Death of a Salesman – More analysis

Now you have seen a few examples of the kind of close analysis of the text that marks out a skilled reader, and had a go yourselves in the comments section of the last blog post, as well as in your books, I want you to practise those skills further, working in pairs.

Below you will find a series of quotations. First you will need to sign-up for one of the quotations by clicking here. The quotations that are available are labelled ‘free slot’. Above the list, and below the ‘Sign Up’ heading, there is a link to a form that allows you to choose the quotation. You will need to select the number of the quotation from a drop-down menu, add your names in the box below, then click submit. Please check that your names have been added to the sign-up sheet before beginning work on your quotation. If someone else has chosen that quotation before you, you will have to pick another one.

Once you know which quotation you are working on, please copy and paste it at the top of a word processor document, then write your analysis of the quotation beneath. Then copy and paste the quotation and your response into a comment box under this post. Please do not work directly in the comment box, as there is a chance that all your work will be lost if the page crashes or the comment does not save properly.

You will find it helpful to find your quotation in the text so you can put it into context, and feel free to refer to other parts of the text that you think are relevant to link to your particular quotation.

Try and do this fairly quickly (no more than 20 minutes at the most). It doesn’t matter  if it feels unfinished: you can always add more ideas later, but I want everyone to publish their comments in time for you then to begin to look at what other people have written, and to make further comments, ask questions, and discuss further the quotations that other people have been working on. To allow this to happen I am disabling comment moderation, so please be responsible and only make relevant and constructive comments and questions. Your homework will be to continue the discussion.

The numbered quotations for you to choose from are below:

  1. WILLY: Biff Loman is lost. In the greatest country in the world a young man with such—personal attractiveness, gets lost. And such a hard worker. There’s one thing about Biff— he’s not lazy.LINDA: Never.WILLY: [with pity and resolve]: I’ll see him in the morning; I’ll have a nice talk with him. I’ll get him a job selling. He could be big in no time. My God! Remember how they used to follow him around in high school? When he smiled at one of them their faces lit up. When he walked down the street… [He loses himself in reminiscences.]
  2. 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.
  3. WILLY: You and Hap and I, and I’ll show you all the towns. America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people. And they know me, boys, they know me up and down New England. The finest people. And when I bring you fellas up, there’ll be open sesame for all of us, ‘cause one thing, boys: I have friends. I can park my car in any street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own. This summer, heh?
  4. WILLY: Don’t say? Tell you a secret, boys. Don’t breathe it to a soul. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more.HAPPY: Like Uncle Charley, heh?WILLY: Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not liked. He’s liked, but he’s not — well liked
  5. 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!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? (Act 1)
  6. WILLY: That’s just what I mean, Bernard can get the best marks in school, y’understand, but when he gets out in the business world, y’understand, you are going to be five times ahead of him. That’s why I thank Almighty God you’re both built like Adonises. 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. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer. “Willy Loman is here!” That’s all they have to know and I go right through.
  7. LINDA: We should’ve bought the land next door.WILLY: The street is lined with cars. There’s not a breath of fresh air in the neighborhood. The grass don’t grow anymore, you can’t raise a carrot in the backyard. They should’ve had a law against apartment houses. Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When I and Biff hung the swing between them?LINDA: Yeah, like being a million miles from the city.
  8. BIFF [with enthusiasm]: Listen, why don’t you come out West with me?HAPPY: You and I, heh?BIFF: Sure, maybe we could buy a ranch. Raise cattle, use our muscles. Men built like we are should be working out in the open.
  9. WILLY: 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!LINDA: He’s finding himself, Willy.WILLY: Not finding yourself at the age of thirty-four is a disgrace!
  10. WILLY: 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?
  11. HAPPY [enthralled]: That’s what I dream about Biff. Sometimes I wanna just rip my clothes off in the middle of the store and outbox that goddamned merchandise manager. I mean I can outbox, outlift and outrun anybody in that store, and I have to take orders from those petty, common sons of bitches till I can’t stand it anymore.
  12. HAPPY: I bet he’d back you. ‘Cause he thought highly of you, Biff. I mean, they all do. You’re well liked, Biff. That’s why I say to come back here, and we both have the apartment. And I’m tellin’ you, Biff, any babe you want…
  13. 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 kitchen and starts to darn stockings.]

