Contemporary Society

Death of a Salesman

Employment and Machines

Due to the advancement of technology, unemployment has skyrocketed because new machines have made human involvement with certain jobs, unnecessary. The competition between machines and people is maddening. An example of this in contemporary society would be from a cult classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie Bucket’s father in the film worked in a factory twisting toothpaste caps onto the toothpaste. However, a machine is created that takes the place of Charlie’s father and in return, his father becomes unemployed. There is also the competition between people and machines in The Death of a Salesman. When Willy is talking with Howard, Howard brings up the new machine that he recently bought. “Records things. Just got delivery yesterday. Been driving me crazy, the most terrific machine I ever saw in my life. I was up all night with it”(Page 57). Willy is competing for Howard’s attention with a machine, a machine that Howard holds to a higher regard than Willy. The recording machine embodies this wealthy lifestyle and a successful person, a person that Willy is not. So in that way, Willy is competing with technology for his job. Howard cares more about status and position than he does about Willy which is part of the reason why Willy comes obsolete in his profession. Willy does not fit the mold, he does not have the technology that keeps him in par with his competitors, and he loses his job because of it.


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Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) Official Trailer - Gene Wilder, Roald Dahl Movie HD

Explosion in Social Media

With a now increasing use in social media, being “well-liked” has almost become a profession in itself. The Kardashian family is a good example of being “well-liked” and basically having a career out of it. They are one of the most known families in our generation, with more than half the girls in this country want to be one of the Kardashian sisters. They are “well-liked” and it scored them a reality t.v show and so much business that they have more than enough money that they don’t know how to spend anymore. This was Willy’s dream in Death of a Salesman. All he wanted was to be liked, because to him, that was his key to success. He talks a lot about Dave singleman, and how thousands of people from all over the states came to see him at his funeral. He says, “-- when he died, hundreds of salesman and buyers were at his funeral” (Miller 61). This was all Willy wanted, and yet he couldn’t achieve that.
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Not Enough Work for People, Causing Unemployment

Due to a lagging economy, people around the United States are still unemployed from the global financial crisis of 2008. There are three reasons for this; companies are being cautious when hiring help because they are trying to better manage their company’s money in case of another crisis another reason is because companies still haven’t recouped from the devastating event and don’t have the funds to employ people, and lastly, most companies went out of business and there are no spots to fill since the company has been completely dissolved. In the play Death of a salesman, Willy Loman is one of the lucky ones to be hired in the shadow of a financial crisis and works tirelessly to be perfect at what he does, yet in the end his efforts aren’t good enough and goes from a demotion to being fired. We see Willy realize that his work hasn’t been good enough when he says “Can you imagine that magnificence with twenty thousand dollars on his pocket...It’s very smart, you realize that, don’t you, sweetheart?” (108). Here Willy decides that he will commit suicide in order to obtain his life insurance, which we have seen a lot since the economy crashed in 2008. Willy, just like people in real life, thought that if they killed themselves, they could leave behind money for their family from their insurance company to pay off debt and get ahead on their finances. However, insurance companies don’t compensate the family of people who commit suicide since it’s premeditated. This means that those willing to take extreme measures because the lack of jobs and opportunities are doing so for no reason and are only further hurting themselves.

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College Debt

Due to the advancement of technology, unemployment has skyrocketed because new machines have made human involvement with certain jobs, unnecessary. The competition between machines and people is maddening. An example of this in contemporary society would be from a cult classic film, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Charlie Bucket’s father in the film worked in a factory twisting toothpaste caps onto the toothpaste. However, a machine is created that takes the place of Charlie’s father and in return, his father becomes unemployed. There is also the competition between people and machines in The Death of a Salesman. When Willy is talking with Howard, Howard brings up the new machine that he recently bought. “Records things. Just got delivery yesterday. Been driving me crazy, the most terrific machine I ever saw in my life. I was up all night with it”(Page 57). Willy is competing for Howard’s attention with a machine, a machine that Howard holds to a higher regard than Willy. The recording machine embodies this wealthy lifestyle and a successful person, a person that Willy is not. So in that way, Willy is competing with technology for his job. Howard cares more about status and position than he does about Willy which is part of the reason why Willy comes obsolete in his profession. Willy does not fit the mold, he does not have the technology that keeps him in par with his competitors, and he loses his job because of it.


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