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Death of a Salesman Block 2-1
Death of a Salesman Block 2-2
Death of a Salesman Block 3
Death of a Salesman Block 4
Death of a Salesman Block 5
Fences Block 3
Fences Block 4
Fences Block 5
Glass Menagerie Block 2-1
Glass Menagerie Block 2-2
Glass Menagerie Block 3
Glass Menagerie Block 4
Glass Menagerie Block 5-1
Glass Menagerie Block 5-2
Long Day's Journey Block 2-1
Long Day's Journey Block 2-2
Long Day's Journey Block 3
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Death of a Salesman Block 2-2
Character description-Happy Loman is the son of William (Willy) Loman, and the younger brother of Biff Loman. Since his dad had always put Biff in the spotlight, Happy had always remained in the shadows; he is much less appreciated than his brother. This does not stop him, however, from having big dreams. If it was not his charisma that he inherited from his dad, it was most likely his dreams. Relatively, compared to Biff, Happy is considered successful; however, since he is always living up to his father’s expectations he isn’t a very joyful person. The hopes that come from his dreams put pressure on him rather than making him a happy person. In result, Happy resorts to spending his time and money on women rather than his goals.
Significance- Happy contributes to his father’s regrets by not becoming a hot-shot successful businessman. In their father’s time of need, Happy was the one who decided to get flirt with women and go on a date rather than helping their father. This ended up in their father feeling that they had “spited” him.
Key Quotes- 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.
Strengths- Happy set good goals for himself. -He knows how to talk to women
Weaknesses- Happy doesn’t achieve these goals. -He easily gets distracted by women.
Character Traits- Biff Loman is the eldest son of Willy and Linda Loman. During his high school years, he was the star quarterback of his team and the town favorite. All the girls followed him around. Everywhere he went, he was flocked by the girls and fans. He was a great student, up until his senior year, where he didn’t graduate because he flunked math. As he got older, Biff tried out many different jobs. Yet, though he tried for many years of his life, he could not meet his father’s standards. Unlike his brother Happy, Biff struggles to make his mark in the world.
Significance to Text- Biff’s role in this story is very impacting. Everything he does directly affects his father in some way. When he came home, Willy changed. He became more impatient and less tolerating to his wife and the people around him. Biff’s lie that he got a good deal made Willy change from a very depressed man in to a very proud father. Everything Biff does changes his father’s actions and character.
Key Quote(s)- “
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.”
Strengths- He is very good with his words. He is also very charming in his demeanor and very caring.
Weaknesses- He has a very hard time making up his mind.
Willy Loman (pp. 40 - 69)
Description: Willy Loman is a man in his sixties that works a job that requires him to drive long distances. During these long car rides, Willy daydreams about different things, endangering him and those around him. As we find out, Willy daydreams all the time about the past. His daydreams are so bad that he is convinced he’s talking to his dead brother or his mistress. He starts to talk out loud to and soon they become outbursts. He has these flashbacks because he will never be able to move on from the past. Although he loves his wife and sons, Willy feels he has done them wrong at least once in the past. He still talks to his dead brother about his regrets and relives his worst experiences because he dreads them. Since he’s stuck in the past, he cannot connect with his wife and sons in the present who are all trying hard to bring him back to the present.
Significance: Willy Loman is an important part of this story because his struggles of the past, present and future come alive in his flashbacks. We find Willy at a really hard time in his life -- he owes money on his house, his sons are visiting, he loses his job -- it doesn’t help that he constantly revisits the past. It seems that all his problems attack him at once. Present takes place while the past haunts him. He eventually takes his own life due to all this pressure. Willy’s story is one that parents and adults can relate to.
There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country! The competition is maddening! Smell the stink from that apartment house! And the one on the other side… How can they whip cheese?”
-Willy is frustrated by the fact that he can’t get anything done and blames it on something/someone else rather than trying to find a solution to the problem
Strengths: Determination to help those he loves (making them happy).