    WILLY: I don’t know the reason for it, but they just pass me by. I’m not noticed.

  14. LINDA: I’m just wondering if Oliver will remember him. You think he might?WILLY: [coming out of the bathroom in his pajamas]: Remember him? What’s the matter with you, you crazy? If he’d stayed with Oliver he’d be on top by now! Wait’ll Oliver gets a look at him. You don’t know the average caliber any more. The average young man today —[he’s getting into bed]— is got a caliber of zero. Greatest thing in the world for him was to bum around.
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32 Responses to Death of a Salesman – More analysis

  1. Tomiwa and Olivia says:

    QUOTE 2

    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.

    This quotation shows how Biff truly feels about Willy’s career and life choices; he does not seem happy with the life he has and seems to wish he did something better with his life. He seems to feel as though everything he has done has all been pointless as he works hard just ‘for the sake of a two week vacation’. It is a turning point for Willy, as he seems to realise his life isn’t worth living anymore, and with this realisation this could be what brings him to take his own life. This also shows that Biff spent ‘six or seven years’ just doing things to please his dad, and he doesn’t seem content with the decisions he has made and feels like a failure.
    He seems passionate about the outdoors, and the ‘outdoors’ seems a major theme throughout the play. The word ‘suffer’ shows how Biff detests his job and how he really feels about his life, that he feels like he is suffering for in a sense nothing. He seems to want to make a difference to his life, to make it in a sense better, so that he can fulfil the dreams he has always wanted to. He seems to know what you must do to achieve your dreams, as he says ‘and still-that’s how you build a future’.
    Towards the end of the quote, Miller uses quite a few short sentences, to create suspense and show that he is adamant and trying to prove his point; his opinion has to be in the right. For example, the last sentence ‘and still-that’s how you build a future.’ This shows that Biff is trying to create suspense and effect and tries to make it short and simple and to the point, he is trying to say that it is the right way to go about it. Furthermore, when he says ‘measly manner of existence’ may reflect him and his dad’s relationship instead of Biff idolising his dad, he is insulting him and his lifestyle. The word that particularly shows this is ‘measly’ meaning weak and pathetic.

    • Mr Heald says:

      Well done you two: excellent effort. I’ll add some comments and questions later when I’m not in a rush and on a dodgy 3G connection.

    • Mr Heald says:

      Could you try and be a little clearer about what you think this quotation reveals about Biff, and what about Willy? It looks a little at first as though you are conflating the two, but perhaps it’s just that you haven’t explained it clearly enough.

      You pick up on some details of language quite well (‘suffer’ and ‘measly’), but can you develop the exploration of language and structure a little further. You say that Miller uses ‘short sentences, to create suspense’ – what suspense does it create? Can you say something more about the structure of the sentences beyond merely observing that they are ‘short’?

  2. Mr Heald says:

    Come on ladies and gents! Over twenty minutes in and only Olivia & Tomiwa signed up? What’s going on? I’m on my way back from a course in Manchester and looking forward to seeing what you come up with, so get cracking!

  3. Tomiwa and Olivia says:

    Ain’t that right.

  4. maxmcclellan14 says:

    Quotation 12
    HAPPY: I bet he’d back you. ‘Cause he thought highly of you, Biff. I mean, they all do. You’re well liked, Biff. That’s why I say to come back here, and we both have the apartment. And I’m tellin’ you, Biff, any babe you want…

    Happy and Biff are very different even though they’re brothers. In one sense you could say that Happy is jealous of Biff. Happy comments on how Willy admires and loves Biff even after all that Biff has done. This then carries onto Biffs work as his boss likes Biff even after all that Biff has done and has been accused of at work. “Cause he thought highly of you, Biff”. The word highly also gives affect as it gives the impression that Biff is a well liked person. Highly is a word that suggests respect and admiration, it could also mean that Biff was an asset to the company and his boss used words like this to keep him on.

