Rebirth of Reason

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Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 9:58amSanction this postReply
You are a deep reader, Edward.  I finally read Death of a Salesman in early 2011 and had a hard time liking it well enough to analyze.  I once asked Gregory Browne (Objectivist professor of philosophy and author of Necessary Factual Truth), how he could spend so much time with other philosophies and he said that he saw himself as a doctor studying diseases.  To me, Death of a Salesman shows that without garbage collectors, no amount of doctoring could keep a society healthy.  That the play was produced and filmed repeatedly, while Atlas Shrugged could hardly be done once, says much about our times. 

Thanks for the insight about Willy's handiwork.  I noted it when I read it - didn't he panel the boys' room, also? - but his own unreality in recollection diminished the contextual importance of that for me.  I did not take as valid his claim that he fixed things pretty good and they still last.

I have some reading to do ahead of Silas Lapham, but I will get to that and get back with you later. 

Post 1

Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 2:00pmSanction this postReply
I am reminded of one aspect of the story I recall: Willy lived in a 'small wooden' house surrounded by an increasing number of tall buildings rising around him in the urban setting of Brooklyn, New York.

The symbolism seemed obvious enough, that of feeling smaller and more insignificant as the 'buildings' all around loom ever larger; the circumstances of Willy's life were clearly being mirrored by those particular physical surroundings.

Reading your observation that Willy's carpentry skills were perhaps his true 'calling' leads me to look at the 'symbolism' in the play somewhat differently: the 'symbolism of the new buildings going up around him' illustrates his failure to acknowledge the 'reality' he needed to acknowledge - and thus what he 'should' have been doing with his life was working as a carpenter in those very same surrounding buildings.

To in 'inform' others is of value - to 'enlighten' others is even better. Thanks for a good read: and a new insight.

Post 2

Monday, January 2, 2012 - 9:13amSanction this postReply
Thanks Mike and Terry for your fine observations!!! I certainly like reading and writing about Atlas Shrugged a great deal more than reading and writing about Death of a Salesman but it is an important work in the business fiction genre. I am currently working on a book called: Exploring Capitalist Fiction: Business Through Literature and Film in which I review some 25 works.
(Edited by Ed Younkins on 1/02, 9:15am)

Post 3

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 8:51amSanction this postReply
I am new to this site and stumbled upon it while checking a student's paper for plagiarism.  You provide a very good summary of the play - I particularily like your analysis of Dave Singleman and Willy's attraction to him as the only attainable success he sees for himself.  I'm not sure I agreee with your portrayal of Linda.  While I agree that she "tries to keep her family intact", I question her ability as an "authentic leader".  We must consider how much she may be responsible for Willy's continual delusions.  Perhaps he needed someone who loved him to set him straight with a hard dose of reality and honesty.  And let's not forget the fact that she continually replaced the rubber hose and ignore the "car accidents" without ever confronting Willy.

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