Weaknesses: Dwelling on his failures, regrets, and keeping secrets from those he loves.
Character Description:Linda is a caring mother of Biff and Happy Loman who is often left holding the family together on her own. Linda’s husband, Willy Loman, is angry with his life and often contemplates suicide. Linda continuously protects Willy from making himself too depressed that she will willingly go along with his stories. She is a strong character who puts her husband and her family before herself constantly trying to reassure her husband that he is a good salesman. Linda’s actions were driven by fear, fear of having to deal with the death of her husband and being alone.
Significance: Linda is the glue that holds her husbands fragile confidence and drive together as well as the family. If it was not for Linda’s multiple efforts to reassure her husband he would most likely be dead by now. She will even kick her kids out of the house if they have done something that would upset their father just so she could keep his psyche in tact.
Quote:“You’ve got to get it into your head now that one day you’ll knock on this door and there’ll be strange people here.”
Strengths: Loving care-giver who will do anything to help her husbands mental stability
Weaknesses: Often overlooks the things her husband does, like having an affair, in order to keep him from killing himself.
Significant theme- Pride
Willy Loman is a very picky and prideful person when it comes to his career. His problems could have been solved easily by simply saying that he wanted to take a new job from Charley. However, since Willy felt that Charley was pitying him, he refused the job. Instead of taking the easy way out, Willy decides that he would rather have no job than take a perfectly good offer because he is too stubborn to let go of his old job. He feels like his former and dead boss still owes him his big break and does not want to let go of the past.
"CHARLEY: I offered you a job. You make fifty dollars a week, and I won’t send you on the road.
WILLY: I’ve got a job. CHARLEY: Without pay? What kind of a job is a job without pay?"
Willy was an old man and his brain was scattered. He was always thinking about the reality for Biff and his family but also how he desired for success. In the beginning of the story, he claimed that Biff was lazy but later he says that Biff wasn’t really lazy. In Willy’s eyes, lazy Biff was reality and his desire was salesman Biff.
Willy constantly contradicted himself but we learned that it was part of his character. He was always jumping back and forth -- between reality and desire, past and present.
Quote: 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.
[They move onto the forestage]
LINDA: Oh, don’t be foolish.
WILLY: I know it when I walk in. They seem to laugh at me.
LINDA: Why? Why would they laugh at you? Don’t talk that way, Willy.
[Willy moves to the edge of the stage. Linda goes into the
and starts to darn stockings.]
WILLY: I don’t know the reason for it, but they just pass me by. I’m not noticed.
This situation, doesn’t make sense. Willy is telling Linda that he is well liked at Hartford but he is also ignored when he goes there. So, is he good at his job or does he get ignored? He doesn’t think about what he says before he says it. It’s like he’s thinking out loud because he’s confused. He knows inside that he isn’t very great at his job but he talks like this because he is confused about who he wants to be and who he really is.
Vocabulary- 1) p.66 carte blance (n)- full discretionary power
2) p. 66 correspondence course(n)- a course in which students and teachers communicate via e-mail.
3) p. 70 ignoramus (n) -an ignorant person
4) p. 71 mucous (adj)- consisting of, or resembling mucus
5) p. 74 complexion (n) the hue or appearance of the skin and especially of the face
6)p. 78 commision (n)-The act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty.
7) p. 83 spite (n)- Malicious ill will prompting an urge to hurt or humiliate.
8) p. 83 slugger (n)- a person who throws hard punches
9) p. 83 insistence (n)- To be firm in a demand or course; refuse to yield
10) p.85 indignant (n)- characterized or filled by anger aroused by something unjust.
