Comparing The Glass Menagerie and Death of a Salesman

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Both Death of a Salesman, and The Glass Menagerie have many things in common. They are both great plays, and both concern dysfunctional families. But there is a deeper similarity to these great literary works. The similarity between the parents. Due to Willy Loman and Amanda Wingfield's lack of coping skills, as well as their inability to let go or accept their past, their children are ill-equipped to deal with the future. Willy and Amanda are parents who love their children very much. They can't accept the mistakes they've made in the past. This inability to deal with the past leaves them living in it. Their children are seldom given the example of how to work for the future. Amanda and Willy don't set goals for their children, they live life one day at a time and never think of what will happen tomorrow. An example of this is when Willy is fired from his job, and he doesn't try to find a new one, only beg for his old one back because he doesn't know how to start anything new. Due to this, the children face everyday battles just to live a normal life. Willy Loman is the father of two boys, Biff and Happy. Biff is the star in Willy's eyes. Biff is Willy's chance to make something of himself. He is a star athlete and popular student in school. Biff feels an extreme pressure to be idolized He always tried to show his dad how great he is, although he showed this through ways that were morally wrong, as well as illegal. Biff never learned how to do anything for himself. He always have people helping him with everything. No one realized this would ultimately ruin Biff's life. Biff doesn't learn how to work hard to take care of himself. Due to Willy's expectations for Biff, Biff feels the need to succeed in everything he does. He often copies homework and tests from his neighbor, and when his neighbor refuses to give Biff the homework it is made into a very large incident. Biff steals to show his father how he could get away with anything. Biff is allowed to do whatever he wants because of Willy's idolization of him. In his youth, Biff is everything Willy hoped he would be. Willy lives through Biff's life, and when Biff's glory days are over, Willy is lost. He no longer could live through Biff's special life. Biff is no longer unique. He no longer stands out. Biff was Willy's way to be special. Willy's other son Happy isn't in the... ... middle of paper ... in the past and remember their glory days. Whether it may be Willy reminiscing on days when Biff was a football star, or Amanda telling Laura and Tom stories about jonquils, both seem to lack the power to move on from the past. This could be a defense mechanism or just a way to remember their favorite time of their life. The lack of coping skills and the inability to accept the way their lives have turned out makes them try to fulfill a whole in their lives through their children. Works Cited Miller, Arthur. "Death of a Salesman." Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama. Ed X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 4th ed. New York City: Pearson Longman, 2005. Williams, Tennessee. The Glass Menagerie. New York: New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1999.
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