    We can then tell that Biff is a well liked character and a role model for others in the sense of his likeability. ‘ You’re well like Biff’ this implies others enjoy being in the company of Biff and like being around him. This characteristic also means Biff can easily catch the eyes of women, ‘any babe you want…’ This gives the impression that Happy is realizing that Biff is a catch with the women and so wants to go out with Biff in the hope that if Biff gets a girl then he will, this does eventually happen later on in the play.

    ‘We both have the apartment’ suggests that Biff is thinking long-term and perhaps settling down and maybe having a family. This links earlier on when Biff and Happy are in bed and talking. There again Happy hints at settling down and ‘sticking to one girl’ but Biff disagrees as he doesn’t think he could be in a long-term relationship.

    In conclusion this quotation gives us the idea that Biff and Happy are talking about the past and thinking about the future. But Happy is trying to make sure that Biff and him are still close no matter what each of them do. In a sense Happy is looking after Biff as he encourages Biff to move into an apartment with him and think about his career aspects before Willy gets to him and moans at him.

    Max and Aaron

    • Mr Heald says:

      Well done you two: give the others some hassle to get theirs in quick, please! Ill comment on this later.

    • Mr Heald says:

      ““Cause he thought highly of you, Biff”. The word highly also gives affect as it gives the impression that Biff is a well liked person. Highly is a word that suggests respect and admiration, it could also mean that Biff was an asset to the company and his boss used words like this to keep him on.”

      Throughout your response you are paying pleasingly close attention to language. Be careful not to confuse effect/affect as you have here.(http://public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/affect.html)

      However, you have taken what is said here completely at face value. Do we get the impression that Bill Oliver really ‘thought highly’ of Biff?

      You suggest that “we both have the apartment” suggests thinking of settling down and having a family. What makes you think that? Does it seem likely that either of them would want to set up a family in an apartment shared with his brother? Does “any babe you want” suggest ‘settling down’? If not, what does it suggest? What do you think of the language use there? How does it fit in with other indicators of Happy’s view of women.

      Does the evidence of the rest of the play support your view of Biff being the one who is a ‘catch with the women’?

      • Max and Aarons great adventures says:

        Bill Oliver is Biff’s boss, he fired Biff for the theft of some basketballs. When he was sacked Bill wasnt completely sure if it was Biff or not. To stay on neutral grounds Bill said to him ‘if you ever need anything you know where I am’. Bearing this in mind Biff feels the need to back to him, he does this as he needs to raise funds for his buisness idea with Happy. Eventually Biff realises that his buisness plans are going no where, so has to admit to his dad. However he knows that this failure will disgust his father this relates to their arguement towards the end of the play, this could also be an aspect as to why Willy finally took his own life.

        • Max and Aarons great adventures in the big world (for aaron) says:

          ” We both have the apartment” gives the impression that Biff and Happy want to settle down and have a family. The reasoning behind this is that getting an apartment is a key turning point in adult life. Getting an apartment often leads to having a family and eventualy settling down.

  5. ‘Biff Loman is lost.’ ‘lost’ could mean a lot of things, Miller may be referring to him being lost in his mind, as in a confused state like he doesn’t know what to do with his life or maybe knows what to do, but does not how or when to do it (and if his father ‘Willy’ will approve). Then further on Willy says, ‘a young man with such-personal attractiveness, gets lost’, this could imply that Biff is ‘lost’ in his love life, he might not be able to find the correct partner, therefore comes across as ‘lost’.

    The way Willy insults Biff contradicts the way he speaks so highly of him: ‘a young man with such—personal attractiveness, gets lost. And such a hard worker. There’s one thing about Biff— he’s not lazy.’ I think he does this because Willy is jealous of Biff’s freedom and personal qualities and wishes that Biff could take over his life and business (make a better job of it).

