« Looking Through the Glass of Tennessee Williams's _Menagerie_ | Main | "Holden On" to J.D. Salinger's _Catcher in the Rye_ »

October 01, 2012

Selling Arthur Miller's _Death of a Salesman_ to Humanities Literature College Students


Image Source: http://diamondsharp.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/death-of-a-salesman-cover.jpg

Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman.. 1949. American. Drama.

ENG 311 Students,

Below, please . . .

. . . enter your work on this text as prescribed in class.

----------------------------------------

To see other English-Blog entries on the subject of Literature, please click HERE.

Posted by lhobbs at October 1, 2012 03:23 PM

Readers' Comments:

Madison Grabow
Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
9 October 2012

HW Quotation: WILLY: "Oh, I’ll knock ‘em dead next week. I’ll go to Hartford. I’m very well liked in Hartford. You know, the trouble is, Linda,people don’t seem to take to me" (23).

Willy is speaking to Linda
Context: Willy is explaining to Linda how he needs to bring more money in, but he just is not able to do it as well as other men.
Significance: Willy brags to his boys about how amazing he is and how he is known by many in New England, but he can not make enough of a commission to afford his expenses. This quotation shows that Willy shoots for the stars, does not succeed, and battles within himself.

PDF

Posted by: madison grabow at October 9, 2012 10:06 AM

Good job, Madison.

Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at October 9, 2012 10:50 AM

Bryan Baldwin
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
09 October 2012

Quote: "Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it’s a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer. To devote your whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next fella. And still — that’s how you build a future.”

Biff is speaking to Happy

Biff seems unhappy with the life he has chosen, he continues working in the same jobs day in and day out, trying to get ahead. He knows that he must continue in order to keep surviving, but it is not where he saw his life going.

Posted by: Bryan Baldwin at October 9, 2012 09:16 PM

Shyenne Price
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
October 10, 2012

Quotation: “That’s what I dream about, Biff. Sometimes I want to just rip my clothes off in the middle of the store and outbox that goddamn merchandise manager. I mean I can outbox, outrun, and outlift anybody in that store, and I have to take orders from those common, petty sons-of-bitches till I can’t stand it any more.”

Answers:
This quotation appears in Act I/ Page 11 of PDF version/
The character speaking is: Happy
The character who is being spoken to is: Biff
The context of this quotation is (what are the events surrounding this dialogue and what does it mean – what are the speakers talking about?): Happy is telling his brother about how he feels toward his job and also about how he feels about society. He wants to be a better man than everyone else by being in charge and thinks he can accomplish it. This is closely tied to how his father, Willy, raised both him and his brother Biff when they were younger. He wanted the two of them to achieve anything they set their mind to. This quotation also expresses how Willy is being treated at his job. He is the old guy in the company now and is being mistreated by the new boss because he feels that Willy can be taken advantage of. Willy wants to be able to be the salesmen of his former days and take charge of his position in the company.

Posted by: Shyenne Price at October 10, 2012 08:41 AM

Leah Hollingsworth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10 October 2012

“Because the man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want” (Miller 33).

Willy is speaking to his two boys in the quote above. It is in the past, but to Willy, in the present. In this flashback he just got home from work and is telling his kids about his highly successful day. He really did not have a successful day and later tells his wife that it was because he is not well liked. This idea of popularity recurs time and time again throughout the text. Willy is hung up on the importance of it. His lack of self confidence hinders him, and so he becomes fixated on being well liked by others.
Page numbers were taken from the printed version produced by Penguin Plays.

Posted by: Leah Hollingsworth at October 10, 2012 09:06 AM

Great quotations, students!

~Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at October 10, 2012 10:56 AM

Summer Taylor
Dr.Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
10 October 2012

Quote: HAPPY: "Sure, the guy’s in line for the vice-presidency of the store. I don’t know what gets into me, maybe I just have an overdeveloped sense of competition or something, but I went and ruined her, and furthermore I can’t get rid of her. And he’s the third executive I’ve done that to. Isn’t that a crummy characteristic? And to top it all, I go to their weddings! (Indignantly, but laughing.) Like I’m not supposed to take bribes. Manufacturers offer me a hundred-dollar bill now and then to throw an order their way. You know how honest I am, but it’s like this girl, see. I hate myself for it. Because I don’t want the girl, and still, I take it and — I love it!"

Happy is speaking to Biff. On page 14 of PDF

Significance/context: The context of this quote is Happy is speaking to Biff about being unsastified with his life and his own problems at work. I believe that this "overdeveloped sense of competition" may be a foreshadowing of something that may happen later on in the play. This quote is significant because this seems to show that Happy is slowly going down the wrong path of life. He speaks freely of taking bribes and his bosses fiances, but he feels no regret towards any of this, instead he loves doing this. In an earlier quote, entitled to some things just because he is more fit than some of his boses. Happy is not concerned of the fact that his bosses may have more education than him, he still feels like he is entitled to more than them. (possibly the reason for this is his dad always telling his boys they were better than people)

Posted by: Summer Taylor at October 10, 2012 11:15 AM

Jason Anderson
DR.Hobbs
ENG311 CA05
Death of a Salesman

Quote: "I tell ya, Hap, I don't know what the future is. I don't know-what I'm supposed to want."

Act 1/Page 10 (Penguin Classics Edition)
Biff is speaking to Happy.
The characters are relating their job experiences to each other. Both are seemingly unhappy with their jobs and wish for something more. Biff does not know what he wants to do with his life; he wants something that will be meaningful.

Posted by: Jason Anderson at October 10, 2012 11:48 AM

Timothy Delay
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10, October 9, 2012
Question: “That is a wonderful machine. Can we…”

Answers: This quotation appears in Act___2_ / Scene ____4____ / Line __16_______ / Page _____55____
• The character speaking is: ____Willy_________

• The character who is being spoken to is: _______Howard_______

• The context of this quotation is (what are the events surrounding this dialogue and what does it mean—what are the speakers talking about?):___As Willy tries to talk with Howard about getting an advanced and about moving his work route to new York he keeps getting cut off by Howard. This show that even though Willy is older and has been at in the job longer Howard still has power over him. Willy has put years into this job and yet he still has not got close to his dream, and the younger are rewarded for doing no hard work.

Posted by: Timothy Delay at October 10, 2012 12:21 PM

Sarah Winans
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10 October 2012

Quote: "Sometimes I sit in my apartment — all alone. And I think of the rent I’m paying. And it’s crazy. But then, it’s what I always wanted. My own apartment, a car, and plenty of women. And still, goddammit, I’m lonely" (Act 1 Page 13 Paragraph 6).

Answer: In this quote, Happy is explaining to Biff that he is not the only one who is unhappy. I feel like this was a relevant quote because both boys are not happy with their current lifestyles, and I think this is going to affect their decisions later on. Happy in particular seems to almost be going through a "mid-life crisis" although he is only in his 20's. I feel like he had an idea of money buying him happiness for his entire life, and now that he has it and he is still lonely he cannot believe that his perceptions of life may not have been true.

