Topic: Willy constantly laments about how things had changed from the time they built the house to now, when things have become completely modern/urban.
Hypothesis: The actual physical changes that take place in the environment and the surroundings are synonymous of the changes that take place in the Loman family.
1) Social changesOrder now
a) During the World War II era
b) Willy’s family used to be a happy family filled with joy whereas now the whole family split and has many problems. Biff and Willy do not get along, this is due to many factors but the most is that Willy had a relationship with another woman in Boston, hiding it from his mother. Before, Willy had a strong relationship with his sons, where they always believed in his views and thought that he was a very successful person.
2) Economical changes
a) During the time of the Great Depression
b) Before, Willy used to be a good salesman who could afford to buy a house in the countryside where it was free of pollution, although he did use a large loan, whereas now it is quite the opposite. He still didn’t repay all of his loans. He has to constantly take money from his good friend Charlie every week. He got fired from his job and has failed to give his family a good future. Both Biff and Happy do not have steady jobs.
3) Environmental changes
a) The degradation in the physical aspects- buildings come up, less supply of air, no breeze outside. Also the similar effect of family compared to the surroundings.
b) Trees have disappeared, children have also disappeared.
c) Choking feeling that Willy gets because of the pollution and commercial areas surrounding the house is similar to what he feels about the family.
d) Beautiful place before whereas now it is not so beautiful, this refers to how his family was perfect before and now its completely out of place.
Good morning everyone, as all of you may know, Arthur Miller wrote this book with a setting duringthe post-Great Depression era. This has a wide range of effects on the social and economical crisis going on at the time. He also refers to when Willy first bought his house, it was during a time of great economical and social growth and relief where one need not worry about the war or the financial situations as it was during a time of peace and a well-balanced economy throughout America. There are many physical changes that took place from the time when Willy first moved into the house compared to when he is an old man. Before, it used to be in a luxurious countryside, which only the people in the upper class could afford to buy land in the area. Now, it is in the center of the city, packed with high buildings. This same thing has a similar effect on the family, as it does to the house. Before, everything was so peaceful and calm, it was like a living a dream. Now, because it is surrounded by buildings and there is barely any room to move about through the whole area, it is not an ideal location to live in.
As this is an effect to the surroundings, the family also went through the same change. Before, the whole family was in harmony whereas compared to now, the family is split where both the sons have moved out of the house and Willy has become old and illogical, trying to chase a dream which is physically far out of his reach, but is still mentally intact in his mind. Another addition to the house and its environment is the degradation of trees around the area. Over the years, lots of trees have been cut down to make more room for buildings that were needed to come up along the whole area. This was due to the infrastructural advancements through the whole area. This also refers to an indirect effect on the Loman family. The quote goes as follows: As the trees have gone, the children have also disappeared. Both the sons, Biff and Happy Loman move out of the house as time progresses. The same effect is also on the trees surrounding the area as time has progressed, all the trees have vanished from the area. Another way on how the outside area of the house has an indirect effect on the Loman family is the amount of pollution that has accumulated over the years. Lots of commercial complexes have risen in the same neighborhood which the Loman house is located and this has caused a lot of pollution within the area.
Many other buildings and lots of other automobiles have been added to the neighborhood, providing more pollution to the area and causing a choking feeling to everyone in the whole area. This has an effect on the family because Willy feels the same way about everyone in a very pessimistic way. He believes that Biff has become an unknown person in life, completely opposite to his dream of his older son becoming a successful salesman. He believes that his younger son Happy is also not successful. He knows that his son does have a job and a decent flat to live in but that will get him nowhere very fast. He needs to develop a strong career for him to become a very successful person. When his mind comes to Linda, his guilty conscience about the affair he has had earlier still is intact with him as every day goes by, he feels more guilty about the incident. Due to this, he tries to keep her as happy as possible, but due to the financial problems, life is just becoming harder and harder everyday for old Willy Loman. In the end, when Willy first bought the house, it was in a very beautiful area. Slowly, the area became worse and worse whereas now it is in a very busy center filled with lots of pollution.
