This is your journal activity. Complete the prewriting steps below before moving on to the journal response.
Read and Paraphrase
Read the opening stage directions of Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller.
A melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon. The curtain rises. Before us is the Salesman’s house. We are aware of towering, angular shapes behind it, surrounding it on all sides. Only the blue light of the sky falls upon the house and forestage; the surrounding area shows an angry glow of orange. As more light appears, we see a solid vault of apartment houses around the small, fragile-seeming home. An air of the dream clings to the place, a dream rising out of reality. The kitchen at center seems actual enough, for there is a kitchen table with three chairs, and a refrigerator. But no other fixtures are seen. At the back of the kitchen there is a draped entrance, which leads to the living room . . .
Willy Loman, the Salesman, enters, carrying two large sample cases. The flute plays on. He hears but is not aware of it. He is past sixty years of age, dressed quietly. Even as he crosses the stage to the doorway of the house, his exhaustion is apparent. He unlocks the door, comes into the kitchen, and thankfully lets his burden down, feeling the soreness of his palms. A word-sigh escapes his lips — it might be “Oh, boy, oh, boy.” He closes the door, then carries his cases out into the living room, through the draped kitchen doorway . . .
Write Your Response
Journal question: How do the opening stage directions from Death of a Salesman prepare the reader to read the play? Focus on how different sounds, colors, and images help establish the setting and mood of the play.
Topic sentence: The opening stage directions of Death of a Salesman use images and language that help the reader understand the setting and mood of the play.