1. commission-page 107: (n) an amount of money, typically set percentage of the value involved, paid to an agent in a commercial transaction
2. flunk-page 110: (verb) fail to reach the required standard in (an examination, test, or course of study
3. oversight-page 112: (noun) an unintentional failure to notice or do something
4. indignant-page 116: (adj) feeling or showing anger because of something unjust or unworthy
5. chippie-page 121: (n) a prostitute or a promiscuous young woman
6. implacable-page 122: (adj) not capable of being appeased, significantly changed, or mitigated
7. ominous-page 122: (adj) portending evil or harm; foreboding
8. torment-page 124: (verb) to afflict with great bodily or mental suffering; pain
9. proposition-page 126: (n) the act of offering or suggesting something to be considered, accepted, adopted, or done
10. simonize-page 127: (verb) to shine or polish to a high sheen, especially with wax
1. incarnate -- embodied in flesh; given a bodily, especially a human, form (p. 41)
2. laconic --
using few words; expressing much in few words; concise
3. trepidation -- tremulous
, alarm, or agitation (p. 41)
4. stolid --
not easily stirred or moved mentally; unemotional; impassive
5. valise --
a small piece of luggage that can be carried by hand, used to holdclothing, toilet articles, etc.; suitcase; traveling bag
6. gallantly -- brave, spirited, noble-minded, or chivalrous (p.47)
7. ignoramus --
8. rollicking -- carefree and joyous (p. 49)
9. evasively -- tending or seeking to
10. monotonous -- lacking in variety (p. 69)
1. wholly-so as to comprise or involve all.
- endowed with or characterized by a hearty, joyous humor or a spirit of good-fellowship
3. mercurial- changeable; volatile; fickle; flighty; erratic
4. Turbulent-characterized by unrest or disorder or insubordination
5. Crestfallen- dejected; dispirited; discouraged.
6. Pompous- characterized by an ostentatious display of dignity or importance
7.approbation- approval; commendation.
8.incipient- beginning to exist or appear; in an initial stage
9. anemic- lacking power, vigor, vitality, or colorfulness; listless; weak
10. Insinuate- to instill or infuse subtly or artfully, as into the mind
Specific Scene- Pages 71-84
This is the scene where Willy visits the office to ask to change the location he commutes to. He stumbles upon Howard, the son of his former boss and his current boss. Howard is toying around with his new audio equipment and aggravates Willy by being fixated upon it. The two discuss Willy's future. Willy feels like Howard owes it to him to give him what he wants regarding his job because Willy knew his father. Willy keeps saying that he practically named Howard and that is a valid reason for why he owes him. This encounter ends with Howard laying off Willy because Howard feels that Willy is not fit to represent the company anymore. It seems that Howard has in fact been doing Willy a favor; that favor is keeping Willy in the company. When reading about how his co-workers think about Willy, we can sense a feeling that he is unwanted. Howard had probably been holding on to him as long as he could, because Willy seems to have been mentally distressed for a long time.
Specific Scene: Pages 117-121
This scene shows what happened between Biff and his father. Before, Biff had a great relationship with his father, but soon after this event happened, Biff grew to not trust and believe his father. This then caused the change in Biff and his want to not please his father as much as Happy. Happy does not know about this incident so he doesn’t act accordingly. Biff found out that his father was cheating on his mother, so he got so angry that this anger stayed with him throughout his life.
Significant Scene: (pp. 53 - 60)
When Linda tells her sons about the seriousness of their father’s mental state.
Description: Willy is up having another flashback , talking to himself as everyone is sleeping. He wakes everyone up and Linda, Biff and Happy end up talking about him while Willy goes for a walk. Linda talks about how she loves Willy and what a great man he is. She also reveals that he has possibly attempted suicide. Understanding the support that his parents’ desperately needs, Biff promises to talk to Oliver to try to get a job and stay.
