Paper Two Final Draft
In Death of a Salesman in light of Fences, their society’s compared in the issues of national identity, family, and the gender roles of their times. National identity is blatantly seen within these two plays but the roles families’ played is completely different. In the 1940’s the average household was trying to live the American Dream and we see the consequences of focusing on the American Dream too much through the role of Willy Loman. While the Loman family is so focused on fitting in with their society, the Maxson family is doing the exact opposite while Troy is ignoring the truth that society is accepting African-Americans as equal. We can see the main source of the negative outcomes of these plays coming from the role of the man in the household. While these two men have these flaws, these plays speak to the possibility being tragedies. Willy Loman as well as Troy Maxson each have their own flaws that complicate their households by tearing their family’s apart. Whereas both of the women, Linda Loman and Rose Maxson are the glue and loving mother type for their family’s. We can see the loyal as well as responsible acts in both of these women through their actions.
The focus of national identity in light of the American Dream may have been beneficial for some families, but it was not for the Loman’s. Stuck on trying to fit in with his society, Willy was worsening his relationships with everyone in his family one by one. We can see how he does not accept Biff’s preferred lifestyle when he is talking to his wife saying, “How can he find himself on a farm? Is that a life? A farmhand?” (1071a). Clearly we can see that the play responds to his actions in a way that will end the play tragically. In Fences, we can see Troy is taking the opposite approach in running his family in the sense that he is not trying to live the American Dream. Troy wants his son Cory to be nothing like him, but just wants him to be a hardworking man, while holding him back from his aspirations and we see this when he says to Rose and Bono, “He ought to go and get recruited in how to fix cars or something where he can make a living.” (1487a). We can see this differentiates from Death of a Salesman when we see that Troy is not focused on the acceptance in his society, he is simply just trying to make it. The downfall of focusing on the American Dream tore apart the Loman family, and we can see this through Willy’s lying and how much he pressured his son to be more like him. The play speaks to issue of national identity extremely well in letting the viewers see the negative outcomes of both these men’s actions. Willy creates a horrible relationship with Biff and ends up killing himself over him, while Troy fights his son ruining their relationship forever.
The gender role of a man in the society of Death of a Salesman, shows the numerous flaws and faults Willy displays while running his family. The men in their society seem to be unable to handle the head position of the family and this is evident through Willy’s actions. We can see his lying ways when he lies to his wife stating, “I did five hundred gross in Providence and seven hundred gross in Boston” (1077a). Once she pulls out a pencil and paper to write down the gross, Willy’s whole story changes. With that, Willy is constantly pressuring Biff to be like him, while ignoring Happy’s drive to in fact be like Willy. The play pinpoints Willy’s flaws when we see his constant nagging to his son Biff, which causes an outbreak argument that leads to Willy committing suicide. We can see how Willy’s constant nagging causes Biff to break down crying telling him how he truly feels when he says, “Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens? I’ll go in the morning.” (1004b). Shortly after, this leads to Willy sacrificing his life for the betterment of his son because he finally saw how much Biff...
Cited: Miller, Arthur. Death of a Salesman. The Bedford Introduction to Drama: Sixth Edition.
Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2009. 1069-1106
Miller, Arthur. Tragedy and The Common Man. The Bedford Introduction to Drama: Sixth Edition. Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2009. 1109-11
Wilson, August. Fences. The Bedford Introduction to Drama: Sixth Edition.
Ed. Lee A. Jacobus. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2009. 1484-1512
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