October 13, 2013
Introduction to Literature
Section #: 46892
Assignment: Documented Essay
The Secrets & Lies of a Dysfunctional Family
A dysfunctional family can be a central theme of modern short stories. Some other short story themes can include carelessness, cockiness, and unusual relationships. Being a part of a dysfunctional family characters tend to suffer due to certain circumstances. In “The Death of a Salesman,” a dysfunctional family is the major focus point of this short story.
As a member of dysfunctional family feelings can range from abandonment, depression, and maybe even suicidal thoughts. Willy, father and husband, was abandoned by his father and brother at a young age which leaves him with many unanswered questions and concerns: WILLY. Where is Dad? Didn’t you follow him? How did you get started? BEN. Well, I don’t know how much you remember.
WILLY. Well, I was just a baby, of course, only three or four years old--- BEN. Three years and eleven months.
WILLY. What a memory, Ben!
BEN. I have many enterprises, William, and I have never kept books. WILLY. I remember I was sitting under the wagon in---was it Nebraska? BEN. It was South Dakota, and I gave you a bunch of wildflowers. WILLY. I remember you walking away down some open road
BEN[laughing]. I was going to find Father in Alaska.
WILLY. Where is he?
BEN. At that age I had a very faulty view of geography, William. I discovered after a few days that I was heading south, so instead of Alaska, I ended up in Africa. (Act 1). This secret fear changed Willy’s character, leaving him in a state of desperation. As a result, Willy is abandoned by Biff, his son and he abandons his family by committing suicide.
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