Death of a Salesman

By Shealyn Connell, Adam McNamara

College loans and rising cost of colleges: students are graduating from college with more debt and fewer job opportunities than ever before

"Population is getting out of control. The competition is maddening!" (page 7)


Willy is saying that more and more people are starting in the salesmen business. As more people start, the less business Willy has to work with. When students graduate from college, they are graduating with loads of debt. The cost of college is not able to be paid without taking loans. The competition for jobs coming out of college is just as difficult as Willy finding a sales job with all the new salesmen.

American Dream is no longer a potential reality in modern society.

“Will you let me go, for Christ’s sake? Will you take that phony dream and burn it before something happens?” (pg 106)

American Dream

Biff argues to Willy that achieving the American Dream is hopeless, the odds are stacked against both of them, and Biff has been unsuccessful in acquiring work. The Loman family has no hope of achieving a better tomorrow because neither Willy nor Biff have the skill or intellect to take on any paying job. Willy does not have the mentality to face his problems like a man, so he slowly but surely retreats to his delusions in the final moments of his life. Biff dropped out of high school so he has no means of going to college and acquiring a diploma that would aid him in gaining a job.

Thanks to the explosion in social media, being ‘well liked’ has almost become a profession in itself - People keep track of Facebook friends and Twitter followers

“Why must everybody like you? Who liked J.P Morgan? Was he impressive? In a turkish bath he looked like butched. But with his pockets on he was very liked.” (pg 75)
Eric Thomas | Motivational Speech | How Bad Do you Want it

Being well liked

In this quotation, Charley is explaining to Willy that he is too caught up in wanting people to like him. He believes that Willy should focus more on his work and making money, rather than worrying how impressive and well liked he is. This relates to people keeping track of Facebook and Twitter followers, in the idea that people have made a profession out of seeing how liked they can be. Charley references J.P Morgan, saying that he was an ugly man who didn’t care if he was liked or not. However, the only thing that mattered was how much money he had in his pockets, and that was more impressive than his personality. Nobody should care if they are liked or not, the most important thing is liking yourself. In this Eric Thomas motivational speech, he talks to his audience about not worrying about what people think about you, and he challenges them to spend time finding themselves.

Parents misguiding their children/children failing to live up to parents’ expectations.

“It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it- because personality always wins the day.” (page 48)

Parents expectations

In this example, Willy is giving Biff advice about how to approach Bill Oliver when asking for the loan. He tells Biff that it is his personality that is the most important thing, and completely ignores the business side of Biff’s proposal. From a young age, Willy has provided Biff with False information on his idea of success, that it is important to be well liked and good looking. Even in his thirties, Willy is misguiding Biff and setting him up for failure. This is similar to Kung Fu Panda, where the main character Po’s father wants him to go into the noodle business, ignoring the obvious Kung Fu potential Po possesses.
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