TaYLorAsHLeY

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

* DEATH OF A SALESMAN *


Characters:

Willy Loman – The weary salesman who is slowly loosing his mind and attempts suicide repeatedly. He is the protagonist of the novel and is struggling through a hard time.

Linda – Willy’s wife who takes care of him and looks out for him constantly. She represents Willy’s innocent and caring side.

Biff – Willy’s “buff” son who threw his career away when he steals from multiple people. His amazing reputation went down the drain and he denied his existence for the years he was in prison.

Happy – Willy’s second son who is very attractive and picks up ladies constantly. He also cares deeply for his father and dreams of a better life.

Uncle Ben – Willy’s brother who plans to buy land in Alaska and search for oppertunites. His ghost arrives often in the story to speak to Wily.

Charley – A friend of Willy’s who is a great salesman. He repeatedly offers Willy a job because he pays his bills each week anyway.

The Woman – The lady who Willy has an affair with. She and Willy are walked in on (in a hotel) by Biff who then has a different (worse) view of his father.

Bernard – Biff’s highschol tutor who urges Biff to work for good grades, yet gets insulted often. He grows up to become a successful law officer for he Supreme Court.

Stanley - Waiter at the restaurant Happy and Biff plan to meet and have dinner with their father, Willy.

Howard Wagner – Salesman who preciously offered Willy a job, but denies the offer years later. He introduces Willy to the tape recorder.


Settings:

1. It takes place in a house, which makes the reader feel cozy and is a more homey, intimate environment. This adds to the story by focusing in on the familiness and unity the family represents.

2. The setting also takes place near the country which lowers the intensity and calms the reader.

3. The story takes place during nighttime hours which heightens the mood and spooks the reader with anticipation.

4. The story also arrives in a restaurant at one point and this lightens the reader and puts one at ease. (lowers the seriousness)

5. The story travels to the bedroom near the beginning where Happy and Biff are talking. This is significant because it shows the realism of the characters.

6. There is a table at the center of the stage and this centralizes the scenes and pin-points the area of attention.

Willy At Table

7. The setting momentarily includes a tape recorder and this represents the time period and amount of technology during the era.

8. The Lomans' home is set in the city of Brooklyn. This was also the town that the author, Arthur Miller lived for a good many years.


Symbolism:

1. The Woman who Willy has an affair with is a symbol of greed and selfishness. She shows how temptation can overtake one's emotions and actions during a hard period of his/her life.

2. The ladies that Happy and Biff pick up at the restaraunt are a very small part of the story, but show temptation that the men give into. The ladies also reveal the men's selfishness as well by ingnoring their plans to meet with Willy for dinner.

3. The lead pipe is a "hint" to what Willy is conjuring up throughout the novel to commit suicde and perhaps death to his family by carbon dioxide poisoning.


Poem:

A "Killer" Job

His job was unfaithful
His sons ungrateful
No wonder his mind went lost

Early each morning
With his wife adoring
He'd travel to cover the cost

The work was unbaring
His sons uncaring
His life before him did flash

With the illness untreated
At the table he was seated
Until the car was to crash

Crashed Car into Bridge


Conflicts:

Person -vs- Self - Willy is battling inwardly for the whole of the novel. He is struggling very much with his job, finding money to support his family, and getting along well with his sons and wife. Through all of these conflicts, he is slowly loosing his mind and overeacting about small things (ex. his job) and reflects back constantly to when times were easier.

Person -vs- Person - Willy and Biff have controversies throughout the novel. They fight almost every time they speak and Biff hides many secrets from his father that are exposed and resented. Willy is informed that Biff has been stealing from people and thus was sent to prison for many years. This fact upsets Willy very much and makes him rely even less on Biff.

Person -vs- Supernatural Force - Willy converses with his dead brother many times during his last night. His brother's ghost, Uncle Ben, visits him and speaks to him about living in Alaska and coming with him. Willy is battling to stay even though he wishes to go with. Alaska when used here, symbolizes the place one goes after death. Willy is fighting to stay alive, but is going insane in the process.

Uncle Ben


Dialogue:

(The setting takes place in the cemetary. Happy and Biff stand silently for many moments behind Linda who is kneeling at Willy's grave. The lighting is dim as Linda stands slowly and walks between Happy and Biff offstage with her head held high.)
Happy: She'll be like this for some time
Biff: That's what i s'possed.
(they stand silent for a few moments looking down at their father's grave)
Happy: You know, she partially blames us for what he did
Biff: Yeah. It's a shame, ya know? Why'd we have to act so self-centered?
Happy: We?...it wasn't only that
Biff: I was kind of hard on him, but it wasn't all my fault
Happy: I'd say it was mostly yours.
Biff: Well what did you expect me to do?
Happy: Tell him the truth dangit, you were missing for how many months, biff?
Biff: How the heck was I goin' to do that? He'd have been too ashamed to ever look at me again, no less speak to me.
Happy: At least you was not've been lying to him. Besides, who would want to look at you anyway? (chuckling to himself at the odd-timed joke)
Biff: Shut your mouth. I don't believe i am to blame for the what happened. Didn't make no difference whether i told him i went to prison or not.
Happy: Biff, bro don't you get it? Father was so proud of you! You were out living on your own. He thought you made something out of your life and were living it up to the fullest. In his eyes, you had a nice traveling job like his and were makin' your living just fine, when you were really stealing over and over again from fellas, gettin' turned in, and going to prison.
Biff: I messed up, I know that...
Happy: (interrupting) obviously you don't. (pause) Everything father ever thought about you after you left high school was a lie. You never got a well-paid job, bought a home, heck, you didn't even get your diploma.
Biff: Lemme alone will ya? I messed up, i get it.
Happy: Father treasured you like the crowned jewels, Biff. I was the little nonathletic squirt who followed him around like a servant. Do you know how hard it was following behind you? In your footsteps? Well, let's just say that your shoes are too big for me. I couldn't keep up.
Biff: That's not true. You were always the smart one.
Happy: I never got a trophy for that though...that's for sure.
Biff: Maybe not...but you always got the women. (chuckles softly)
Happy: (laughing at the honesty) Sure thing, but when father found out about your failures, he crumbled. I don't know if you saw his face, but he was truly crushed. His prize possession, his crown jewels, his favorite son then became his biggest disappointment...
Biff: Gosh, i regret it so bad.
Happy: But even though you messed up, and he realized that...he was absolutely thrilled when you suggested goin' to work. He was enthusiastic when we informed him about the "brother team" idea... (pause) You were then once again, his prized possession.
Biff: (shaking his head slowly) I never knew...
Happy: (interrupting) Well now you do.(A long pause fills the silence. After a few moments of quiet, Happy salutes his father's grave shyly and turns to walk away.)
Biff: (raises his hand to his face where he swipes his forehead. His hand takes hold of his hat as he lets his arm drop to his side. He says in a low, quiet voice:) I'm sorry, Pop. Really i am. (He turns and follows the same path as his family members offstage.)


Author Information:

Arthur Miller was born in New York and lived with his father, Isidore Miller, there for many years. The depression ruined his father's clothing business and the change in fortune influenced Arthur greatly. He then moved with his family to small frame house in Brooklyn. This house was said to be the model of the Brooklyn home in Death of A Salesman.

After graduating from high school, he worked at an automobile shop to pay for college, where he studied journalism to become a writer. He began studying at the University of Michigan in 1934 and won many playwright award while he was there. Arther Miller graduated from college in 1938, returned to New York, and began writing scripts for radio programs. The draft was occuring during this time, and he was exempt due to a football injury.

Two years after graduating, Miller married and had two children with his college sweetheart, Mary Slattery. He wrote ALL MY SONS and with that performance, he won the New York Drama Critics Circle award and two Tony Awards. He wrote Death of A Salesman in 1949 and this was his great claim to fame. Another way Miller is known widely is for his marraige to Marilyn Monroe in 1956 and they divorced in 1961. He married one year later to Inge Morath and once she died, he married a 34-year-old artist named Agnes Barley.

Miller's play-writing went on for a good many years even though the popularity of television made many mature actors and actresses hard to find. Spain's prestigious Principe de Asturias Prize for Literature was given to Miller in 2002, which made him the first US citizen to recieve such an award. Miller spent his final days at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. There, he died (newspaper article) due to heart failure on February 10th, 2005.


""Wow!"" Writing:

1. One aspect of the book that really impressed me was how Willy would repeatedly talk to his brother, uncle ben, who died in the past and therefore, was thought of as talking to himself. I thought that this recurring event was somewhat confusing to follow and to keep track of the present time and the "previous conversations" that Willy had with Uncle Ben years ago.

2. Another example of "wow" writing is the recurring flashbacks. These include "young Biff" and also the affair that Willy had. These flashbacks i thought were deeply woven into the story and confused me to the same extent that uncle Ben did. I thought it was amazing, however, how Miller was able to weave the affair and the previous events into the story so smoothly.

3. My last example of "wow" writing is the way Linda reacts at the end of the story, following the death of Willy. Linda reacts with much self-control and very composedly. This surprised me in the fact that her husband just commited suicide and they has no family income from that point on. She held her composure and was very respectable.

Quote by Arthur Miller

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Pictures Related to Summer Reading/Viewing

Salesman
This picture is a representation of the play "Death of a Salesman" by Aurthur Miller. The protagonist of the story is a salesman who is filled with great spirits when looking towards the future but is glum when realizing what has become of him an his family.

Gun

Wolf

Vietnam Soldiers

Vietnam

Of Mice and Men Book Number

Period 4
TS
#05-631