Posted by: Sarah Winans at October 10, 2012 01:07 PM

Marcus Chisholm
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-311-CA05
10 October 2012
BIFF: Well, I spent six or seven years after high school trying to work myself up. Shipping clerk, salesman, business of one kind or another. And it’s a measly manner of existence. To get on that subway on the hot mornings in summer. To devote your
whole life to keeping stock, or making phone calls, or selling or buying. To suffer fifty weeks of the year for the sake of a two week vacation, when all you really desire is to be outdoors, with your shirt off. And always to have to get ahead of the next
fella. And still — that’s how you build a future.

Biff is explaining to happy why exactly he doesn’t have a job and hasn’t found himself as their dad, Willy, wants him to. Biff explains to happy that he has been continuously working and still has not found himself nor made any form of progress toward being successful.

Posted by: Marcus Chisholm at October 10, 2012 02:25 PM

Matt Lynch
ENG 311 Survey of Major Writers 2oth century
Dr. Hobbs
Homework for Death of a Salesman Quote
“WILLY (with wonder): I was driving along, you understand? And I was fine. I was even observing the scenery. You can imagine, me looking at scenery, on the road every week of my life. But it’s so beautiful up there, Linda, the trees are so thick, and the sun is warm. I opened the windshield and just let the warm air bathe over me. And then all of a sudden I’m goin’ off the road! I’m tellin’ ya, I absolutely forgot I was driving. If I’d’ve gone the other way over the white line I might’ve killed somebody. So I went on again — and five minutes later I’m dreamin’ again, and I nearly... (He presses two fingers against his eyes.) I have such thoughts, I have such strange thoughts.” (Miller Act 1, pg. 6)
I think this quote is important because I think he is dreaming of more to come. He wants more and can see the possibilities. I think that’s why he pays more attention to his surroundings when he is driving because it is simply more interesting. Like Siddhartha I think he knows there is more out there and he wants to try and find more and become satisfied. I think that this could be foreshadowing of more to come or an adventure. It’s like the Willy wants the American dream for himself and his children. Similar to what Amanda wanted more for Laura and Gatsby wanted for him.

Posted by: Matt Lynch at October 10, 2012 02:52 PM

Madison Grabow
Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
10 October 2012

HW Q 19: Why must Willy borrow $50 every week from Charlie?

Answer: Willy goes to Charlie every week because "For five weeks he’s been on straight commission,
like a beginner, an unknown!" (40). Willy left this information from Linda, but of course Linda found out and asks her boys "Why? When he has to go to Charley and borrow fifty dollars a week and pretend to me that it’s his pay?" (41).


HW Q 32: Why does Linda tell the boys, "Get out of here, both of you, and don't come back!"?

Answer: Linda does not want her boys to stay in the house anymore and explains it to them by saying "I don’t want you tormenting him any more" (91). She explains it further with "You’re a pair of animals! Not one, not another living soul would have had the cruelty to walk out on the man in a restaurant!" (92). Linda wants the love of her life to be treated well.

Posted by: madison grabow at October 10, 2012 04:28 PM

De’Nisha Butler
Dr.Hobbs
ENG311 CA05
October 10, 2012

Quotation: How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand? In the beginning, when he was young, I thought, well, a young man, it’s good for him to tramp around, take a lot of different jobs. But it’s more than ten years now and he has yet to make thirty-five dollars a week!

Answer: Willy is speaking to Linda. Willy criticized Biff for working at manual labor on farms and horse ranches in the West. Willy seems to feel like as a Father, he’s worked so hard to take care of his kids and pay of their family home and Biff decides to leave to go and work on a farm. Willy seems to take that as an insult. Willy gives the impression that manual labor is something he frowns upon. Willy also feels that it is normal or socially acceptable for a man to hold down lots of different jobs in his young age. But for the past 10 years of Biffs life he doesn’t seem to have had a better job other than the farm, paying him thirty-five dollars a week. Linda tries to explain to Willy that he is too hard on Biff and should give him time to find himself. However, Willy goes on to say “Not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace!” As Willy continues to carry-on or express his feelings loudly, he also calls Biff a “lazy bum”.

Posted by: De'Nisha Butler at October 10, 2012 06:12 PM

Sherman Milton III
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311: Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
October 11, 2012

Question:
9."Five hundred gross in Providence" becomes "roughly two hundred gross on the whole trip." How does Linda take Willy’s stories? What does this reveal about her? Why does Willy make a fuss about Linda’s mending stockings? How is this important to the play?

Answer:
Linda goes with his story instead of calling him out on his lie. Instead of confronting the problem she is running away from it because she doesn’t want to hurt him. It’s almost as if she is in denial and she thinks that he is going to get better. She is making things worse instead of helping him (22).

Willie does not like the fact that Linda is mending stocking because it reminds him of his old woman that he was cheating with. Earlier in the story he gave away his wife’s stockings to his girl on the side (26).

Question:
10. Why does Charley visit? How does he feel about Willy? How and why do they insult each other?

Answer:
Charley went to visit because he heard noise and thought something was happening. He seems like he doesn’t care too much about Willy and they argue all throughout the scene. It’s all about jealousy (29).

Posted by: sherman milton at October 11, 2012 09:47 PM

Leah Hollingsworth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
11 October 2012

Homework Question 5: Why won’t Happy go out West with Biff, and why won’t Biff stay? Why doesn’t either son get married and settle down?

Answer: “The only thing is- what can you make out there” said Happy (Miller 24). He will not go out west because he is afraid of being broke. “I gotta show some of those pompous, self-important executives over there that Hap Loman can make the grade” (Miller 24). Biff does not want to stay because he likes to work out of doors. “No, with a ranch I could do the work I like and still be something” (Miller 26). Biff wants to get married but bounces around too much to actually do so. “…It’s more than ten years now and he has yet to make more than thirty-five dollars a week” (Miller 16). Happy also says he wants to get married, but in reality he is too busy sleeping with other people’s wives. “Because I don’t want the girl, and, still, I take it and- I love it!” (Miller 25).
Page numbers were taken from the printed version produced by Penguin Plays.

Posted by: Leah Hollingsworth at October 11, 2012 10:06 PM

Leah Hollingsworth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
11 October 2012

Homework Question 26: What is Willy’s philosophy? How does Biff as a football hero embody his father’s dreams? Why does Charley say Willy hasn’t grown up?

Answer: “It’s who you know and the smile on your face!” (Miller 86). Willy’s philosophy is that being liked is what matters, and what will make you successful. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Biff fits into this perfectly in his high school days. Will says “And that’s why when you get out on that field today it’s important. Because thousands of people will be rooting for you and loving you” (Miller 86). Willy says that the day of the big game is going to be the best day of Biff’s life and that is when Charley asks when Willy is going to grow up (Miller 89). Charley is referring to Willy’s fantasies surrounding sports and his dreams of glorified success.
Page numbers were taken from the printed version produced by Penguin Plays.

Posted by: Leah Hollingsworth at October 11, 2012 11:48 PM

Joseph Lontrato
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
October 12, 2012

Q: Where does Linda lay the blame for Willy’s disoriented, hallucinatory condition?