Analysis: This scene is important, sad but hopeful all at the same time. It is important because character reaction reveals a lot about the character’s personality and intentions. Biff and Happy are surprised that their father has attempted suicide. He was always a great man and a friend to his sons. It was very surprising that such a strong, stolid man was secretly insecure about himself on the inside. This news was also a wake-up call for the sons. Willy was a very old man and his time was coming and their mother alerted them that he doesn’t have much time left and he deserved to be treated like gallant person that he has always been. As Biff and Happy realized this, they decided they would stay and support their parents. At one point, the children will stop needing the parents but later, the parents will need the children. It was time the sons took care of Willy and assure him that things will get better. Biff’s promise of getting a job gave -- us as an audience -- hope that Willy will receive the love he needs.
Scene:Opening scene when Willy arrives home and is irritated by his home life
The opening scene is significant because it sets up many motifs and common themes that take place throughout the play. Willy comes home from work and he is immediately questioned by Linda. She asks him if he was in a car accident and then she brings up how Willy once drove off of a bridge and into a river. This right away gives you the impression that willy is suicidal. He also becomes very irritated with the way he is treated after an exhausting business trip. The instability and mental weakness is seen by the way he interacts with his wife and the quick anecdote told about his suicide attempt.
WILLY- Nothing’s planted. I don’t have a thing in the ground.
In this scene, Willy is planning out what to do with his garden. He wants to have a garden because he had just been laid off and wants to feel accomplished. However, the garden has a much deeper meaning. When he says nothing is in the ground, he is talking about his future. He had not prepared anything in his ground or future to help sustain himself later on. His children are the metaphorical plants. Since his children were not successful, there are no plants for him in the ground. In reality, there is nothing for him to fall back on because his children do not yet have the money to support him.
Significant Quote: WILLY: "Figure it out. Work a lifetime to pay off a house. You finally own it, and there's nobody to live in it." (p. 15)
Meaning: Willy is just pointing out that he is finally settled with his house and he has no one to share it with. He has his wife but he longs for his sons' companies to enjoy his momentary success.
Context: In the conversation, this quote shows that Willy is lonely. He misses his sons and how it used to be. He's stuck in the past and he wants to show his sons that he's still the great man that he used to be.
Issue of Social Concern- Success/Reputation
As we see in the play Death of a Salesman, there is a big difference between success and reputation. Willy and Biff Loman seemed to believe that there was no difference between the two things, because rather than trying to excel in academics, Willy convinced Biff to focus solely on his reputation and charisma. However, this did not get him very far because Biff failed his math course. This caused Biff to not become a successful man. In today's society, we have similar problems. High school kids in general want to become well known or popular. The other half of kids spend too much time on their academics alone. However, at the end of the day, colleges don't solely care about popularity or academics. You must have both academics and social skills to become a successful person in life.
Biff is the kind of person who holds on to grudges. HE also is the kind of person who is easily swayed when under pressure. For example, when he went for the interview with Oliver, he did not try to speak up when he was not called upon. He did not even say hello to the man when he passed by him. Biff seems like the kind of person who would fall for any small joke and beleive it were true unless told otherwise. This lack of personal courage and outward presence is what casues Biff to lose attention and to lose favor
Issue of Social Concern: Suicide
After all that Willy has been through, with the support and love from his family, he committed suicide. He wasn’t able to see that despite all his failures and bumps in the road, he had his wife and amazing two children. Even though his children drove him crazy, he knew there was love.
Today, suicide is unfortunately part of America’s reputation. Some 30,000 commit suicide and 50,000 attempt suicide in the US every year. This might imply that Americans are very insecure and constantly unhappy. That we might not have stable families or a good support system. It seems that America is a very intimidating place to live and work. What happens in everyday life that you feel abandoned, depressed, and pressured into making the smart choices that led you to a happy life? Does a happy life involve money? Money may be the solution to all problems but is it truly a source of happiness? Would it have made a difference if Willy was able to bring home sufficient income? Would he still have committed suicide if he knew he had money? Do Americans really value money that much?
These questions are for us and other others outside of America. I wonder how they really think of us sometimes.
Living in America doesn’t sound like much of an adventure now that you find evidence that people take their own lives because they either don’t belong or don’t want to belong on the Earth anymore.
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