Chrysanthemums vs Death of a Salesman

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Jessica Raines
ENC1102- 9:30
Final Essay
May 6, 2013
Choice 1: Similarity between “The Chrysanthemums” and “Death of a Salesman”

In these two stories there isn’t much similarity except how old they both are and the theme, individual worth. By definition Individual worth is the sense of one’s own value or worth as a human being. Unfortunately in both of these stories they have very little individual worth. In Steinbeck’s “The Chrysanthemums” Elisa is probably the smartest character in the story but gets little recognition for being a female. She can’t do anything with the Ranches business except stand by on the side and watch. Always being on the sideline has made Elisa have very low self esteem. Even when the tinker comes into the picture Elisa knows she is probably better at fixing things them him but it is him who gets to go around the country and adventuring every day. Both Henry and the tinker try to make Elisa feel better by taking the Chrysanthemums and by taking her out to dinner but neither recognize her potential or acknowledge it. I think the fact that Elisa always has to hide something she’s good at or be put down by a man would make anyone not notice their individual worth.

In “Death of a Salesman” The struggle to find individual worth is within each character. Willy Loman is a traveling salesman who has tried his entire life to reach the American Dream. The overwhelming tension in his family is caused by the failure for Willy to reach his goal. He is so focused on becoming a successful salesman he never really grasps a true understanding of himself. His suicide later in the story reveals that his individual worth he carried his whole life was never realized. He never felt the large amounts of gratitude and love his family produced and from this aspect of it really left you feeling bad for him. Unlike Willy and Happy, Biff feels compelled to seek the truth about himself. While his father and brother are unable to accept the miserable...
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