A: Linda believes that Willy's troubles stem partly from Biff's failure to write Willy, to reconcile their differences, and to settle into a career. (Act 1)


Q: Why did Biff go to Boston? What does he discover when he sees the Woman? Why is it that
Biff never went to summer school? Why can’t he believe in his father?

A: Biff went to Boston to catch up with his beloved father before his college visit. When he finds his father with another woman, he realizes that Willy is truly a fake, and does not have the great qualities which Biff had formerly believed his father held. Biff does not attend the summer school as he has given up on success - for himself and his family. His father's moral weakness reminds Biff of his own shortcomings - his proclivity to steal, for instance - and that his father's encouragement and faith in the family to succeed had no real foundation. (Act 2)

Posted by: Joseph Lontrato at October 12, 2012 11:12 AM

Jason Anderson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG311 CA05
Death of a Salesman

20. According to Biff, why did Willy originally throw him out of the house many years ago?

Answer: “Because I know he’s a fake and he doesn't like anybody around who knows!”(p.42) Biff states that his father Willy is a fake, and that they fought over this which led to him being thrown out. Later in Act 2 we discover that he is a fake because he is sleeping with women in order to have access to buyers. Therefore we can assume that without sex he is unable to sell much of anything.

37. Charley says: “No man only needs a little salary.” To what is he referring? What else does a man need?

Answer: Charley is referring to the sense of accomplishment and adventure that all men have. That without any accomplishment Willy felt that his life was meaningless and therefore he committed suicide. This sense of accomplishment for Willy was when he built something with his own hands; his job as a seller did not allow for this unless he was able to pay everything off, which he never did till he was dead. (p.110)

Posted by: Jason Anderson at October 12, 2012 11:42 AM

De’Nisha Butler
Dr.Hobbs
ENG311 CA05
October 12, 2012

Quotation: Why is Willy annoyed at Biff? How does he describe Biff? What does this tell us about Willy?

Answer: Willy is annoyed at Biff because he is not putting his talent, looks and personality, to use to make money. He is annoyed at Biff because in his younger years he thought that at this stage in life he would have accomplished more and had a higher standard of career, not just mere worker on a farm. And at the age of thirty-four he feels Biff hasn’t accomplished anything. As Willy converses with Linda in their discussion about Biff, Willy says “There’s such an undercurrent in him. He became a moody man.” Willy then goes on to say in a worried and angry way that “The trouble is he’s lazy, goddammit!.... Biff is a lazy bum!”

This tells us the Willy is a concerned, worried, and angry parent. This is because Biff seemed to have so much potential when he was younger. He felt that in Biff’s younger days he tried a lot of different jobs to find a great one. But because that did not happen Willy is angry. Willy feels the state Biff is in at the age of thirty-four is because he is lazy. Willy is also angry because he’s worked hard to pay off his home for his kids, and Biff decides to move away to work on a farm. Willy is a typical parent, wanted the best for his kids and angry because Biff has not turned out to be all he thought he would be at this time.


Question: What is a requiem? What is the purpose of the final act? To what extent is it successful?

Answer: A requiem is a special mass with speech and music in celebrating the life of the dead.
The purpose of the final act is to put an end to the tragic death of Willy. It also revealed the sad truth about Willy’s character and how others perceived him because no one showed up for his funeral besides his immediate family. The final act shows how the kids felt about their father. Happy wants to follow in Willy’s footsteps and Biff doesn’t. The final act also gives Linda a chance to say good-bye. The final act was as successful as it could be, it gave some light to the paths Biff and Happy were going to take and it gave Linda an opportunity to say good-bye.

Posted by: De'Nisha Butler at October 12, 2012 11:58 AM

Summer Taylor
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
12 October 2012

Question 7: What does Willy's reaction to Biff's theft of the football tell us about Willy? He says the boys look like Adonises. What other clues show that Willy believes in appearances?

Answer: At first Willy tells Biff to give the football back, "WILLY (laughing with him at the theft): I want you to return that." Happy then gets a bit upset and says, "HAPPY: I told you he wouldn’t like it" (MIller 20) As soon as Happy says this in a criticizing way to Biff, Willy steps in and says, "WILLY (stopping the incipient argument, to Happy): Sure, he’s gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he? (To Biff.) Coach’ll probably congratulate you on your initiative" (Miller 18)! It is surprising that Willy takes Biff's side even though he did steal the football. Instead of being angry with him, he praises him. This shows that Willy is more concerned with athletics than most other things. Another example that shows that Willy is very concerned with appearences is when he is speaking with Bernard who came over to the house to help Biff study because he is almost failing one of his classes. Instead of having Biff go study, Willy makes fun of Bernard. "WILLY: Hey, looka Bernard. What’re you lookin’ so anemic about, Bernard? BERNARD: He’s gotta study, Uncle Willy. He’s got Regents next week" (Miller 20).

Question 29: In the restaurant, how does Happy reflect Willy's values? Why does Miller have the girls come in?

Answer: Happy lies about Biff in the restaurant just as Willy did. Both say that he was a big success, "HAPPY: No, it’s a little celebration. My brother is — I think he pulled off a big deal today. I think we’re going into business together" (Miller 72). "HAPPY: Yeah, big cattle man, my brother, so treat him right. And my father’s coming too" (Miller 72). HAppt just like Willy also always tries to talk to people about selling and talks very passionately about his work, "GIRL: That’s a charming product to be selling, isn’t it? HAPPY: Oh, gets to be like everything else. Selling is selling, y’know" (Miller 73). I believe Miller has the girls come in for several reasons. One of these reasons is to show Happy's confidence in comparison to Biff's lack of confidence. Another reason was to show how Biff had changed a lot and had lost a lot of his confidence. Biff had not always been this way though. When he was in high school he had a lot of confidence. "HAPPY: You want her?
BIFF: Oh, I could never make that. HAPPY: I remember the time that idea would never come into your head. Where’s the old confidence, Biff" (Miller 74)?

Posted by: Summer Taylor at October 12, 2012 12:49 PM

Sarah Winans
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10-12-12

Question: Why must Willy borrow $50 every week from Charley?

Answer: Willy must borrow $50 every week because he was fired and needs to pay his insurance bill. He will not take the job that Charley is offering him. Charley is angry when Willy says, "I can’t work for you, that’s all, don’t ask me why" (Act 1 page 69).

Question: Why does Linda tell the boys, "Get out of here, both of you, and don't come back!"?

Answer: Linda said that to the boys because she is mad that they went out and found girls and left their father. Linda says, "You’re a pair of animals! Not one, not another living soul
would have had the cruelty to walk out on the man in a restaurant!" (Act 2 Page 92).

