The Loman Sons in Death of a Salesman

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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There is no such thing as a perfect life; everyone has conflicts that they must contend with. The ways in which people deal with these personal conflicts can differ as much as the people themselves. Some insist on ignoring the problem or live in denial for as long as possible, while others face up to the problem to get it out of the way. Arthur Miller' play "Death of a Salesman," centers around the Loman family's inability to perceive between reality and illusion. This is evident in the two Loman sons, Biff and Happy. Although Biff and Happy are at first unable to distinguish between reality and illusion, they end up going in different directions, with Happy still living in his world of lies whereas Biff is being set free by the truth. This will be shown through an analysis of the attitudes the Loman sons have about success in the workplace, achieving their father's standards, and the truth within one's self.

Arthur Miller contrasts the views that Biff and Happy have with regards to their success, their father's expectations, and the truth. Over shadowed by his older brother, Willy's youngest son, Happy, is continually ignored by his parents. In the play, it is prevalent to see Happy striving for Willy's attention. In Willy's flashbacks, young Happy is always telling his father, "I'm losing weight, you notice, Pop?" (Death of a Salesman, 30). Even as an adult Happy announces to his mother, Linda, that he is going to get married. However, she brushes him off the same way they did when he was younger. As a shadow to his older brother, Happy is nothing but a stunted version of Willy's dream-that a "well-liked" and "personally attractive" man in business will acquire the material comforts of a modern American life.