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Technology in American Drama 1920-1950

Dr. Jerz wrote a book about technology in drama and in our EL:150 class we are reading a short section from it in order to better understand "Death of a Salesman," and its relationship to technology. It was actually very impressive. Don't mis-interpret that last sentence as an ass kissing or brown nosing. I knew that he was a professor for a reason but seeing all his work put together in the form of this novel was very interesting. I'm sure he is proud of it as well. Moving on...this book made a lot of good points about the incorporation of technology in plays and its influence on the characters and their storylines.

Technology, innovation and invention are all things related to change. They also can all play a large part in our everyday lives. War is something fueled by advancement, whether it be technological or socio-political (by taking on new territory or conquering countries). Miller refers only once to WWII. He does not even make it a direct reference which I found strange. Ideally you would think that someone writing during a time of war would write about the war. My mentality regarding the issue is that theoretically the writer would want to relate to the reader, and if the reader was experiencing issues of war then it would make sense to write about war to draw the audience in. Miller's approach was that it was best not to dwell on the war, so he didn't write extensively about it until long after it was over.

Willy Loman is a modern day tragic hero specifically because he struggles and eventually is driven to death after his long triumphant journey which he ended feeling unaccomplished and broken as a man. A tragic hero has the potential for greatness but is doomed to fail. He is trapped in a situation where he cannot win. He makes some sort of tragic flaw, and this causes his fall from greatness. Willy fits every one of these molds in a contemporary modern day setting.

Something that I found to be kind of ironic was that Willy valued many material things like the washer, and refrigerator though he always digressed from the present and wished for a simpler time (the 1930s). He put so much stock in his "domestic arsenal." Miller really addresses the issues of domestic consumerism and the American experience in this play. A particular cultural message about transportation stuck out in my mind as well. There is a certain nostalgia about cars, especially old ones. Everyone now loves these classic beauties just as everyone loved Biff's "stylish car." It's just another example of materialism. If people like these classic car, then doesn't that mean that the people that own them are also well liked?

General Thoughts:
*Happy is starved for attention from his entire family.
*Willy fails at most things in life; even trying to kill himself. (until the end)
*The only way for Willy to succeed in life was to welcome death. He killed himself in order to say that at least once he did accomplish something. He would now be remembered, even in death.
*Biff rejects the dreams of Willy athletically;smoking cigarettes/not very athletic.

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strong arguments , weak quotes

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 4, 2005 1:37 PM.

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