Posted by: Sarah Winans at October 12, 2012 01:01 PM

Marcus Chisholm
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-311-CA05
12 October 2012
Act One
4. How does Linda treat Willy? How do the boys feel about him? Is Biff trying to spite Willy? Why does Biff come home in the spring?
Linda treats Willy as the old, fragile man he is. Linda feels as if Willy continually overworks himself. As Willy gets older, his mental state starts to leave him. Linda knows that he overworks himself and that he cannot continue to work at the rate he is working. In Act One, as Willy describes his unsafe, mentally not there, drive from Florida Linda says, Willy, dear. Talk to them again. There’s no reason why you can’t work in New York. Linda wants Willy to lower his workload. The boys feel as if Willy has just minor problems. In Act One, Happy describes driving with him, I’ve driven with him. He sees all right. He just doesn’t keep his mind on it. I drove into the city with him last week. e stops at a green light and then it turns red and he goes. (He laughs.) Biff isn’t trying to spite Willy, Biff is just in the middle of finding himself and finding out what he wants to become. Linda says this in Act One as she is arguing with Willy about Biff, LINDA: He’s finding himself, Willy.
11. Who is Ben? Why does Ben appear? What does Willy think about the future? About the past? What does Ben teach Biff? Why does Willy feel “kind of temporary” about himself and want Ben to stay?
Ben is Willy’s successful brother. Ben appears because, Willy sees that he can achieve Ben’s success in the future. Ben teaches Biff how he got successful and gained all his wealth. In Act one, he states to Biff, he was seventeen when he walked into the jungle and he was twenty-one when he walked out, extremely rich. Willy feels “kind of temporary” because, he wants to learn more about what he missed out on when he was a baby. When he was a baby, his dad left their life, and he wants to learn more about him, he wants to talk, he wants answers on his life.

Posted by: Marcus Chisholm at October 12, 2012 02:19 PM

Wollinsky Mendez
Bryan Baldwin
Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
12 October 2012

Question: How is Willy's retreat into the past a form of escape from his unpleasant present reality? How does it function as a way for Willy to cope witht he failure to realize his ambition?

Answer: Willy falls back into the past because it is brighter than his present surroundings. His past if full of hope and excitement and of people liking him. "They laugh at me, heh? Go
to Filene’s, go to the Hub, go to Slattery’s, Boston. Call out the
name Willy Loman and see what happens! Big shot!" (43) He wants to be liked and now that he doesn't know that his job is secure, he wants to go back to how the things were. He has a hard time coping with his failure and wants keeps thinking about his past and what ambition his entire family had for each other.

Posted by: Wollinsky Mendez at October 12, 2012 02:47 PM

Sherman Milton
Madison Grabow
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311: Survey of Major 20th Century Writers

Question:
5. How does Willy's interview with Howard reveal that Willy transfers his professional anxieties onto his relationship with his family and conflates the professional and personal realms of his life.

Answer:
Willy has a problem with separating work from his personal life. He takes problems from his job home with him when he gets off and home problems to work. When he met with Howard he brought up a lot of personal things such as paying his insurance and needing money. He also brought up stories about Howard's father.

On Page 78, Willy takes his work life outside of work. He states, "I was fired, and I'm looking for a little good news to tell your mother...." That quotation is a great example of how he doesn't separate his professional problems from personal ones (78).

Posted by: sherman milton at October 12, 2012 02:57 PM

Marcus Chisholm/Denisha Butler
Dr. Hobbs
ENG-311-CA05
12 October 2012
Act One
1. Be sure you know what a metaphor is. Remember that in Williams’s Glass Menagerie, the Glass Unicorn was a metaphor for Laura and the title of the play was a metaphor for the family. Be sure you understand what Willy’s ambitions are. How does Willy’s home function as a metaphor for his ambitions? Explain. In your presentation to the class, be prepared to [a.] use quotations from the text to support your answer and [b.] guide the group to the exact scene and line number.
Willy’s main ambition is to be successful, the best father to his kids and also be the best salesman he can be, in order to be successful. Willy continuously overworks himself so he can make the most money possible and continue to support his family. In Act One, we are brought to the disagreement between Linda and Willy. Linda does not like the fact that Willy overworks himself, Willy is getting old and cannot handle this workload. However, he rather continue to overwork himself rather than not work at all. If he does not work, he will not be successful. Linda gets frightened as he describes his slightly conscious drive from Florida to New York, Act One, LINDA: But you’re sixty years old. They can’t expect you to keep travelling every week. Willy’s home is motivation to be the best father to his kids, Biff and Happy. In Act one, Willy says, Figure it out. Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there’s nobody to live in it. Willy wants to continue work so that he can pay off their home and pass it down to his kids. He wants to be successful so that Biff and Happy can look up to him as a role model. He wants to continue to work hard so he could fix up his house, similar to working hard so he could fix his life and become successful. He’s trying to get the most he can out of life, similar to him trying to fix up the house the most he can and make the house, a house that he can cherish and be proud to call his.

Posted by: Marcus Chisholm/Denisha Butler at October 12, 2012 02:59 PM

Leah Hollingsworth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
12 October 2012

Homework Question 6: Is there a difference between being loved and being well liked? What is that difference? What evidence can we find to shoe that Willy misses the distinction between being loved and being well liked? What are the consequences of Willy’s failure to distinguish between the two?

Answer: The main difference between being loved and being well liked is that love is more lasting. Also, people are willing to make sacrifices for those they love, but not as much for those they like. Biff does not have many people helping him out now, but in the past he was very well liked. Willy said “My God! Remember how they used to follow him around in high school? When he smiled at one of them their faces lit up” (Miller 8). On the other hand, Biff loves his dad. “Biff came to me this morning, Willy, and he said, ‘Tell Dad, we want to blow him to a big meal.’ Be there six o’clock. You and your two boys are going to have dinner” (Miller 52). Willy definitely misses the distinction between love and like. “And that’s why when you get out on that field today it’s important. Because thousands of people will be rooting for you and loving you” (Miller 64). Since he cannot make this distinction, he ends up very upset over what people who like him will not do for him. His boss Howard says “No, but it’s a business, kid, and everybody’s gotta pull his own weight” (Miller 58). : Willy responds “I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in the year of 1928! And your father came to me — or rather, I was in the office here — it was right over this desk — and he put his hand on my shoulder...” (Miller 58).
Page numbers were taken from the PDF version.

Posted by: Leah Hollingsworth at October 12, 2012 03:08 PM

Sarah Winans and Summer Taylor
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10-12-12

Question: What are Willy's natural inclinations? IN light of the fact that he is a salesman, what evidnce can we find to show that Willy may have chosen a profession that is at odds with his natural inclinations? Explain. In your rpesentation to the class, be prepared to a. use quotations from the text to support your answer and b. guide the group to the exact scene and line number.

