Death of a Salesman

5 themes that make it an American classic

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Theme 1: Financial/Employment Success (or lack thereof)

“There’s more people! That’s what’s ruining this country! Population is getting out of control. The competition is maddening!” (Miller 7).

Making a Connection

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

  • more people and not enough jobs

  • more people with higher degrees

  • the more people the more competition

Sources From the News

In this video, CNBC talks about high economical issues and social costs of student loan debt. Because there are so many people graduating with degrees, there are less jobs out there. Back then, if people graduated with a degree, they were guaranteed a job, but now that so many people are going to college and graduating with a degree, there are less employment opportunities because so many people are taking it. Also, the tuition to attend college is continuing to increase, thus explains why there is a high level of student debt. If people attend college, graduate and earn a degree, and go out into the real world and are unable to find a job, it’s hard for them to pay off their college loans.

Using the video in relation to the quote

This video of CNBC talking about high economical issues and social costs of student loan debt relates to when Willy freaks out about how the country is modernizing and improving. In the quote above, Willy was getting angry at people who were chasing the American Dream, saying that competition is maddening. This relates to the video because competition has increased throughout the years for people who are looking for jobs. When people nowadays apply for jobs, they compete with many other people who want the same job. Because more people are graduating with degrees, there are less job opportunities for people.

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Theme 2: The play is an exposure of delusions of the American middle class

“The jungle is dark but full of diamonds, Willy” (Miller 107).

Article connection

In this article, Time reveals that the American Middle class is no longer richer than any other middle class in the world. Today we have lower minimum wages, fewer unions, and creating a large difference in pay between an executive and average worker. The unions we have are weak and are losing the control they once had. You can’t just have the plan of getting a job straight out of college because today there are so many people going after that one job.

Using the quote in relation to the article

This article’s content relates to the delusions present in Death of a Salesman. In this specific quote Ben explains to Willy that all he has to do is go and venture to Alaska and he will make it in life. Willy embraces the same idea that you don’t have to work hard to achieve, and you are well-liked” and lucky, everything else will fall into place. Willy should be living by Bernards standards, where if you work hard and try you will succeed. This relates to the article because society today is forgetting that you can’t just work and receive minimum wage. You have to create a stronger union, and work towards a higher position. We need to stop telling ourselves that if you have a job you will be okay.
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Theme 3: Working poor can’t subsist on minimum wage

”If I had forty dollars a week -that’s all I’d need. Forty dollars, Howard”. (Miller 61)

Political connection

In President Obama’s State of the Union Address, he talks about raising minimum wage so that American workers can benefit from the wage increase. Raising minimum wage nationwide will increase earnings for millions of workers, and support the local economies where they live, work and spend their earnings. On average, a full-time minimum wage worker makes $14,500 a year, which is below the poverty line for a family.

using the quote in relation to the article

In this quote, Willy is asking Howard for forty dollars a week because he is not making any money. This quote relates to Obama’s State of the Union Address, because Willy is trying to increase the amount of money he makes. Likewise, most Americans are trying to do the same. Although, Willy is not living in poverty, he is not making any money.
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Theme 4: Status and the search for happiness

“‘Because the man who makes an appearance in the business word, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want. You take me, for instance. I never have to wait in line to see a buyer’” (21).

Media connection

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. In this video, Essena O’Neill talks about why she is quitting social media. She was making a lot of money for each Instagram post; however, she couldn’t cope with the pressure. She was absolutely “well-liked” because of her appearance, and she was idolized by many teenage girls because of it. At the end, she realizes that she was so caught up in being well-liked that she missed out on life. This, therefore, explains why she quit using social media.

using the video to explain the quote

In this quote, Willy is so caught up in the past of being well-liked that he is losing control with reality. In comparison to Essena, she says the same thing in the video and talks about her having a mental breakdown because she lost touch with reality because she was so caught up and focused on her Instagram account.

Work cited

1. "Looking for the next Crisis? Try Student Debt." CNBC. N.p., 15 June 2015. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <>.

2."America's Middle Class Falls Behind." Time. Time, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <>.

3."Raise the Wage." The White House. The White House, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <>.

4."Essena O'Neill - Why I REALLY Am Quitting Social Media - (Original Video)."YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 19 Jan. 2016. <>.