Father-Son Relationship

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In many literary works, family relationships are the key to the plot. Through a family's interaction with one another, the reader is able decipher the conflicts of the story. Within a literary family, various characters play different roles in each other's lives. These are usually people that are emotionally and physically connected in one way or another. They can be brother and sister, mother and daughter, or in this case, father and son. In the Arthur Miller's novel, Death of A Salesman, the interaction between Willy Loman and his sons, Happy and Biff, allows Miller to comment on father-son relationships and the conflicts that arise from them.

During most father-son relationships, there are certain times where the father wants to become more of a "player" in his son's life than his son believes is necessary. The reasons for this are numerous and can be demonstrated in different ways. Miller is able to give an example of this behavior through the actions of Willy Loman. When Biff comes home to recollect himself, Willy perceives it as failure. Since Willy desperately wants his oldest son, Biff, to succeed in every way possible, he tries to take matters into his own hands. "I'll get him a job selling. He could be big in no time" (16). The reason that Biff came home is to find out what he wants in life. Because Willy gets in the way, matters become more complicated. Partly due to Willy's persistence in Biff's life, they have conflicting ideas as to what the American dream is. Willy believes that working on the road by selling is the greatest job a man could have (81). Biff, however, feels the most inspiring job a man could have is working outdoors (22). When their two dreams collide, it becomes frustrating to Willy because he believes that his way is the right way. If a father becomes too involved in his son's life, Miller believes friction will be the resultant factor. As unfortunate as it is, there are many instances where a father favors one son over another,...
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