Answer: Willy's natural inclinations are that he thinks highly of himself at times but majority of the time he is putting himself down. We think that this is not a good quality of a salesman because a salesman should be a friendly and confident person, and if they are not they must fake it. Willy seems self-conscious when he says, "I’m fat. I’m very — foolish to look at, Linda. I didn’t tell you, but Christmas time I happened to be calling on F. H. Stewarts, and a salesman I know, as I was going in to see the
buyer I heard him say something about — walrus" (Act 1 page 24). Here Willy is acting very vulnerable but then he goes on to say that he will not take that kind of behavior; he acts tough but he is not at ease with himself! Also, Willy complains a lot about the house they live in when he says, "They should’ve arrested the builder for cutting those down. They massacred the neighbourhood" (Act 1 page 9). He is very anal about things, and seems bothered easily. His natural inclinations seem to want to be outside a lot, especially when he says, "Why don’t you open a window in here, for God’s sake?" (Act 1 Page 8). He seems to be very uncomfortable without fresh air!

Posted by: Sarah Winans and Summer Taylor at October 12, 2012 03:19 PM

Timothy Delay
Joseph May
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10, October 12, 2012
Questions: What was Charley’s job offer? Why does Willy reject it?

Answers: Charley’s job offer was a desk job for 50 dollars a week. Charley Thinks that Willy rejects this job offer because he is jealous of his success. Charley state this by saying “You been jealous of me all your life, you damned fool! Here, pay your insurance” (Act 2 pg 71) after Charley express his option Willy no longer, bring up the subject. Willy is too proud to take the job offer.

Posted by: Timothy Delay at October 12, 2012 03:21 PM

Madison Grabow
Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
12 October 2012

HW Q 17: "What is the effect of having scenes from the past staged in addition to the current action of the play?

Answer: By the play allowing Willy to reminise about the past, it shows the audience Willy's insanity. By Willy randomly acting out his past it explains that Willy is losing control of everything. Happy even says "he talks to himself" (6). When Willy is talking to himself the play actually includes those past memories. "And most of the time he is talking to" Biff (6). Willy's past memories all help the reader to understand the relationship issues between father and son.

pdf

Posted by: madison grabow at October 12, 2012 03:53 PM

Sarah Winans
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10-13-12

Question: How does Miller use tension in the family to underscore Willy's character? How does he use the stage set to influence the audience's perception of the tension?

Answer: Miller uses the tension in the family to underscore Willy's character by showing their insecurities in themselves and trying to reassure themselves to Willy, and also how most fights revolve around Willy. Happy seems to always be trying to gain Willy's approval because Willy definitely gives more attention to Biff. For example, there were about three times throughout the play when Happy asks Willy if he's noticed that he's lost weight. Also, fights definitely resolve around Willy's unstability. For example, the family had to tip-toe around the fact that Willy was trying to kill himself with the hose, but in the end Biff finally explodes and says, "What is this supposed to do, make a hero out of you? This supposed to make me sorry for you?" (Act 2 Page 97). It is obvious there is a lot of built up tension, and the family is clearly shocked and nervous when Biff brings this issue to the surface. Also, the author uses the stage set to emphasize the tension by the scenery surrounding the house. Whenever Willy gets heated, it always seems like he needs to get fresh air or is feeling chlostrophobic and needs to open a window. For example, towards the beginning of the play, Willy was going on a rant about the boys then moved to issues about the house and states, "Why don’t you open a window in here, for God’s sake?" (Act 1 Page 8). He seems to always be feeling very uneasy when he says things like this!

Posted by: Sarah Winans at October 13, 2012 07:12 PM

Leah Hollingsworth
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
14 October 2012

Homework Question 5: How is Willy’s killing himself for the insurance money symptomatic of the way he has lived? What legacy does Willy leave his family?

Answer: Willy has lived the life of a salesman, and by killing himself for insurance money, he has sold his soul. He has lived dollar to dollar, and it’s caused him to get desperate in the end. “I can’t understand it. At this time especially. First time in thirty-five years we were just about to be free and clear. He only needed a little salary. He was even finished with the dentist” (Miller 137). He has also lived in the pursuit of achievement. By leaving money to his family, he feels he can finally achieve something. “Imagine? When the mail comes [Biff will] be ahead of Bernard again!” (Miller 135). From the quote on page 137 it seems that the insurance money did not come through. He has left his family an unachievable dream. “I’m gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain. He had a good dream… He fought it out here, and this is where I’m gonna win it for him” declares Happy (Miller 139).
Page numbers were taken from the version printed by Penguin Plays.

Posted by: Leah Hollingsworth at October 14, 2012 04:46 PM

Jason Anderson
Shaina McSweeney
Dr. Hobbs
ENG311 CA05
Death of a Salesman

Question 2: Willy recalls his sons' teenage years as an idyllic past. What evidence can we find to show that the past is not as idyllic as Willy imagines it to be? Explain.

Answer: "Listen Biff, I heard Mr.Birnbaum say that if you don't start studyin' math he's gonna flunk you, and you won't graduate. I heard him!" (p.20)
The quote above shows that the past is not idyllic because Biff is about to fail math and flunk out of high school. Similarly Biff also steals a football from the locker room showing that he is already becoming a thief. Willy also lies to Linda about how much he made that week; initially he said he made $200 in commission and later he tells the truth that he made about $70 in commission. Therefore he has never had a truly idyllic life, he has always struggled to make ends meet; additionally Biff has always been a troublemaker.

Posted by: Jason/Shaina at October 15, 2012 11:15 AM

Timothy Delay
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10, October 15, 2012
Question: 22. Willy and Biff have different explanations for Biff’s failure to succeed in the
business world. How are their explanations different?
25. Why does Willy tell Howard about Dave Singleman? Describe the dramatic effect when
Howard listens to the voices of his family while Willy tries to talk business. Why does Howard
tell Willy to drop off his samples and forbid him to go to Boston? Why is this such a blow to
Willy?

Answers: 22 Willy thinks that Biff keeps failing in the business world because he fail math. Willy express this in the climax of the argument when Biff does not get the money for the Florida idea by stating “Don’t blame everything on me! I didn’t flunk math —you did!” (Act 2, pg.81) still thinking that if Biff did not fail math he would have been great at math. Biff feel that it his act of stealing thing that hold him back from succeeding in the business world. During the same argument biff state “I took those balls years ago, now I walk in with his fountain pen? That clinches it, don’t you see? I can’t face him like that!” (Act 2, pg. 82) Biff can’t face his future implores because of the pen he stole.

25. Although Howard is the boss, he is still very young with little experience compared to Willy. Willy feels that by telling this story he can show where he is coming from and where he wants to go. When Howard was listening to the tape of his family over Willy, this implies that his tape are more important than Willy plight. Howard tell Willy to drop off his sample and forbid him to go to Boston because Howard is firing him. This is a blow to will because he think that he is one of the best salesman of the company.

Posted by: Timothy Delay at October 15, 2012 11:48 AM

Timothy Delay
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
10, October 15, 2012
Question: 20 Some reviewers believe that the play is a criticism of capitalism and the American way of life. Discuss your reasons for agreeing or disagreeing with them. What are the social implications of the play?

Answers: I do believe that the play is criticizing of the capitalism in American and the fact that one person can never obtain it the right way. The story of Dave Singleman establishes the American Dream that Willy wants but can never obtain. The fact that Willy cannot obtain his Dream is further reinforce by Willy getting fired by Howard shortly after telling him the story. Howard getting his position not by hard work but by a inheriting from his father also shows it hard if not imposable to obtain the American Dream. The play social implications are that society is a corrupt culture and is going no ware fast.

