Title: Death of a Salesman
Author: Arthur Miller
Originally Published: 1940
How I Got It: Purchased at a library book sale
Willy Loman, the protagonist of Death of a Salesman, has spent his life following the American way, living out his belief in salesmanship as a way to reinvent himself. But somehow the riches and respect he covets have eluded him. At age sixty-three, he searches for the moment his life took a wrong turn, the moment of betrayal that undermined his marriage and destroyed his relationship with Biff, the son in whom he invested his faith. Willy lives in a fragile world of elaborate excuses and daydreams, conflating past and present in a desperate attempt to make sense of himself and of a world that once promised so much.
I'm not much of a play person. I don't mind watching them but sitting down and reading a play was never my thing. Over the summer I saw Death of a Salesman at a library book sale for fairly cheap and thought I was overdue for a reread (or I guess technically a first read). See, when I was in high school I wasn't much of a reader would read SparkNotes instead of reading most of our required reading. Now I feel like I missed out on a bunch of classics! But it was nice to be able to just read the play and not worry about having to analyze it or look for symbolism.
I must say I barely remembered anything about the play. Really the only thing I remembered was that the father was a traveling salesman who wasn't doing so well. But overall I did enjoy the story! I almost read the entire thing in one sitting and if my stomach wasn't growling I definitely would have!
One thing I found slightly confusing was when Willy would slip back into his daydreams or memories from the past. Sometimes he would be having a conversation with a person in front of him and a different conversation with a person in his head. Reading that was confusing but I'm sure if I saw the play being performed or even having different people read for each character (just like we use to do in English class!) it would have been fine.
My heart truely went out to Willy. He spent years working for the same company as a salesman but is getting older and wants to cut back on traveling. All he wants to do is provide for his family but it seems like he can never catch a break or he's just fighting with his sons.
I recommend you read this play and not just skim through the SparkNotes! You really do get so much more of of it!
For someone who is interested in reading more plays do you have a favorite one? Or a least favorite you'd advise to stay away from?