  6. Jazza y Sazza says:

    This quotation gives a good impression on how Willy’s life was before, compared to how it is now. For example, at the time this conversation took place, Willy was more confident with what he wanted to achieve and had less doubts about himself unlike later on in the book. He declares that he’ll have his “own business” (like the American Dream) and will “never have to leave home any more” This suggests that he is definite in what he wants to accomplish and won’t let anyone stand in his way, including “Uncle Charley”. Furthermore, Willy saying these things encourages Biff and Happy to have the same mind-set and adopt the same opinions about people. This is shown when Willy says “Because Charley is not liked. He’s liked, but he’s not – well liked.” Later on, (page twenty) similarly, Biff then says about Bernard “He’s liked, but he’s not well liked.” This indicates that Biff idolises Willy a lot and wants to be like him; including his verbal nature which could be what Willy intended to do in the first place.
    Due to the fact Willy thought he was going to achieve so much, it could have prompted him to inspire his children to be like him so in his theory, they could have just as much success as he would have.

  7. Codie & Ursula says:

    Quote 3

    Willy is confident in himself and his abilities because of this he believes that everyone well likes him and this is one of his main priorities in life. The evidence to support this is ‘… I have friends. I can park my car in the street in New England, and the cops protect it like their own.’ In Willy’s mind he is highly respected, and can accomplish or get anything. Linking further into the story when Willy thought he could get the job with Howard however Howard turned him down,’ Well, I couldn’t think of anything for you, Willy’. This shows that Willy thinks that he can get whatever he wants but in fact, he cannot. I think Willy believes he is a bit higher in the hierarchy than he really is. Willy believes that he has a reputation in the New England community that also boosts his belief that he is very successful, liked and you could say popular.

    • Codie & Ursula says:

      Willy says,’ I have friends’, this quote comes across quite blunt. Miller has used a simple and short sentence for the effect on the reader that Willy is boasting to his sons about him having friends. However, it can also be taken in a different context where Willy is convincing and reassuring himself about his social standing because loneliness is a key theme throughout the book and he experiences it many times.
      Willy also says to his sons, ‘America is full of beautiful towns and fine, upstanding people.’ Although earlier in the play when in a conversation with his wife Linda, he contradicts himself by ranting on saying,’ there’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country!’ Throughout the play, Miller gets Willy to contradict himself a lot possibly to show his state of mind being unclear and indecisive. The theme of the ‘American Dream’ runs throughout the core of the play and can also be linked to another book called ‘Of mice and men’. During the books, both main characters have a need to own something or a piece of land. George and Lennie both wanted and yearned for a piece of land to call their own. Whereas in death of a salesmen, Willy committed suicide for his family to pay off the bills and mortgage they owed on their house, from his insurance money after he died.

  8. Ho Yin says:

    Willy does not agree with Biff working on a farm. He understands that a man needs to ‘tramp around’ but Biff hasn’t settled down with a job that uses his abilities and has a good wage. Willy believes that Biff has had plenty of time to ‘find himself’ and to be still doing this at 34 years is a disgrace. Despite everything Willy has taught when Biff was younger, Biff hasn’t really applied much of this into life so far, perhaps this is why he is only a farm hand.

    • Mr Heald says:

      This shows understanding of what the quotation says, but that’s not analysis, is it? What can you say about the author’s craft here, in terms of choices relating to language or structure?

    • Well I’m sure he was doing something with his life before now that could be considered as a skill, so why would he just be useful only as a farmhand?

  9. Will/Curtis/Daniel says:

    LINDA: I’m just wondering if Oliver will remember him. You think he might?WILLY: [coming out of the bathroom in his pajamas]: Remember him? What’s the matter with you, you crazy? If he’d stayed with Oliver he’d be on top by now! Wait’ll Oliver gets a look at him. You don’t know the average caliber any more. The average young man today —[he’s getting into bed]— is got a caliber of zero. Greatest thing in the world for him was to bum around.