Posted by: Timothy Delay at October 15, 2012 12:19 PM

Jason Anderson
Dr. Hobbs
ENG311 CA05
Death of a Salesman

4. Does Linda help or hinder Willy in overlooking his small sales and his dishonest attempts to make them seem bigger? How else does she influence Willy? Discuss Linda’s remark, “Attention—attention must finally be paid to such a man!” What is the effect of the switch in Linda’s speech to this very formal statement? Why does Miller use it?

Answer: Linda always supports Willy and tells him that one day everything will be paid for, that he is actually doing very well. She always says things like there is always tomorrow as if things will get better. This is a sort of insanity in doing the same thing every week and expecting a different result. Her support allows him to continue his dream of being a successful salesman and having a legacy. Lind’s speech in the requiem shows that she felt that he was under-appreciated. As if the world used him and threw him away. In her mind Willy was a great man because he did everything that he could to support the family. She seems to have delusions of him being more important than he was; and continually supported him in a job that was against his nature. She seems to feel that supporting the family is what is important and Willy did that.

Posted by: Jason Anderson at October 15, 2012 01:16 PM

Sherman Milton
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311: Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
October 15, 2012

Question:
Who suffers most from Willy’s delusions? Why?
Answer:
I think the entire family suffers the badly from his delusions, but if I had to choose one person I would say his wife Linda. The kids are also suffering but not as bad as she is. Linda has been there from the beginning and is trying to make excuses for him. She is in denial.


Posted by: sherman milton at October 16, 2012 11:54 AM

Matt Lynch
ENG 311 Survey of Major Writers 20th Century
Dr. Hobbs
Death of a Salesman Whole Book review Questions
6) What is Willy’s dream? What is he searching for throughout the play? Why doesn’t he find it? Did he have a chance of fulfilling it? Did he have the wrong dream? Inappropriate attitudes? Is he born a loser, or does he stand in his own way to success? Explain.
Willy’s dream is the American Dream. He wishes to become a great salesman from hard work and experience, while his boys become great businessmen themselves. Throughout the play he ends up searching for work for himself and work and a plan for his boys. He ends up never finding the way to his American Dream. He keeps falling over himself due to his delusions and his hard headedness. He believes the way to success in business is the way he has gone about it all along, making good relationships and keeping at it. I believe Willy has not had the wrong dream just that he is attacking it in a completely wrong way. He is stuck in his past successes thinking that since they were successful before then that is the right way to accomplish tasks now. Yet many things have changed since he was a successful man before, now there are new techniques and fundamentals. I do believe he has the completely wrong attitude, instead of just moaning around and thinking need to be done only in a certain way, he should go out and learn some new things, techniques, theologies in order to improve his business skills. I do not believe he was born a loser at all even though he grew up mainly without his father who became successful and his brother who also became a successful business man. He just continues on the same path instead of learning new ways, new things in order for him to get a new successful job.

Posted by: Matt Lynch at October 17, 2012 02:48 AM

Matt Lynch
ENG 311
Dr. Hobbs
Survey of Major Writers from the 20th Century
Question for Act 1&2
How does Willy act toward the boys when they are young? How do they act toward him? How does Willy feel about Charley and Bernard?
Willy acts very happy and amused by the boys when they were younger. In the flashback they are outside throwing the football and talking with their father. Throwing the football around Willy talks about Biff as if he is the best to ever play and the hardest of workers. They boys are interested in their father and have must respect for him. While throwing the football around Willy asks them what new. When charley and Bernard come around Willy does not think much of them. He thinks they are smart but that they try too much and since they do not do things Willy’s way he thinks they are strange. “
“BIFF (pointing in the direction of the car offstage): How’s that, Pop, professional? WILLY: Terrific. Terrific job, boys. Good work, Biff. HAPPY: Where’s the surprise, Pop? WILLY: In the back seat of the car. HAPPY: Boy! (He runs off.) BIFF: What is it, Dad? Tell me, what’d you buy? WILLY (laughing, cuffs him): Never mind, something I want you to have. BIFF (turns and starts off): What is it, Hap? HAPPY (offstage): It’s a punching bag! BIFF: Oh, Pop! WILLY: It’s got Gene Tunney’s signature on it! (Happy runs onstage with a punching bag.) BIFF: Gee, how’d you know we wanted a punching bag? WILLY: Well, it’s the finest thing for the timing. HAPPY: I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop? WILLY (to Happy): Jumping rope is good too. BIFF: Did you see the new football I got? WILLY (examining the ball): Where’d you get a new ball? BIFF: The coach told me to practice my passing. WILLY: That so? And he gave you the ball, heh? BIFF: Well, I borrowed it from the locker room. (He laughs confidentially.) WILLY (laughing with him at the theft): I want you to return that. HAPPY: I told you he wouldn’t like it! BIFF (angrily): Well, I’m bringing it back! WILLY (stopping the incipient argument, to Happy): Sure, he’s gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesn’t he? Coach’ll probably congratulate you on your initiative! BIFF: Oh, he keeps congratulating my initiative all the time, Pop. WILLY: That’s because he likes you. If somebody else took that ball there’d be an uproar. So what’s the report, boys, what’s the report?” (Miller 18).
28) Why won’t Willy work for Charley? Why is Willy able to ask Charley for money? How is Charley’s view of what a salesman needs different from Willy’s view?
Willy does not want to work for charley because of his background and where he has come from. All those years Willy put forth of hard work and making contacts with different people. They have different views on how business should be conducted because one style is new and the other is older. There are new things in the world from when Willy learned business compared to when Charlie learned it. Willy is able to ask Charley for money because he has a good job with a solid income and he is able to spare some money. “

Posted by: Matt Lynch at October 17, 2012 02:49 AM

-----------------


*NOTE* The deadline for this particular assignment has now passed. Any comments listed below are *ONLY* for the reposting of comments that I specifically asked to be revised or are ones from non-student posters. Any 'student' posts below that missed the assignment deadline will not get credit for the assignment.


~ Dr. Hobbs

Posted by: Dr. Hobbs at October 25, 2012 08:28 PM

Wollinsky Mendez
Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
December 3, 2012

Question: What did Linda learn about Willy from the insurance inspector?

Answer: Linda finds out the Willy had a series of car accidents. These accidents were found to be intentional and also were signs. They were signs that he was trying to commit suicide in the car. "The insurance inspector came. He said that they have
evidence. That all these accidents in the last year — weren’t —
weren’t — accidents."(Arthur, 41)

Posted by: Wollinsky Mendez at December 3, 2012 11:21 PM

Wollinsky Mendez
Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major 20th Century Writers
December 3, 2012

Question: Why does Miller let us know in the title that Willy’s death is coming? Why doesn’t he make it a surprise? Is Willy’s
death in a car more or less appropriate than a suicide using the rubber hose on the water heater would be? Why?
What harm does Willy’s death do? What good?

