Letter To Linda for Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman
Length: 1540 words (4.4 double-spaced pages)
Since I have been visiting your sister’s family for a while now, I do believe that I must inform you of the state in which this family is in. I have some concerns in regards to the well being of the four members living under this tension-filled roof. I am watching a horrible train wreck that is just about to occur right before my baby blue eyes! Linda seems to be a very giving woman. She resembles you, my mother, very much. The difference comes in years; she looks much older than you. It is not clear however, if she looks this way because of her ripe age or if the many stresses surrounding the family have altered her looks in such a way. I can see very keenly that your sister is in a struggle at this point in time. I know and understand that she loves her husband unconditionally. However, she is over-defensive when it comes to what is said about him. It has been like walking on egg shells when asking very general questions about my uncle. Mrs. Loman never seems to take a break from reassuring herself and anyone who will listen that her husband is a fine man-the finest. This behavior is not healthy on any level in my personal opinion. I cannot grasp the fact that I arrive here as a guest, with few wise years behind me, and can see that this lifestyle of keeping the truth locked up is very wrong; yet Linda cannot admit to seeing it for herself. I am certain that she does see what is so very wrong, yet refuses to acknowledge it in any way. She tries exceedingly hard to put on many masks; disguising the problem that she has. During the first five days of my stay here at the Loman’s, Mr. Loman was nowhere to be seen. I asked about him and Linda said he was a fine salesman who is out on the road doing what salesmen do best. Throughout those first five days, even though the man was nowhere in sight, every word that poured out of your sister’s mouth seemed to be a tribute to Willy. Mrs. Loman boasted about Mr. Loman as if he was able to hear her from miles away on the road.
I have yet to learn anything about my dear aunt and have been in her presence for a week now. She rarely talks about anything or anyone else but her sweet husband, who in my opinion does not have the same amount of praise and respect for her as she has for him. He is actually quite rude at times; interrupting her when she speaks, disregarding her, and shutting her out when good news rolls around, which seems to be a rarity in this house. When I really observe Linda, I see in her dull, lifeless eyes embarrassment and guilt. It is as if she knows the reality of her life and the life of her family, but is in a great amount of denial, especially when it comes to Mr. Loman. She covers up the true reality and strongly believes that no one on the outside would be able to see that the ground beneath this family is slowly crumbling. The troubles have gotten to a certain degree that I, knowing them for only a short week, can see that there is a lot of secrets, lies, hurt, rejection, and let down that is just swallowing this family whole. Your sister is desperately trying to keep everyone in one solid piece, mother, but the pieces are slowly beginning to crack and damned if I am going to be here to see them shatter. I do not in any way believe that the burden of keeping those pieces together should be put on you dear sister’s already heavy shoulders; however, she is unbelievably desperate to hold onto some ounce of normality that she will break her spirit attempting to reach her goal. I can see that she puts herself through this pain everyday. Linda’s biggest concern is for her deranged husband. She treats him as if he is a child who needs affirmation just to get through the day. I really cannot wrap my mind around what it is that she is thinking. Your sister looks as if she was in the war, but was sadly defeated in the end. With her grey hair, her dark eyes, and her colorless face, it appears to me as if she is slowly disintegrating. In some ways I do believe that she is in a treacherous war of her own; fighting as a one-manned army to hold onto the life that she thinks she has. In the first few moments of meeting William, I quickly realized that he seems very odd. I think that he is a very sick man. Oh mother, this place is such a madhouse! It has been two full days and I am not sure if Mr. Loman knows who I am or even why I am here. He is never in the present, always shuffling back and forth between the many memories in his mind. The only way that I could even begin to explain it is that he is just a body; an empty person walking about the world. His mind and spirit are lost in the past. He mumbles to himself more than any right-minded person would. At one point I attempted to converse with him, however it was painfully difficult for he is deeply enclosed in this world of past conversations, giving me answers that are irrelevant and useless. Mr. Loman hears what he chooses to hear and responds to what he chooses to respond to. You know that I have a high degree of patients, but my patients are running thin for this man’s incompetence. All of his memories appear to stem from his oldest son Biff. Although very handsome and charming, Biff seems to be a womanizing man who is not embarrassed about that specific flaw in his character. I get the feeling that he is actually proud that he treats us women as if we were one of his personal possessions; throwing us away when he gets bored. I am no feminist, but I do know how a lady is supposed to be treated and it is not like that. Biff seems a little lost in life from what I have observed in the past few days that I have been here. I am not even sure if he has a job, but I refuse to ask him for I might insult him or his ego. There is a great amount of tension between Mr. Loman and his son and I do not understand why that is. Biff tries hard to avoid Mr. Loman as much as possible. He rarely even looks at the man. Willy seems to bring up conversations they have had in the distant past. The special times in Biff’s life where he was very proud of him and also past times when it sounds like he is let down by Biff. Mr. Loman is a very extreme man; there has not been a normal mood he has portrayed since being back. He goes from unbelievably joyful to a crazed state where he is yelling about something that is not happening in the present time. It must be his memories from the past pushing their way to the front of his mind. I am very concerned for this family mother. Your sister’s husband needs medical help I believe, but it is not my place to comment on what they should do. The younger of the Loman brothers, Happy, pretends not to notice the havoc that is going on all around him. He has camped himself in the background, waiting for the day when everything is okay. He told me that he works, so he might be in a better mind set then that of his brother’s. I guess he and Biff have a good relationship, but I have not been here long enough to tell. I do not believe however, that Happy and Mr. Loman have a good relationship at all. He is too obsessed with his memories of Biff that he has no time for thoughts of Happy. I am sad for him and also for everyone else. Maybe you should come down and talk to your sister. Mother, you have a good relationship with her and I know that she will listen to what you have to say. She just has to hear it. Let her know that Mr. Loman should get some help and that she needs to stop lying to herself about the severity of this situation. Biff really should not have come back to live with this family. It seems as if it is him that triggers Willy to act out and to become lost in the past. Someone needs to intervene soon before it all ends tragically. I love you very much and hope that you take my letter seriously. I want you to take care of yourself and I hope to here from you soon.