Death of a Salesman Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Death of a Salesman

Willy Loman is an old man who has lived his life as a traveling salesman and finds himself looking back on his work. In his deteriorating health, Willy finds himself surrounded less and less by the people who he tried to impress so much and discovers that the recipe he had for a successful life has been wrong. Willy explores his past memories of his brother, Ben, who explored the world and became rich on his intelligence, rather than his social skills. Willy's two sons both are living at home in their thirties, unemployed for the most part. Willy, conflicted himself, degrades the eldest, Biff, who had been a high school football star with no academic skill. Willy wanders the alleys at night, and plants gardens where sun could never reach it. His wife, Linda, finds signs of suicide everywhere, but refuses to allow anyone to confront Willy about any of these problems, only making them worse. Willy, although he realizes the failure his life has been, constantly holds hope for Biff and Happy, the younger son, that they will be better, even as he watches them failing with the same faulty recipe for success.
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The review of this Book prepared by Amie Stanley

Willy Lowman, the central character in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman is unsuccessful at his job, although he likes to lie to himself and others about how well he has done in the past. His two sons Biff and Happy are very much like him--unsuccessful and living in a dream world. They invite Willy for a big dinner and then run off with two women leaving him alone. Willy learns that he will be fired from his job. Feeling unloved and unwanted, Willy looks for some way out.
The review of this Book prepared by Jack Goodstein

This is a very sad story about Willy Loman, a salesman fallen in disgrace, tired of his job, which is not fulfilling anymore, and frustrated because his grownup sons have not had success in life. He compares them to the neighbor's son, a successful lawyer. In particular he has a conflict with his eldest son, Biff.
In the course of the play, Willy hallucinates repeatedly, having numerous flashbacks. In this way we learn that he is fired and that he lost a chance to make a lot of money with his brother in Alaska when he was young. Also, we learn why father and son can't get along: as a kid, Biff found out about an affair his father was having with a woman in a hotel; he never really overcome the shock. Willy Loman ends up killing himself in despair, with no hope about life.
The review of this Book prepared by Andres Becerra

Chapter Analysis of Death of a Salesman

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Life of a profession:    -   businessman, small Family, struggle with    -   Yes Struggle with:    -   Son Internal struggle/realization?    -   Yes Struggle over    -   midlife crisis Job/Profession/Status story    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age:    -   60's-90's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White (American)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast City?    -   Yes City:    -   New York

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   mostly dialog

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