Answer: In the title, we know that Willy will die because the play is showing his progress. It tells the story of a father who loved his children and had a theory for success. His theory was that if more people liked them, then they would be successful. I believe that the death in the car is the lesser of two evils. It was better for him to get away from his family than to put them through his suffering at home. "(As the car speeds off, the music crashes down in a frenzy of
sound, which becomes the soft pulsation of a single cello string.
Biff slowly returns to his bedroom..."(Arthur, 101) Willy's death ends his suffering. He is losing his memory and jumping from memory to memory. Even though he wanted to fix his problems, he just could not come back into reality.

Posted by: Wollinsky Mendez at December 4, 2012 12:12 AM

Shaina McSweeney
Dr. Hobbs
ENG311CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers

4. Why must Willy borrow $50 every week from Charley?
He borrows the money because he is not earning very much as a salesman now that he is working on commission rather than receiving a salary. His friendly customers have either died or retired, leaving Willy with few easy sales. He uses the 50 dollars to pay his insurance. “Charley, look... (With difficulty.) I got my insurance to pay.”
PDF.

Posted by: Shaina McSweeney at December 5, 2012 02:52 AM

Shaina McSweeney
Dr. Hobbs
ENG311CA05 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers
5.What is the effect of having scenes from the past staged in addition to the current action of the play?
The effect is to show how willy is living mostly in the past, more than the presence. He does this because these were the good old days, and the present is his depressed situation. The switching is to show how Willy thinks, which is he thinks in the past because of the good days.
PDF

Posted by: Shaina McSweeney at December 5, 2012 02:54 AM

Sarah Winans
Dr. Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major Twentieth Century Writers CA05
1 December 2012
Family Function
Family is defined in many different ways. For some, family represents love and support, while for others, family is a word used to describe a blood-related relative. People do not choose the families that they are born into; therefore, these blood-related relatives are hardly ever referred to as “family,” because of the value the word holds. For some, families are created through friendships, love, and protection they feel for another person. Ultimately, family is defined as two or more people who share a common feeling of love and protection for one another. They may not always get along and most likely have differing viewpoints; however, they support one another’s well-being. Family function is how a group of two or more people work together to be and stay all that a family entails. In The Glass Menagerie (1945), written by Tennessee Williams (1911-1983), and Death of a Salesman (1949), written by Arthur Miller (1915-2005), evidence will be provided to show the families function by focusing on the three points of best interests, trying to get along, and support of accomplishing goals.
To begin with, family members always keep one another’s best interests in mind. In The Glass Menagerie, Tom is constantly trying to find Laura a gentleman caller. One can tell that he worries for his sister’s well-being when he states, “Oh, Laura, Laura, I tried to leave you behind me, but I am more faithful than I intended to be!” (Williams). Although Tom knows he needs to move on with his life, he is still very upset for Laura. He tried to find her a solid gentleman caller in Jim, but had no luck as Jim was already with someone. Tom worries that Laura will be alone, and therefore continues his search for a gentleman caller. In Death of a Salesman, Biff displays acts of looking out for Willy’s best interests by lying to him about the Florida plan. Biff states, “Pop, listen! Listen to me! I’m telling you something good. Oliver talked to his partner about the Florida idea. You listening? He — he talked to his partner, and he came to me... I’m going to be all right, you hear? Dad, listen to me, he said it was just a question of the amount!” (Miller). Biff knows that Willy would be extremely upset to hear that he is not having luck getting a job. He wants to avoid upsetting his father, leading to this lie. Both Tom and Biff look out for their families when Tom attempts to find Laura a gentleman caller, and when Biff spares Willy’s disappointment. However, Biff lies while Tom is honest with his feelings.
Next, families do not always get along. In The Glass Menagerie, Tom and Amanda argue for a large section of the play about Tom’s actions such as “going to the movies.” Tom gets irritated with Amanda easily, and Amanda finally says, “I mean that as soon as Laura has got somebody to take care of her, married, a home of her own, independent ?- why, then you'll be free to go wherever you please, on land, on sea, whichever way the wind blows you! But until that time you've got to look out for your sister” (Williams). Amanda does not necessarily support what Tom does, but rather wants him to help Laura; then she does not care what he does with his life. In Death of a Salesman, Happy is in desperate need of Willy’s attention. It is obvious that he feels he lives in Biff’s shadow when Willy and Biff are talking about the big football game and Happy states, “I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop?” (Miller). Happy is longing for his father’s attention, and the reader knows he feels second to Biff. The difference between these family functions is that Amanda does not care what Tom does with his life, but Happy would love for Biff to become more involved in his. They are similar because each family has frustrations toward the members.
Finally, families function by supporting one another’s goals. In The Glass Menagerie, Amanda was initially proud of Laura for going to school. When she received news of her dropping out, Amanda was very angry and states, “Fifty dollars' tuition, all of our plans - my hopes and ambition for you - just gone up the spout, just gone up the spout like that” (Williams). Amanda has obvious concerns for Laura’s success, and she is angry that she spent her money on a wasted education. In Death of a Salesman, Willy was so hopeful for a bright football career, and he was extremely disappointed when he learned that Biff flunked out of math and would not be able to move on to college. He states, “If you hadn’t flunked you’d’ve been set by now!” (Miller). Although he seems to be stuck in the past, Willy obviously is upset that Biff did not attain his dream of becoming a professional football player. Both Amanda and Willy share disappointment when their children do not succeed in attaining their goals. However, it seems that Amanda is trying to push Laura to have no regret while, Willy is stagnant and stuck on memories from the past.
In conclusion, The Glass Menagerie, and Death of a Salesman, both have strong themes of the sense of family function through best interests, not always getting along, and support of accomplishing goals even though they had differing intentions. Family—being defined as two or more people who share a common feeling of love and protection for one another—was shown throughout both stories, although each character had his or her own ways of showing it. Families do not always get along, and that is why function refers to two or more people working together to maintain family values. Referring to someone as family is a strong statement, and one that is used for those who truly matter in one’s life.

Works Cited
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. Amazonws.com. 1949.
Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. Staff.bcc.edu. 1944.

