Gender in Death of a Salesman

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  • Gender in Death of a Salesman
    • Linda
      • Voice of truth?
        • Understands Willy's personality: 'he make's mountains out of molehills'
        • She alone is aware of the terrible financial situation
      • Sustainer?
        • Mediates between Willy + the boys
          • E.g. provides an ultimatum: 'Either he’s your father and you pay him that respect,  or else you’re not to come here'
        • She is the 'foundation' of the Lomans
      • Fulfills the need of men at home
      • We only learn about Linda's character through interactions with her family (men)
      • Character development?
        • Her 'iron repression' shows how she makes excuses for Willy's behaviour. She does this throughout the play.
        • Seems weak/besotted with her boys at first. However she demonstrates a more independent side
          • 'You and your lousy....'
    • Willy
      • Holds typical male attritbutes
        • Belives a man is successful is he is 'well liked', has charisma, and is attractive- a man doesn't need to work hard if he has these things
          • Willy is in denial about the lack of success in his life. He seems to think that a man without success is nothing.
    • Biff and Happy
      • Throughout the play Biff is concerned about how he hasn't been able to 'settle down' and assume the typical male role of supporting his own family.
      • Sexism, they view women as conquests
        • Happy calls a women he got with a 'pig'
          • But this doesn't make him Happy: 'I hate myself for it'
        • Happy says he has an 'over-developed sense of competition'
          • Typical male attributes!
    • The Woman
      • Shown as a femme fatale
        • Seductress
          • E.g. She seems inconsiderate when Biff comes to Boston
        • Perhaps to exonerate Willy as the 'bad guy'
      • She fulfills the needs of men in the bedroom!
    • The two women
      • No role to play except to demonstrate Happy and Biff's charming attitude
      • They get called 'whores' by Linda- internalised misogyny?
    • The American Dream
      • Promotes stereotypical male attributes
        • E.g. competitive
    • Role of women
      • NO woman has a role to play that isn't dependent on men


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