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Death of a Salesman – Study Guide

Assignment #1 – Read p. 10 – 19
1. Describe Willy’s house. Why is the setting nearly transparent? 2. Describe Willy as he first appears.
3. What do the introductory remarks reveal about Linda?
4. What hints of possible tensions or problems are given in the opening remarks? 5. Why is Linda worried when Willy returns unexpectedly from his sales trip? 6. Analyze Linda’s response to Willy’s explanation for his return home. 7. What is the tension that exists between Willy and Biff?

8. Why did Willy expect Biff to amount to so much?
9. What gives Willy the feeling that he is being boxed in?
10. What evidence is there that Willy is living in the past?

Assignment #2 - Read p. 19 – 27
1. What differences exist between Happy and Biff?
2. How does Happy interpret his father’s problem?
3. What are some of the jobs that Biff has held?
4. Why doesn’t Biff like being at home?
5. How does Happy respond when Biff suggests that they go West together? 6. What else emerges about Happy’s character?
7. Who is Bill Oliver? What does Biff hope to get from him?
8. Why does Happy want Biff to have a talk with Willy?

Assignment #3 - Read p. 27 – 37
1. What were some of the things that Willy tried to teach Biff when Biff was a boy? 2. In the scenes from the boys’ childhood, how does Willy’s treatment of Biff differ from his treatment of Happy? 3. How does Willy respond when he discovers that Biff has stolen a football? 4. Why doesn’t Willy encourage Biff to study for his math test? 5. Why is so much emphasis placed on Willy’s income and debts? 6. What are Willy’s and Linda’s reaction to the realization that Willy is not getting ahead?

Assignment #4 – Read p. 37- 52
1. What does the introduction of the Woman at this point accomplish? 2. Contrast Biff and Bernard. What further insight into Biff’s character does Bernard provide? 3. What is your interpretation of Willy’s statement that “the woods are burning”? 4. Why does Willy...
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