    Willy clearly thinks that Biff is a great man with massive potential, whether wasted or not. It is referred that ‘Oliver will remember him’, this shows Willy’s confidence in his son’s demeanour and successful ways. In reality, though, Biff may have been successful and had the skills back when he was in school, but since then, he had become lazy to an extent and is constantly switching between jobs. Willy carries on re-assuring himself of his son’s excellence saying that if he’d have carried on with Oliver he’d be on top. He unrealistically believes that this is still possible and is hoping for something to happen that is very unlikely to.

  10. LINDA: We should’ve bought the land next door.
    WILLY: The street is lined with cars. There’s not a breath of fresh air in the neighborhood. The grass don’t grow anymore, you can’t raise a carrot in the backyard. They should’ve had a law against apartment houses. Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there? When I and Biff hung the swing between them?
    LINDA: Yeah, like being a million miles from the city.

    First off the Loman’s are discussing about how things have changed over the years. Both Linda and Willy have a mutual opinion about how time has gone on and the beautiful scenery that once surrounded their home has now been replaced with the busy city surrounding which they both feel depressed about. Linda makes a comment about the fact that she and Willy should have “bought the land next door” and Willy also says “they should’ve had a law against apartment houses” which shows that they don’t like the neighbourhood they live in. This tells me that there is no nature in the surrounding area and that if they had “bought the land next door” they would have had somewhere to look into the distance but the apartment houses surround them and destroy any possibility of that happening. The quotation also tells me that they don’t like the neighbourhood they live in because they feel caged up with nowhere to go. Willy also says, “Remember those two beautiful elm trees out there?” which could mean that those trees have not been there in a long time as he said, “Remember”. Linda replied to that with “yeah, like being a million miles from the city” which also shows that the buildings have been there a long time because it would obviously take a long time to get the city to be close to them as Linda made it clear that it was far away at the time Willy was talking about. Another quotation which backs up my reasoning is that Willy also said “the grass don’t grow anymore, you can’t raise a carrot in the backyard” which says that there is no room to do anything and that the land could have become infertile because of all the buildings being built on it.

  11. Holly, Greta and Jade. says:

    13.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.
    This passage from the texts suggests that willy is very frustrated with himself as well as his employer, ‘I’ll knock em dead next week’ implies that he himself knows that he’s not doing well on his job and although he wants to do well he just doesn’t seem to be able to do his job as well as he used to. He tells us this when he says ‘people don’t seem to take to me’. He says this as an excuse for his poor ability to be able to carry out his job successfully.
    “I’m very well liked in Hartford” this text from the passage suggests that Willy is a well-known person when he enters the city of Hartford. He is almost like a well-known celebrity; everyone knows and respects him for different reasons. In addition, it suggests that Willy is a bit fond of himself as he states that he is “very well liked in Hartford”.
    “They seem to laugh at me.” This suggests Willy see’s pity in him and seems to think the people at his work make fun of him. Possibly, he could notice only the bad things that people say about himself instead of the positive effects he has on people.
    by Greta, Holly and Jade

  12. Willy :( / Daniel;) / Curtis :3 says:

    Willy tells Linda that the average ‘caliber’ of a man is zero therefore he is stating that his own son is greater than the average man. This illustrates how highly he sees his son. Meaning he has high expectations of Biff, this is why he gets so angry/frustrated about what Biff is doing with his life. Willy thinks Biff is not reaching his full potential, like being a salesman, like himself and not working outdoors like he is currently.

  13. liv AND tomo says:

    QUOTE 2

    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.