Posted by: Sarah Winans at December 5, 2012 02:49 PM

Shaina McSweeney
Professor Hobbs
ENG 311
6 December 2012
The Pursuit of the American Dream Gone Wrong
The pursuit of the American Dream is a theme that has been featured in a number of different literary works. Among these works are “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald and “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller. The original meaning of the American Dream was rooted in the US’s founding. It was a dream of seeking freedom from Great Britain and gaining ultimate liberty. Since that time, including the time period in which the novel and the play were written in, the American Dream has come to mean financial success, with the notion that popularity and happiness will follow suit. In the two works of literature mentioned above, while there are some differences, the American dream controls the two main characters, ultimately leading to their failure, and death.
For Jay Gatsby, he must obtain financial success as a way to become popular and well known, which would ultimately lead to winning back Daisy Buchanan. However, for Willy Loman, this idea is reversed: popularity obtains financial success. Willy seems to believe that popularity and wealth come hand in hand. He teaches his sons, “Be liked and you will never want” (Miller, Act One). Both authors use fruit to show how the popularity aspect of the American Dream is not always as it seems. Fitzgerald mentions the “pulpless halves” of oranges and lemons left behind after one of Gatsby’s parties (Fitzgerald 43). The fruit symbolizes Gatsby; he was used in life for his extravagant parties, but when he died, no one showed at his funeral. Miller also uses fruit to symbolize the main character. After Willy is fired, he makes the proclamation, “You can’t eat the orange and throw the peel away- a man is not a piece of fruit!” (Miller, Act Two). Willy believed he was well liked at his company; but when his sales began to drop, and they fired him, he felt as if he was being used.
In “The Great Gatsby”, Gatsby seems to obtain the American dream. He has wealth and popularity, but he still is unhappy due to the fact that he does not have the love of his life, Daisy. This shows that the financial stability does not always bring happiness. Willy, on the other hand, never reaches financial stability and therefore never obtains the American dream. He kills himself in order to provide life insurance for his family, which in the end, doesn’t come through. By showing a character who achieves the American dream and one that does not both fail, the two authors allude to the corruption of the American dream itself. In both works, the pursuit of the American dream is riddled with deception. The idea of the American Dream drove both Gatsby and Willy to obtain financial success in a corrupt manner. For example, Gatsby was a “bootlegger” in order to become wealthy, because he believes this will achieve Daisy’s approval (Fitzgerald 143). Willy has an affair, because the Woman’s tells him she can put him “right through to the buyers”, which will lead to more money (Miller, Act One). This corruption leads to the two character’s failure. When Daisy finds out that Gatsby has gained his fortune as a bootlegger, she no longer wants to be with him. When Willy’s son discovers he is having an affair, the relationship (the one Willy values most) between the son and father becomes strained.
Jay Gatsby and Willy Loman were two characters who believed that financial success would ultimately bring them happiness. By pursuing this dream, it led to their demise. Although “The Great Gatsby” and “Death of a Salesman” have different ways of capturing this demise, the main theme in both works is the failure of the American Dream.


Work Cited
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925. Print.
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. New York City: Penguin Books, 1998. Print.

Posted by: Shaina McSweeney at December 5, 2012 03:09 PM

Timothy Delay
Dr. B. Lee Hobbs
ENG 311 Survey of Major Writers of the Twentieth Century
5, December 2012
The Sacrifice of Idealism, Is It Worth It?
Since the beginning, of time man has always tried to better himself, and He has employed various methods to achieve a peaceful existence with others chief among these is the role of idealism. Idealism is an economic or political system that helps to benefit the people. Although an idealism created to benefit the people and works on paper, it rarely works in real life, and the negative effects it has on others out way the benefits. The main idealism that seen in the world today are capitalism, and communism. These cannot be better exemplified than George Orwell's Animal Farm and Arthur Miller Death of A Salesman. These two works focus on the negative aspects of capitalism and communism respectively. The price of idealism is not worth the effect it has on others and Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman shows this better than George Orwell's Animal Farm, by showing the effect idealism can have on the main protagonists, society, and their friends and family.
The first thing that usually starts to show strain from the pursue of an idealism is the one that is actively sacrificing in order to achieve their goal. In George Orwell's Animal Farm, the main protagonists snowball the female cart horse experiences the pain and sacrifice of upholding an idealism mainly, communism. In its purest form communism is a political system that abdicates control of publicly owned properties and equality among the people.To reach her goals, she had to sacrifice her sleep, house, and even food in order to achieve the communist goal. This can be depicted in this narration of how the animals are lacking food “For days at a time the animals had nothing to eat but cha_ and mangels. Starvation seemed to stare them in the face” (Orwell, pg.29). Clover even saw loved ones die in their pursuit of the communist dream, but in and nothing profoundly changed as their farmer for it to what it reversely was. Orwell depicts this by stating “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already yet was impossible to say which was which” (Orwell Pg 54). This one sentence shows how far the farm has come in the pursuit of the communist ideal by overthrowing its previous owners and just reverting to its old ways despite everything that has been done.
Willy Loman the main protagonist in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman has similarities in clovers sacrifices, but unlike Clover, Willy never achieves a glimpse of his pursuit of the American dream.Although Willy for all his life sacrifice everything in order to move up the social ladder, he never truly went anywhere. He sacrificed so much for this idealism that it even started to affect his own senses as he started to hallucinate and contemplate suicide because of his failure to achieve this idea of an American dream. He even went so far as to sacrifice himself in order for his family members to benefit from this idealism, but even that fails as he is awarded no money for his sacrifice. Although he does inspire others to take up his cause, namely his son Happy “All right, boy. I’m gonna show you and everybody else that Willy Loman did not die in vain” (Arthur Miller pg104), it is nothing more than a futile dream to achieve something that is unachievable. As stated by Charley, “No man only needs a little salary” (Miller Pg 103) that although Willy came close to paying off his debts it would never be enough for him or anybody else.
The next thing that damaged by the pursuit of an idealism is the society around the main protagonists that pursue it. This society does not include the protagonists primary group which mainly consist of friends and family. For George Orwell's animal Farm, this consisted of the additional farms that surrounded the Manor Farm. The Manor Farm has to deal with the other various farms that do not trade with them because of this new idealism. They had a fight for what they believed in, and many of them sacrifice their lives.
In Arthur Miller's death of a salesman Willy Loman affected by society in the form of his boss does not give him a raise. During this conversation Willy slowly starts to realize that although he worked all his life he has achieved little gain, but his boss who is much younger than him was able to achieve his position because of his father who was the owner of the company. Willy starts to see that no matter how hard you work there always be others to get shortcuts. The last thing that these two books are able to exemplify are the negative effects of holding an idealism on their primary group namely their family and friends. In George Orwell's animal Farm, you can see the main protagonists Clover lose friends through various efforts of trying to sustain communism. Orwell shows this sacrifice in the way that Boxster die for weight he believed it.
Miller does a much better job of showing the negative effects that holding in idealism has on a family by having Willy pursuit of the American dream destroy his family. This all starts out with Willy taking out his son, but it starts to escalate when Willy starts to bring harm to his wife. Willy starts to cheat on her without her knowledge. Willy contemplation of suicide also affects his wife emotionally because she fears for her husband safety. Although idealism works on paper it rarely does in real life, and both of these works show how something that promise much is out weight by the sacrifices one must undertake to get there, but Arthur Miller is able to convey this message more effetely over the course of his book. Holding an idealism affect more than just the protagonists lives, but effect their society, and friends and family. In the end, it not worth dyeing over to achieve a dream that can be corrupted as in Orwell’s Animal Farm or that will never gain ground without some interventions like Miller‘s death of a Salesman.


Works Cited
Miller, Arthur. Death of a Saleman. N.p.: n.p., 1952. Print.
Orwell, George. Animal Farm;. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1954. Print.

Posted by: Timothy Delay at December 5, 2012 03:12 PM

Google
My Blog

Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some rights reserved. 2006.