Definition: the ideal by which equality of opportunity is available to any American, allowing the highest aspirations and goals to be achieved.
In both, the film and the musical version of A Bronx Tale’, the character of Lorenzo teach the audience the right way to achieve the American Dream- by working hard and working honestly. Lorenzo leads a modest and humble life as opposed to Sonny, the gangster. When Sonny offers to give $150 a week paycheck, Lorenzo turns him down. He is a workingman, proud that he supports his family by driving a bus. He doesn’t like the Mafia and doesn’t want the money. The bus is a symbol of moral and legal correctness. Lorenzo tries to instil a sense of responsibility in his son- that he is in control of his choices and behaviour. Lorenzo tells his son C: “You want to see a real hero? Look at a guy who gets up in the morning and goes off to work and supports his family”. But Sonny gives good advice too. One of the things he tells C is that you cannot live your life on the basis of what other people think you should do. At the end of the play though, Lorenzo is alive and Sonny is not. C sees that his father should have been his role model all along and through Sonny’s death, C sees how far off the track he has strayed. In comparison, Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s `Death of a Salesman’ show the pursuit of the American dream, material success and freedom by working hard can be your ultimate downfall. Throughout the play, Loman wants evidence of his worth and success, which distracts him from recognising what’s important in his life, especially the love of his family members. Loman believes that his self-worth is measured by material success. Keeping up with the Jones’! By measuring his self-worth to the achievement of the American Dream, Loman sees his professional failure as a personal failure. This is his ultimate downfall.