Essay about Linda Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman

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Linda Loman in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman


Linda Loman is the heart and soul of the Loman household. She loves her family, even though she is all too aware of husband's faults and her sons' characters. She provides a sharp contrast to the seamy underbelly of the world of sex, symbolized by the Woman and the prostitutes. They operate in the "real world" as part of the impersonal forces that corrupt. Happy equates his unhealthy relationships with women to taking manufacturer's bribes, and Willy's Boston whore can "put him right through to the buyers." In Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Linda Loman holds the family together through purity and love - she keeps the accounts, encourages her husband, and tries to protect
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They are thus in an objective rather than subjective category. In any case what feel is always more "real" to us than what we know, and we feel the family relationship while we only know the social one. (Florio 35-36)

If Willy is not totally unsympathetic (and he is not), much of the goodness in him is demonstrated in his devotion to his wife, according to his lights. Though he is often masterful and curt, he is still deeply concerned about her: "I was fired, and I'm looking for a little good news to tell your mother, because the woman has waited and the woman has suffered." Biff is attached to his mother, and Happy's hopelessness is most graphic in his failure to be honest with, or concerned about, his family. The family's devotion to one another, even though misguided, represents a recognizable American ideal.

Linda, for all her warmth and goodness, goes along with her husband and sons in the best success-manual tradition. She tries to protect them from the forces outside and fails. The memory of her suffering and her fidelity does not keep Willy and Happy from sex or Biff from wandering. Miller's irony goes still deeper. While Linda is a mirror of goodness and the source of the family's sense of identity, she is not protection - by her silence and her support, she unwittingly cooperates…