Salesman, is never respected for his occupational status, so he places very high expectations on his son, Biff. Willy lives in the memory of past events to such a large extent that he cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, and he passes this trait onto Biff. Biff says, “How the hell did I ever get the idea I was a salesman there? I even believed myself that I’d been a salesman for him!…We’ve been talking in a dream for fifteen years. I was a shipping clerk” (1760).
Willy’s high demands of Biff cause Biff to experience the same difficulties of living in the present and the desire to live in a fantasy world. This conflict is only resolved in Biff’s mind when he releases himself from his father’s dominance and establishes his own identity. At his father’s funeral, Biff has compassion for his father and remembers that “there were a lot of nice days;” his father did have good intentions but “had the wrong dreams” (1778).
He realizes the futility of trying to live up to his father’s unrealistic expectations, and Cory has the same realization in Fences.
Cory tells his father, Troy, “You ain’t never gave me nothing! You ain’t never done nothing but hold me back. Afraid I was gonna be better than you. All you ever did was try and make me scared of you” (1913).
Although Cory is a skilled baseball player, Troy always discourages him from playing professionally. Troy is never given the chance to play because he is black, but athletics is a field that is fully open to blacks later, when Cory is ready to play. His father is unable to recognize this fact because he always lives in the memory of past events; he pressures Cory to be much better than all the white baseball players. This conflict is never really resolved because even at his father’s funeral, Cory feels much resentment towards his father and almost does not attend the funeral. He has not yet separated himself from his father’s dominance and is just beginning to “find a way to get rid of that shadow” (1918).
Willy Loman is a salesman and Biff is a salesman’s son. A lot of what some salesmen do is pump up the things they are selling with a lot of hot air; today this is called hype. Well, for Willy, his first-born son, Biff, is everything in the world. Even back when Biff was a football star in high school, Willy wasn’t doing too well any longer as a salesman. This fact made him tired and ...
Therefore, both of the insecure father figures make unrealistic demands on their sons until their sons are forced to separate themselves completely from their fathers’ influence. While the role of the insecure father figure is to generate conflicts between fathers and sons, the role of the “other woman” is to spark another kind of conflict between husbands and wives.
In Death of a Salesman, although Linda never finds out about the Woman, her relationship with Willy is still affected by the Woman. For example, Willy says, “Will you stop mending stockings? At least while I’m in the house. It gets me nervous. I can’t tell you” (1745).
The reason that it makes him nervous is that he gives the Woman some of Linda’s stockings, and he feels guilty. The Woman serves as a foil for Linda because the Woman is demanding and materialistic; this contrasts with Linda’s submissiveness and thriftiness. The Woman is only concerned with the material things that Willy can give her; she demands “Where’s my stockings? You promised me stockings, Willy!” (1768).
In contrast, Linda is conscious of the value of money; she takes the responsibility for making payments on the refrigerator and the car. Even in the end, she is sorrowful because she makes the final payment on the house and has no one to share it with. Therefore, the Woman’s personality helps to highlight Linda’s virtues, and Willy’s guilt for cheating on her poisons their relationship; he is always venting his anger out on her.
Death of a Salesman was a powerful play, written by Arthur Miller, which was produced in 1949. He establishes a serious tone towards his subject. Also, Miller sets an ambiguous attitude towards the audience. Miller established a very serious tone about the relationship between the father, Willy, and his son, Biff. Miller feels that a father should always be loved. However, Willy has filled his son ...
In Fences, Troy fathers a child with his mistress, Alberta, and he confronts Rose with the news, adding the fact that Alberta is dead. Rose is very hurt that after eighteen years of being faithful to him, Troy is unfaithful and does not even feel any guilt. Although she is usually forgiving of him, after this episode, Rose states, “A motherless child has got a hard time. From right now…this child got a mother. But you a womanless man” (1910).
Rose has an epiphany about her relationship with Troy, and it is interesting that she compares it to a garden by saying, “I planted myself inside you and waited to bloom. And it didn’t take me no eighteen years to find out the soil was hard and rocky and it wasn’t never gonna bloom. But I held on to you, Troy” (1906).
A garden symbol is used in both plays to represent the “seeds” planted by Willy and Troy; these seeds are their only concrete marks of success left on the earth.
Willy relives his past and mumbles to himself in the bathroom of a restaurant after being disappointed in Biff’s failure in the business deal; after this incident, he goes home and desperately tries to plant a garden in the middle of the night. He sees Ben and says, “A man can’t go out the way he came in, Ben, a man has got to add up to something” (1771).
His last resort is to plant some true seeds into the ground and see them grow into something. This is his final attempt to leave his mark of success on the world; he has resolved to focus all of his attention on a very small project in hopes that it will flourish.
The garden planted by Raynell in Fences represents the seeds that are indirectly planted by Troy. By planting a garden and getting upset when nothing is growing, Raynell is carrying on her father’s quest. Raynell is the final seed that Troy plants in the world; she will continue to grow and prosper under Rose’s care and will live out her father’s dreams. Even at a young age, she knows how to focus on a small enclosed area and try to achieve success; this is something Troy learns very late in life when he tries to build a fence around all that he holds valuable. He begins to build the fence only after confessing the truth to Rose; by then it is too late to protect his valuables because he has already lost his most precious one, his relationship with his wife.
Over the years, as my love of gardening grew, and gradually developing in a hobby, and therapeutic in many ways. When my children were small, I did not have a lot of time for gardening, because gardening can be very time consuming. As my children grow, I shared my love for garden with them, we created great memories while "playing in the dirt", as they would say. I take much pride in my gardening ...
The similar symbols of the father figure, the “other woman,” and the garden, in Death of a Salesman and Fences, are used to develop the similar themes of father-son conflicts, marital conflicts, and the need to leave one’s mark of success on the world. The main difference is that while Willy plants seeds by himself to see them grow, Troy’s garden is planted by Raynell, his “seed.” By bringing Raynell into the world, Troy plants a seed that will grow to live out his dreams; the tragedy is that both Willy and Troy die before having a chance to see their seeds grow.