Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Death of a Salesman is a good example of the powerful influence parents have on their children physiologically and emotionally. Willy’s father left him when he was very young and when he did he took a piece of Willy with him. Willy had little confidence in himself and pretended to be something that he wasn’t to fit in, and his accomplishments never were good enough. Two examples of this is his original reason for becoming a salesman and the way he parented his sons.

Willy had no true passion for sales, but always dreamed of having the same respect that people gave to Dave Singleman and his father. He thought being good looking and well-liked was what made a man rich, and life would be easy. In a way it seems as if Willy was always trying to prove to himself that he possessed the same talents as his father and brother Ben, and maybe one day be given the opportunity to boast about it to them. Willy also manipulated his oldest son Jiff into believing this unrealistic theory. Willy never pushed Jiff or Happy to do well in school, but influenced them to do whatever they had to do to be socially accepted. Jiff wanted to make his father proud so he followed in his father’s footsteps even though it is was not what made him happy. At age thirty-four he finally realized that he needed to stop living in through the eyes of his father and pursue a career that would bring him happiness. Willy’s youngest son Happy also wanted to make his father proud, but no matter what he did Willy never gave him the same respect as Jiff. Happy used women to fill the emotional hole his father caused him to have.

Overall, Willy drove himself mad reflecting on decisions he made in the past and never stopped searching the “right” answers. He never had a father to help guide him through life’s struggles and his own parenting skills suffered because of it. Willy never thought he was good enough and beat himself up every day about the decisions he chose to make, and allowed his emotions to get the best of him. What advice would you give to Willy looking from the outside in? Have you ever met anyone that believed being popular was the only way?

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