unreachable. This unfortunate reality is often realised too late, or never realised at all, never coming to understand the unreachable nature of their aspirations, leading them on a lifelong hunt for something that doesn’t exist.

Another example of the unreachable American dream in the musical The Book of Mormon was Elder Price becoming a prophet because he honestly had the belief that it would lead him to have his “own planet” in the after life which replicated ‘his favourite place’, Orlando. Where they have “putt putt golfing” and “Sea World and Disney”. Even him saying that, as an audience we find it humorous, yet his ‘American dream’ is to achieve this. I don’t believe that Elder Price is purposefully hurtful and ignorant of other people, but he, much like others when pursuing the American dream, will do anything to achieve it, even if it means misleading or hurting other people.

There are many similarities between the exploration of the American Dream in Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller and The Book of Mormon. Much like multiple of the characters in The Book of Mormon, Willy Lowman is also a victim of the promises of ‘the dream’. As a part of the working class, Willy has worked all of his life to provide for his wife and children, with little to no appreciation from his sons. He has worked himself to absolute exhaustion, claiming that he is “tired to death”. Ironically getting to a point where he “just couldn’t make” a journey out of town for work due to complete fatigue. His ruthless pursuit of the dream lead him to kill himself, devastatingly within a couple of days of his wife claiming that they were “free and clear” of the mortgage on their house. He was unable to reap the benefits of his hard work due to his obsessive quest of fortune.

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