The American Dream Gone Wrong By: Brittany Roman
Ben Mezrich • Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions • Born 1969 in Princeton, New Jersey • Graduated Harvard with magna cum laude (very great honors) • Authored 12 books w/ more than 1 million copies in 9 languages • Newest book is Sex on the Moon (12th book) • Co-hosted The World Series of Blackjack on cable TV • Represented Massachusetts in the Sexiest Bachelor in America pageant • Currently 41 years old • Lives in Boston with his wife, Tonya, a fashion designer, and their 1-year-old son
Arthur Miller • Death of a Salesman • Born Oct. 17, 1915 in NYC • College football injury prevented him from serving in WWII • Studied at University of Michigan • The Arthur Miller Theatre was established there • Married photographer Ingeborg Morath • The Arthur Miller society • Won many awards for his plays • The Crucible is another one of his famous plays • One of the most influential American playwrights of 20th century • Died Feb. 10, 2005
Cormac McCarthy • The Road • Born in Rhode Island on July 20, 1933 • 3rd of six children • Originally named Charles (after his father), but renamed himself Cormac (after Irish King) • Raised Roman Catholic and went to Catholic High School • Went to University of Tennessee • Majored in liberal arts • His favorite novel is Melville’s Moby Dick • Cormac McCarthy Society • Still Living
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions • Mezrich’s first non-fiction work • #1 National Bestseller • Spent 63 weeks on New York Times Bestseller List • 2 million copies in 15 languages • Major motion picture 21 • Mezrich got to experience the card counting life with the MIT students
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions • Main Characters • Kevin Lewis (Jeff Ma) • Jason Fisher (Mike Aponte) • Micky Rosa (Bill Kaplan, JP Massar, & John Chang) • (Also, Martinez, Michael, Brianna, Brian, Dylan and Jill Taylor – Spotters, Gorillas, & Big Players) • Events • Kevin 1st finds out that Fisher and Martinez count cards • Kevin is recruited and begins counting cards as the Big Player • The casino almost catches the card counters, and Micky reveals his past to the MIT students • Fisher convinces everyone to split from Micky Rosa to make more money • Kevin almost gets caught counting cards in several casinos in the US and in the Caribbean • Kevin’s house is robbed • Themes • Duty/Responsibility vs. Desire • Reality vs. Fantasy • Acceptability of Society • Quit While You’re Ahead
Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions Dogs Playing Poker: C. M. Coolidge
Death of a Salesman • 1949 play • Earned Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play • Premiered on Broadway in Feb. 1949, ran 742 performances, has been revived on Broadway 4 times • First American play to be directed by an American (Arthur Miller) in Beijing • During the last 55 years, has been published and produced all over the world • Play continues to stun and move audiences just like in 1949
Death of a Salesman • Main Characters • Willy Loman – an insecure, self-deluded traveling salesman • Biff Loman – Willy’s 34-year-old elder son • Happy Loman – Willy’s 32-year-old younger son • Linda Loman – Willy’s loyal, loving wife • Charley – Willy’s next door neighbor; he owns a successful business and his son, Bernard, is a successful lawyer • Events • Willy explains to Biff his idea of achieving the American Dream • Willy gets fired • Biff and Happy go to dinner with Willy • Linda tells Biff and Happy about the rubber hose she found • Willy commits suicide • Willy’s funeral • Themes • The American Dream • Abandonment • Betrayal
Death of a Salesman One of the Covers of Death of a Salesman The Final Theme Song in the Play
The Road • 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy • Post-apocalyptic tale of a journey of a father and son over period of several months across a landscape destroyed by an unnamed disaster that has destroyed civilization and most life on Earth • Awarded 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 2006 • Made into movie in 2009 starring Viggo Mortensen and KodiSmit-McPhee and directed by John Hillcoat • Regarded as an environmental book • Has received numerous reviews and honors since its release • Average score of 90 out of 100, based on 100 reviews • Critics deem it “heartbreaking”, “haunting”, and “emotionally shattering”
The Road • Main Characters • The man – the boy’s father whose age is not given; most of the story is seen through the man’s perspective • The boy – the man’s young son; the boy calls the man “Papa” • Events • The beginning where the boy and man are in the woods (the boy asleep) and we find out that it is a post-apocalyptic world • Road agents find the man and the boy and almost kill the boy • They find supplies and shelter in a secret underground safehouse • The boy sees the baby from the pregnant woman and 3 men skewered over a fire • They reach the shore • The man dies, but the boy is taken in by another family that is still alive • Themes • Destruction • Survival • Isolation • Death
The Road The End of the World: John Martin Oil Painting on Canvas (1851-1853)
The American Dream Gone Wrong • Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions • The card counters try to rely only on card counting as a way to support themselves; however, it is the hard work that comes with having a job that allows one to achieve the American Dream, not gambling and luck. • Death of a Salesman • Willy’s view of the American Dream as having to only be a “well-liked” person and popular is distorted, and causes him to fail at achieving the American Dream. • The Road • Some kind of war for a fight for power or money is what the reader can assume happened since the story begins in a post-apocalyptic world most likely due to some kind of nuclear explosion. • Although the countries probably intended for the outcome to only be one country (countries) to be more powerful than another country (countries), the devastating reality of Earth and all of civilization and people being destroyed occurred. • This demonstrates the failed American Dream.
Works Cited • "About - Ben Mezrich." The Official Site of Ben Mezrich. Killdisco Design, 2010. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.benmezrich.com/about/>. • Bob, Minzesheimer. "Ben Mezrich." USA Todayn.d.: MAS Ultra - School Edition. Web. 16 May 2012. • Galvin, Rachel. "Arthur Miller Biography." National Endowment for the Humanities. 2001. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture/arthur-miller-biography>. • "Arthur Miller Society." The Arthur Miller Society Official Web Site. 28 Mar. 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.ibiblio.org/miller/>. • "Cormac McCarthy: A Biography." CormacMcCarthy.com The Official Web Site of the Cormac McCarthy Society. Marty Priola and CormacMcCarthy.com, 2012. Web. 17 May 2012. http://www.cormacmccarthy.com/ • "Death of a Salesman." Www.district87.org. Guthrie Theatre and Best Buy Children's Foundation, Aug.-Sept. 2004. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.district87.org/staff/rileym/juniorlit/deathsalesman/salesman.pdf>. • "Google Images." Google Images. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://images.google.com/>. (image of Ben Mezrich, image of Arthur Miller, image of Cormac McCarthy, image of Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions book cover, image of painting of Dogs Playing Poker by C. M. Coolidge, image of Death of a Salesman play cover, image of one of the play covers of Death of a Salesman, image of The Road book cover, image of painting of The End of the World by John Martin). • YouTube. YouTube. Web. 17 May 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/>. (video of Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions movie trailer, video of the final theme song in Death of a Salesman, video of The Road movie trailer).