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Resensi Buku (Death of A Salesmen)

haaaa :D bukan sok sok mau menulis dalam bahasa inggris tapi sy ingat kata.y mama na bilang "tuliskow dalam bahasa inggris supaya na liat orang luar negeri" haha :D obsesi..
tp ini tidak ada hubungannya dengan gizi.. ini tugasnya kece ku' lagi waktu masih kuliah di Sastra Inggris UNHAS 2005 (incredible kalau tdk salah nama angkatannya) :D
berhubung saya malas menulis dengan bahasa inggris jd saya ambil ini saja.. semoga bermanfaat..


Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller

Setting
Yonkers, New York (present) and New England (back flashes)

Background Information
Willy Loman is a traveling salesman who has worked for the Wagner Company for thirty-four years. He is now sixty-one years old and has been taken off salary and put back on straight commission, and he is unable to earn enough money to pay the bills. Charley, the Lomans' neighbor, has been giving money to Willy every month to meet his payments, even though Willy is too proud to accept a payroll job from him. Charley's son Bernard, who was in school with Willy's sons, has become a successful lawyer.
Willy's two sons, Biff and Happy, come back home and are temporarily sharing their old room. Biff is the oldest son who was a football star in high school with several scholarships, but for the last fourteen years he has been unable to find himself. He returned from somewhere in the West due to his mother's request for him to see his father. Happy works in a department store and has his own apartment in another part of New York.
Willy has been plagued by daydreams and illusions, and the play begins with his driving home prematurely from one of his New England business trips due to the fact that he cannot concentrate on the road.

Major Characters
  • Willy Loman- the salesman who is past his prime, and who was never an exceptional businessman in his prime
  • Linda Loman- Willy's wife who loves him despite all of his difficulties
  • Biff Loman- Willy's eldest son for whom he had dreams of greatness
  • Happy Loman- Willy's younger son
  • Charley- Willy's neighbor
  • Bernard- Charley's son
  • Ben- Willy's brother who left home very early and became tremendously wealthy; appears only in Willy's daydreams
  • Howard Wagner - son of former owner of the Wagner Company; he now runs the firm and is responsible for putting Willy on straight commission
  • The Woman - Willy's mistress from Boston
  • Miss Forsythe and Letta - Two girls that Happy picks up at the restaurant

Plot Summary
Willy Loman has been traveling salesman for the Wagner Company for thirty-four years. He likes to think of himself as vital to the New England area. A long time ago, Willy met a salesman named Dave Singleman who could go into a town and pick up a phone and would be able to place many orders without ever leaving his hotel room. When this man died, people from all over the country came to his funeral, and this man became Willy's inspiration.
As the play opens, Willy has just come back home after having left for New England that morning. He tells his wife, Linda, that he just can't seem to keep his mind on driving anymore. He asks about his son, Biff, and he drifts off to when Biff was a high school senior fourteen years ago. Biff was playing in an important football game and people from all over the country were coming to offer him scholarships. Then something happened later that year, because Biff did not go to college and has yet to find himself. It is later revealed that Biff has failed math and had gone up to Boston to ask his father to appeal to the teacher. When he reached Willy's hotel room in Boston, Biff found his father having an affair with a strange woman. After that episode, Biff despised his father and could never bring himself to provide Willy with the happiness of having a successful son.
After fourteen years of being away, Biff returns home. He and his brother Happy think of a job that would enable Biff to settle down in New York. They remember Biff's former boss, Bill Oliver, and plan to ask him for a loan of ten thousand dollars to begin a business of their own. They tell their father about their plans, and Willy believes that the two boys could conquer the world in business together. Willy explains that the important thing in life is to be well-liked and to have personal attractiveness. He tells Biff that Mr. Oliver always thought highly of him (despite the fact that Biff was suspected of stealing from a shipment of basketballs), and he reminds Biff of how good looking he is.
The following day, Willy is supposed to meet the two boys for dinner. He is so excited to have his boys on the brink of success that he decides to ask for a job in New York City. Howard Wagner, the present owner of the Wagner Company founded by his father, tells Willy that there is no room for him in New York, and then explains to Willy that he cannot represent the firm in New England either because he has become detrimental to business. Willy is now forced to go to Charley to borrow enough money to pay his insurance premium. It has been revealed that Willy has been borrowing fifty dollars each week for a long time and pretending it is his salary. Even though Charley offers Willy a good job in New York, Willy refuses to accept it because he says he can't work for Charley. Willy takes the money and leaves to meet his sons at the restaurant.
Biff and Happy met in the restaurant and Biff explained that he has been living an illusion. He tells Happy that he has stolen himself out of every job, including this meeting where he stole a pen from Bill Oliver's desk. When Willy arrives he tells the boys that he has been fired and refuses to listen to Biff's story. Willy sits there and pretends that he has another appointment the following day. Willy becomes furious and is about to make a scene, so he goes off to the bathroom. Biff, out of frustration, leaves, and Happy who has picked up two girls, follows him, leaving Willy alone.
Later that night, Biff comes home and finds Willy out in the backyard planting seeds and talking to the illusion of his brother Ben. Willy has not seen Ben for a number of years, and in fact Ben has been dead for some time. Biff explains to Willy that it would be best if they break with each other and never see each other again. He tries once again to explain that he is no longer a leader of men and that he is just a common person who has no outstanding qualities.
Willy refuses to believe him and tells Biff once again how great he can be. Biff becomes frustrated again because Willy refuses to see the truth. He finally breaks down and sobs to Willy to forget him. Then, Willy is taken aback by his son's emotion toward him. Willy resolves on suicide, because with twenty thousand dollars in insurance money, Biff could be magnificent. So that is what he did, Willy crashed his car and caused his own death. It becomes apparent to the reader that Willy died a forgotten man, because no one came to his funeral except his family.

