A common theme in society today is that money is the key to happiness. In A Raisin in the Sun and Death of a Salesman the theme that money is the root of contentment is also present. In A Raisin in the Sun, Walter Lee has such a desire to be rich that he neglects his son and wife. Willy, in Death of a Salesman, is also very distracted by the thought of money.
First of all, Willy believes that he needs to be as successful as his brother, Ben, in order to be happy. He spends his whole life wishing that he had gone with his brother to Alaska. This is where he got rich and Willy believes that if he had gone with Ben, he would be rich too. Many times throughout the play, when Willy is having hallucinations of Ben, he asks him, “How did you do it, Ben?” Also, throughout the play, he refers to a salesman that is in his 80’s and is very successful. He talks about how this man is so old, but is still working from his home. He also speaks of how this man is so well liked in all of the cities that he has gone to. Being well liked is important to Willy because he thinks that if he is well liked throughout the area, he will sell more and therefore become rich like his brother.
In the same respect, Walter Lee, from A Raisin in the Sun, has a fascination with money. He believes that he needs to own a liquor store to obtain money and when his mother receives her check, he expects her to give him the money so that he can fulfill his dream. When his mother does not give him the money at first, he is furious because he believes that, to be happy, he must own the liquor store. Walter Lee wants to be a good father and husband and wants to be able to provide for his family everything that they need. This desire that he has shades his eyes from the fact that he is neglecting them. Finally, when Walter Lee does get the money that he needs from his mother for the store, it is stolen by one of his business partners. I believe that this is when Walter Lee realizes that money is not everything and it is not the only way to happiness.
A Raisin in the Sun and Death of a Salesman both have fundamental ideas that money can buy happiness, when in reality, the main characters in the plays realize that actually family is the most important thing.