Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 11th grade October 2001

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Timshel On the concept of timshel, Would Miller and Kesey agree? That is the question. *The answer?* Most definitely not. The concept of timshel, the idea of choices in life which literally translates to thou mayest, introduced through Steinbeck's East of Eden, can be interpreted in two very different ways through Miller's Death of a Salesman and Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Through their respective protagonists, Miller and Kesey show their own contrasting opinions of the idea of timshel. In Death of a Salesman, Willie Loman is shown to be a man with few choices in life, yet still with choices. On the other hand, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest's McMurphy is portrayed as having no choices and simply doing what he has to do. The novels convey that Miller strongly agrees with "thou mayest" and Kesey strongly disagrees.

Miller's protagonist, Willie Loman, chooses the more tragic of his options by unnecessarily committing suicide.

Though he kills himself, Willie definitely has other options to get himself out of his predicament. He is dejected and has lost all of his pride in trying, unsuccessfully, to provide for his family. This, combined with the obvious failures of his favorite son, Biff, leads to his downfall. The American dream of raising a successful business and family fails for Willie. Wanting to give money to his family, but not being able to work for it, Willie turns to suicide, thinking that with insurance money, he has "end[ed] up worth more dead than alive." (Miller 76) His state of mind is unsteady, and thus his perception is also clouded. He does not fully see his other options. Hypothetically, he could have done many other things without the utterly drastic measure that he takes. Despite the fact that Willy has...