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Essay on Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman and Amanda in Glass Menagerie

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The Characters of Willy in Death of a Salesman and Amanda in Glass Menagerie

In "Death of a Salesman", Willy Loman believes the ticket to success is likeability. He tells his sons, "The man who makes an appearance in the business world, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead." In "The Glass Menagerie", Amanda Wingfield has the same belief. Girls are meant to be attractive and they are meant to be attractive in order to entertain gentlemen callers. As she tells Laura, "All pretty girls are a trap, a pretty trap, and men expect them to be" (1048). It is this very belief that both Amanda and Willy try to ingrain in their children and it is this emphasis on likeability that makes the characters of Amanda
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Biff can go without studying; Biff can even steal; Biff is well liked. Biff is thus set up for failure. Bernard ends up a successful lawyer; Biff ends up an ordinary man, "a dime a dozen" (132). As Biff points out, he "never got anywhere because [Willy] blew [him] so full of hot air. That's whose fault it is" (131). Willy is the only one to blame; Willy is where readers shift their feelings of bitterness.

In addition to ruining Biff, Willy manages to manifest himself in his other son. Happy wasn't a huge football star; his charm was always overshadowed by that of his older brother. So, Happy tries desperately to get his father's attention. When Biff is the star athlete, Happy tries to draw attention to the fact that he's losing weight. When Biff is jobless, Happy points out that he is an assistant buyer. When Biff is unable to help the family, Happy claims that he will help out mom and dad. However, Willy either ignores Happy or scoffs at him. Even when visiting Willy's grave, Happy's attempts to appear successful, to appear likeable, go unnoticed. Happy is thus destined to continue in his quest for likeability, the very quest that drove his father crazy. The reason for this once again rests on Willy's shoulders; the anger the reader feels over this incident is once again transferred to Willy.

Amanda takes a different approach to ruining her children. She forces
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