    This quotation shows how Biff truly feels about Willy’s career and life choices; he does not seem happy with the life he has and seems to wish he did something better with his life. He seems to feel as though everything he has done has all been pointless as he works hard just ‘for the sake of a two week vacation’. It is a turning point for Willy, as he seems to realise his life isn’t worth living anymore, and with this realisation this could be what brings him to take his own life. This also shows that Biff spent ‘six or seven years’ just doing things to please his dad, and he doesn’t seem content with the decisions he has made and feels like a failure.
    He seems passionate about the outdoors, and the ‘outdoors’ seems a major theme throughout the play. The word ‘suffer’ shows how Biff detests his job and how he really feels about his life, that he feels like he is suffering for in a sense nothing. The word ‘suffer’ also may be hinting on how people felt at the time; as the play was based around the time of the Great Depression in America, October 1929. During the Great Depression people were suffering after the collapse of the stock market, people went to do jobs such as a salesman, prostitute or jobs in agriculture, this representing the suffering as if a salesman was quite a tiring and painful job to do and people only did it as they were desperate for money. We know this because, when Willy comes back home he lets out a sigh whilst saying ‘Oh boy, oh boy’. This shows how relieved and in a sense happy he was to be home and ‘free’ from his work. Miller goes on to claim that Willy ‘has a lot of burden on his hands’. This shows he has a lot on his mind, and many things to do with his work he is worrying about; it seems to be taking over his mind and his thoughts, and causing him to feel lower than he actually is. This explains why Willy is so critical of Biff, as he can see Biff going down the same route as himself and he doesn’t want Biff to carry on with the same ‘burden’ (the burden being that he isn’t a well-known salesman and doesn’t have enough money to provide for himself and his family). He seems to want to make a difference to his life, to make it in a sense better, so that he can fulfil the dreams he has always wanted to. He seems to know what you must do to achieve your dreams, as he says ‘and still-that’s how you build a future’.
    This quote reveals that Biff sees his fathers’ ideal for him in a different light, and instead of him going down the same career path as his father. Willy himself wants Biff to go down the path that his brother Ben did, as he feels he his brother has always been the successful one in the family and cast a shadow upon Willy. The quotation in a sense shows that the ‘well-liked’ people don’t always seem to be the most successful in their lives, particularly in their careers.
    This quote shows how insecure Willy is, and how much he doubts himself and his success. Willy seems to be disappointed with what he has gone on to do in life, and feels that the career he chose was not the career he should have chosen. He desperately does not want Biff to go down the same path as I don’t think he wants Biff to feel the same way Willy does, as if he is worthless. However, I think Biff interprets it as if it is best for him to not go down that path at all, as he recognises there are other choices out there, choices that are better suited to him. Giving the reason why Biff choses to go down the agriculture path to work in a ranch, probably because we know that Biff did sports whilst at college and that he was well liked, “Coach’ll probably congratulate you on your initiative.” Showing he is best at practical tasks and that is what makes him happy. However, his dad thinks otherwise and believes he is better than this and should not be a simple “farm-hand”, wasting all his potential on something that could be used to become Willy’s dream.
    WE ADAPTED IT SIR. #LIVandTOMIstrikeAGAIN

  14. Zach says:

    BIFF [with enthusiasm]: Listen, why don’t you come out West with me?
    HAPPY: You and I, heh?
    BIFF: Sure, maybe we could buy a ranch. Raise cattle, use our muscles. Men built like we are should be working out in the open.
    Once again, Miller has used Happy as a middle ground. Miller does this by giving Biff options, which he seems to be unable to choose between. Happy seemed set on the manager position at his job, following his father’s ambitions for Biff. However, Happy still doesn’t receive the attention he desires. It seems happy regularly changes his dreams due to following both his brother and father. We can tell Happy’s desired attention throughout the play it ‘I’m getting married, Pop’ seems perhaps Happy’s inviting his father to talk about Happy instead of Biff. However, Willy just ignores Happy even though they are very similar in traits with attitude to women, work and admirations. Perhaps Willy doesn’t pay attention to Happy because Happy is following the same path. Where as he puts all his attention on Biff because Biff is doing what Willy really wants.

