C. Stevens American Literature II Lesson 6 Notes - Candace...

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Candace StevensFebruary 22, 2015American Literature IILesson 6 NotesWilly LomanWillly Loman is an elderly salesmen lost in false hopes and illusions. The sales firm he works for no longer pays himsalary. Working on straight commission, Willy cannot bring home enough money to pay his bills. After thirty-four years withthe firm, they have spent his energy and discarded him.Willy's sons, Biff and Hap, are also failures, but Willy doesn't want to believe this. He wants his sons, especially Biff, tosucceed where he has not. He believes his boys are great and cannot understand why they are not successful. This is amajor source of conflict throughout the play.As Willy has grown older, he has trouble distinguishing between the past and present - between illusion and reality - andis often lost in flashbacks where much of the story is told. These flashbacks are generally during the summer after Biff'ssenior year of high school when all of the family problems began.Willy has had an affair with a women he meets on sales trips and once caught by Biff. Now, Biff does not respect Willyand they do not get along. Willy eventually commits suicide so that Biff can have the insurance money to becomesuccessful with.Linda LomanLinda is Willy's wife and is the arbiter of peace in the family. She is always trying to stand between Willy and her sons toease the tension. She is protective of Willy. She knows that Willy is tired and is a man at the end of his rope - the end ofhis life and, as he put it, "ringing up a zero." She wants him to be happy even when the reality of the situation is bad. Lindaknows that Willy has been trying to commit suicide, but does not intervene because she does not want to embarrass him.She lets it continue because she is not one to cause trouble.Biff LomanBiff Loman is Willy's son and it is the conflict between the two that the story of the play revolves around. Biff was a starfootball player in high school, with scholarships to two major universities. He flunked math his senior year and was notallowed to graduate. He was going to make the credit up during the summer but caught Willy being unfaithful to Linda.

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American Literature, Willy, Willy Loman

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