Prompt : How is Willy responsible for the people Biff and Happy have become? What has Willy been taught about life and ‘success,’ what effects do these lessons have on Biff and Happy? Consider the following characters’ ways of achieving success: Ben (Willy’s brother), Willy’s father, Willy’s idol Dave Singleman (Act II), Willy’s old boss Mr. Wagner, Howard Wagner, Linda, Bernard, and Uncle Charley. How did their ideas about success and life affect Willy (even if the only way they affected Willy was that he rejected those ideas) and then Biff and Happy? Consider also: the themes of stealing, ‘personal attractiveness’ and being well-liked, and the way that all the Loman men treat women. Throughout your paper you must repeatedly provide evidence with page numbers (MLA citation)
Topic two: Symbolism, Sewing and Reaping
Prompt: Willy Loman’s desire to plant a garden is a recurring motif in Death of a Salesman. In the opening scene, he laments that “you can’t raise a carrot in the back yard”; near the play’s end, when Biff confronts him, he is still attempting to plant a garden. In a well-organized essay, examine how Willy’s recurring references to gardening and planting combine to provide important insight into his character.
Topic Three: Theme, Searching and Finding:
Prompt: The quest for the American Dream, and the nature of that Dream, is a theme in numerous works of literature. In a well-organized essay, discuss the development of this theme in Death of a Salesman. In particular, examine Willy Loman’s version of the American Dream, his attempts to attain it, and what his death reveals about the nature of his quest.