    • Will, Daniel, Curtis says:

      Maybe Willy desires attention too, like Happy. But off of Biff, instead of Happy. Maybe Biff is his favourite? As Biff gets more attention, like you said, Willy may want a better relationship with his son (Biff) as they always argue. Willy might miss the days when they were closer and got along better, like when he remembers about talking with him in the garden when he was younger, and getting along. Not much to do with the quote, but just something to think about. 🙂

  15. Holly, Greta and Jade. more work added says:

    13.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.
    This passage from the texts suggests that willy is very frustrated with himself as well as his employer, ‘I’ll knock em dead next week’ implies that he himself knows that he’s not doing well on his job and although he wants to do well he just doesn’t seem to be able to do his job as well as he used to. He tells us this when he says ‘people don’t seem to take to me’. He says this as an excuse for his poor ability to be able to carry out his job successfully.
    “I’m very well liked in Hartford” this text from the passage suggests that Willy is a well-known person when he enters the city of Hartford. He is almost like a well-known celebrity; everyone knows and respects him for different reasons. In addition, it suggests that Willy is a bit fond of himself as he states that he is “very well liked in Hartford”.
    “They seem to laugh at me.” This suggests Willy see’s pity in him and seems to think the people at his work make fun of him. Possibly, he could notice only the bad things that people say about him instead of the positive effects he has on people.
    ‘the trouble is, Linda, people don’t seem to take to me’ Willy says this to Linda in a defeated kind of way, he has already admitted to himself that people don’t seem to take to him easily but he doesn’t identify it as his fault. He has accepted to himself that he has lost his ability to wow people with his charm, as he has gotten older. He says ‘the trouble is’ which suggest that he believes it is not his fault that other people don’t understand his charm, he diverts the blame of his lack in social skills onto other people. In addition, by saying ‘people don’t seem to take to me’ this implies that he doesn’t understand why they don’t take to him but again he is saying that it is their fault rather than his.
    “I know it when I walk in” Willy states this to his wife as he is very frustrated with the fact that people don’t seem to be very fond on willy anymore. He must feel awkward when he walks into the room because he notices the people talking negatively about him. You wouldn’t want to be in the room, because of the tension.

  16. Olivia and the Tomo says:

    *In Willy’s case the job of a salesman is a last option for him and that he is desparate for the job unlike Biff who has options and has a lot of potential and sees the job as a higher ranked job in which he can build himself upon, and not the lower class side which is a dead end.
    WILL EDIT LATER

  17. Jazza y Sazz (Jazz and Sarah) says:

    WILLY: Don’t say? Tell you a secret, boys. Don’t breathe it to a soul. Someday I’ll have my own business, and I’ll never have to leave home any more. HAPPY: Like Uncle Charley, heh?WILLY: Bigger than Uncle Charley! Because Charley is not liked. He’s liked, but he’s not — well liked

    Miller makes Willy sound very ambitious in this quotation because he comes across as very confident with his dreams. By using the verb “I’ll” he expresses much certainty about his goals, which gives the impression that Willy knew what he wanted to do and was determined to do it, for example when he says “I’ll have my own business.” Willy says this sentence in a way that suggests he already has this amount of success rather than him saying he wants to have it.
    However, despite him seeing at first, incredibly confident Miller also hints at him still having self-doubts; for example, when he tells his sons not to “breathe it to a soul.” This gives the impression that although wanting to seem self-assured, Miller has wrote him to have the fear of dreaming big and becoming a failure. Therefore, this could be the reason why he tells his sons to not “breathe it [his plan] to a soul” because if his idea doesn’t go the way he planned it, others would look upon him as a disappointment and too idealistic which then conflicts with Willy’s obsession of being liked by everyone.
    Moreover, it shows us the relationship he has with his two sons, as he tells them “a secret”; this demonstrates he wants them to feel special as they get let in on a secret no one else can know. Linda might be excluded also as there is no reference to her being told this plan later on in the play. By choosing to tell them a secret that nobody else is aware of it contrasts with the type of relationship they share later on in Willy’s life. In the time the quotation was set Willy seems to have trust in his boys, as he confides in them enough to be comfortable with them knowing a secret of his, yet their relationship later in Willy’s life is portrayed as having more tension and being more strained. This can be presented by how Miller wrote Happy and Biff tend to be more impatient with Willy as the play progresses and also how Willy’s level of annoyance with his sons increases as well.

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