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The Death of a Salesman: Reflection Paper

The story The Death of a Salesman directed by Volker Schlöndorff and based on the play by Arthur Miller is a captivating must-watch for everybody. The events of the story unfold in such a manner that the viewer remains glued to the screen all the while. The story is a clear indication of how a man in the American society has found it hard to accomplish his dream. Willy Loman is the main character in the story who is portrayed as a dreamer and whose ambitions have turned him crazy (Sparknotes 2). Despite the love and care of his wife Linda, Willy’s state of mind continues to deteriorate due to the failed and shattered dreams that he has had as a businessman. It is evidently clear that Willy was a hardworking and committed to his work man; however, he ended up losing his job when his boss Howard alluded that his services were no longer needed at the company (Sparknotes 3). It can be argued that the death of Willy in a bid to ensure that his son achieves his American dream indicates that the American dream is just a notion whose achievement depends not only on hard work, but also on the people you know.

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The story sheds light on the willful and wishful life that Willy seemed to live. It is evident that Willy wanted to be successful and live his American dream with his family. However, despite his hard work as a salesman, he ends up as a poor man. When it becomes apparent to his sons, Biff and Happy, that something is wrong with their dad, Linda is forced to open up about the real issue. She explains to their sons that they are going through a financial crisis. Willy considers himself as old and unable to achieve his dreams. His misfortunes are enhanced by the fact that his son Biff once found him with a woman in Boston. Although the two reunite at the end, it is evident the relationship between Biff and his father is sour.

The American dream seems to be an extreme notion or an idea whose reality is a fallacy. It is evident from the story that when opportunities knock on Willy’s family’s door, success always proves elusive. For instance, Willy is unable to secure a job at New York so that he can avoid travelling as a salesman due to his age. Instead, he ends up getting fired from his job. Equally, Biff is unsuccessful in his search for a loan to start a business from his former employer. This is a clear proof that the American dream is just an idea to the low class society (Sparknotes 5). While Biff seems to realize that the entire family is living a dream, his father is ready to sacrifice his life so that his son can achieve the dream on his behalf. While Willy insists that Biff should pursue a career in business, Biff wants his father to accept him for whom he is. This culminates with Willy killing himself intentionally through a car crash so that Biff would use his life insurance money to start a business.

From a vantage point of view, this act of Willy seems farfetched and uncalled for. It is vital to note that the father would have let his sons live a life of their choice and pursue their dream careers. It is critical that Biff rejected the sacrifice his father made and pursued his own dreams. However, Happy, who is still living a life of the American dream, seems to follow his father’s footsteps.

 

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