ENL Death of Salesman Paper

ENL Death of Salesman Paper - In Death of a Salesman by...

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In Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Happy Lowman repeatedly tells his parents that he is going to get married . Happy states, “I’m gonna get married, Mom. I wanted to tell you” (I .1585) and “I’m getting married, Pop, don’t forget it” (II.1618). Happy’s statements about his marriage beg the question: Who exactly is Happy marrying? Happy is marrying nobody . He tells his mother that he is going to get married immediately after Biff, his brother, reluctantly goes upstairs to say goodnight to his father after an argument . Happy’s statement about marriage at this moment is very “out-of-the-blue”. Similarly, Happy randomly tells his father, Willy, that he is going to get married near the end of the play after Biff and Willy get into a fight . Happy talks about his “marriage” in an unexpected manner every time Biff is the center of attention . What causes Happy to act this way? Happy acts this way because he yearns for attention, has “crummy characteristics”, and tries to avoid reality (I .1564). His personality traits are nearly identical to his father’s. Throughout the play, Happy’s thoughts and actions run parallel to that of his father’s . Happy and Willy’s relationship is a metaphor for the inevitable dysfunction of paternal relationships in Death of a Salesman . For example, Happy is often neglected by his father; Willy pays full attention to Biff, while constantly responding to Happy in short, quick statements . During Willy’s flashbacks in the beginning of the play, young Happy seeks attention by constantly asking Willy if he notices Happy’s weight loss . When young Happy and young Biff are washing Willy’s car, Willy announces to the boys that he has a surprise in the car . The surprise is a punching bag. When he is playing with the punching bag, Happy asks, “I’m losing weight, you notice, Pop?” (I .1566).
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Although Happy plays with the punching bag, it is Biff who really likes it . Biff exclaims, “It’s got Gene Tunney’s signature on it!” showing his knowledge and love for sports (I .1566). Willy knows what Biff likes and wants to impress and show affection towards Biff . Biff asks Willy how he knew that he wanted a punching bag . Willy gleams and replies, “Well, it’s the finest thing for the timing” (I .1566). Immediately after Willy answers Biff, Happy asks Willy if his weight loss is noticeable
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This note was uploaded on 11/10/2011 for the course ENL 003 taught by Professor Swinkin during the Spring '08 term at UC Davis.

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ENL Death of Salesman Paper - In Death of a Salesman by...

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