This has the same effect on the family. Before the family was a peaceful family with two young sons all trying to become the most they can be. Now, over time, the family has gradually fallen apart. The sons are in their 30s without a stable job. Willy is trying is hardest to pay off all the debts they are in but is still taking loans from his best friend Charlie every week. Realizing how everything is, Willy decides to leave something behind for his family for them to truly appreciate his presence. He obviously could not provide a very luxurious lifestyle that he always wanted to his sons nor his wife. Instead, he spends most of his days wondering on how his life would be and still aims for him and his sons to be successful salesman. He doesn’t realize how important it is to work hard after this dream. When Biff and Happy were young, their uncle Ben came to visit them. He was a very prosperous man as he was the type of person which their father Willy always wanted to be, a successful salesman. He came to visit the family and while he was there he gave Biff and Happy some advice.
He explained to them on how at an early age during his adolescent years he went out to the wilderness and came out successful. This is referring to how he went to Africa during his early years and came out as a successful man. He made lots of money over there working on various jobs and felt that he accomplished a small part of his life. The kids were fascinated about this and believed that their uncle was a very successful person. Along with Willy, Ben also encouraged the kids to take shortcuts in life towards success so that they achieve their goals faster. Willy did the same. Willy believed to become successful you needed to be physically attractive and fit. He felt that playing sports and being popular, and revolving everything around the personal appearance would lead anyone to easy success and well performance. Willy used to dedicate himself to Biff when he used to play football. He allowed Biff to do anything as long as he succeeded in football and tried to become the best. This would fulfill his dreams of his children being physically fit and stable and being able to have the strength and determination to succeed. Charley says that Willy hasn’t grown up because Willy still seems to have a stubborn attitude where he always wants to be superior compared to everyone else. Willy made himself believe that he was always better than everyone, even if it wasn’t true.
Charley felt that Willy hasn’t seen the reality of life yet and still chooses to live in his illusions. Years have passed with this since Biff’s football career has been long over and he has still yet to maintain a stable job. After coming back from the western country side to his house, Willy tells Biff to go back to Bill Oliver in search of a job. Biff used to work for him but he has done a bad deed which Mr. Oliver might keep as a grudge. Due to this, Biff was very shaky on whether he should go to Bill or not, but Willy convinces him to go in search of a job. So he decides to go meet Bill Oliver in search of a job. After meeting Bill Oliver and realizing that he didn’t even remember him, Biff finally understands that his life in business is just a joke and that it was a waste of time to continue. This underlines the theme of the play as it shows how he saw his life the way he wanted to and was in his own illusions and dreams for fifteen years until he met reality. Biff realizes now that success doesn’t come easily, and that he should do what he wants in life. Biff takes Bill Oliver’s fountain pens while a rush of anger and confusion is going through his mind. Because Oliver didn’t even recognize Biff, he had an urge to just go into his office and just take what he could to satisfy and calm himself. Biff cannot tell his father what happened with Bill Oliver because he doesn’t want to disappoint him. He knows that his decision to meet Bill made Willy extremely happy, and he was ashamed as Bill Oliver wasn’t even able to give him a job, yet recognize him.
And even when he had tried to tell Willy any bad news, Willy would jump to conclusions and wouldn’t give him the proper chance or time to let Biff explain himself. Willy wants to take the easy shortcuts to everything and has influenced his sons to do the same. Because of this, both Biff and Happy do not realize how hard each of them must work for them to become successful and therefore although both are in their 30s and their peak years probably have been over, they are still struggling for a stable job. Willy in the end does commit suicide, but he only does this for the welfare of his family. He has life insurance and his family will receive a great amount of money if he dies. In the end at his funeral, no one shows up for his funeral, although he has reputated himself to be a very popular man among everyone. All these effects show the deterioration of his family from before when the house was surrounded by a beautiful countryside to now where there is lots of pollution around the whole area.