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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

14. Becoming Visible

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities

Arthur Miller - Author Questions

Back Back to Arthur Miller Activities
  1. Comprehension: Why does Willy Loman continue to idolize his son Biff throughout most of the play?

  2. Comprehension: Does Willy Loman learn anything by the end of the play? Or does he continue to see the world as one of limitless promises?

  3. Comprehension: Examine the role of Linda Loman. Is she typical of a housewife of this era? What do we make of her when reading the play today?

  4. Comprehension: What do Charley and Bernard seem to represent in the story? Are they living a different version of the American Dream? What is their version?

  5. Context: One of the risks of literary naturalism is caricature and condescension. How do the mixed modes of Death of a Salesman-its dream-sequences and interludes of surrealism-help it resist these pitfalls?

  6. Context: How important to the play is the design and style of its set? What audience might Miller have had in mind when he wrote the play? Is Death of a Salesman a "period piece" about a particular era or a play that can be reimagined as relevant to our own time? How do we account for its perennial popularity in high school and college English courses?

  7. Exploration: Ellison and Bellow fill their stories with the music, food, and popular tastes of Harlem and Chicago. Why are there so few such details in Miller's portrait of the Loman household?

  8. Exploration: Does Death of a Salesman attempt to refute the American Dream, as some critics have noted? Is the play devoid of hope? What myths are challenged in this play, and how are they transformed?

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