Possible Themes
Inadequacy:- Exemplified by Happy's randomly claiming to have lost weight and declaring that he's going to get married someday in an attempt to get his parents' attention away from Biff
Ignorance:- Willy's philosophy that success is based on appearance and popularity without mentioning hard work.
Pride:-Willy was too proud to accept a job working for Charley, but he would accept his money on the premise that it was a loan, even though it was impossible for Willy to repay.
Self-Awareness:- Biff knew that he loved working with his hands and outdoors, whereas his father was in denial of the fact that that was his love in life as well; Willy suppressed that joy because it did not fit into his predetermined mold for a beloved businessman
Lacking an Awareness of Reality:- Willy refuses to acknowledge the fact that he is a fine carpenter, and continues to live a life of lies, memories, and dreams as a smothered businessman.

Key Issues
1.) ILLUSION versus REALITY
Willy is at the bottom of the totem pole in a capitalistic world. He owns nothing, and he makes nothing, so he has no sense of accomplishment. Robbed of this, he develops the theory that if a person is well liked and has a great deal of personal attractiveness, then all doors will automatically be opened for him. Willy built his life around these dreams. However, for Willy to live by his ideals necessitates building or telling many lies, and these illusions replace reality in Willy's mind. He tells lies about how well liked he is in all of his towns, and how vital he is to New England. At times Willy even believes his own lies and becomes enthusiastic when he tells his family that he made more money than he actually did.
Willy then fills his sons so full of this concept of being well-liked that when Biff flunks math he goes to Boston to search for his father. He thought that since Willy is so well-liked, that he will be able to convince the math teacher to change the grade. It was during this time that Biff encountered his father in the hotel room with a woman. Willy's strong desire to be well-liked is what drove him to have an affair in Boston. The fact that she would go to bed with him promoted his ego after a hard day of being turned away by buyers. Therefore the affair is more of an ego booster than a strong desire for Willy to be involved in an illicit love affair.
Biff couldn't accept that his father had committed adultery, and from that point on, he saw his father as a fake. Willy's life began to close in on him and he had nothing more to live for except his illusions and fond memories of the past. More and more, Willy's life involves his dreams and all of the dreams go back to the year before Biff made his break with Willy.
Therefore Willy's entire life has been lived according to his ideas about personal attractiveness and being well-liked. He never questioned these values and never realized that he lived in a world of illusions and dreams. He tried to bring up his children in that same world but he could not keep up the false front, and Biff would not live that way after the incident in Boston.

2.) BIFF AS THE PROTAGONIST OF THE PLAY
Willy is the salesman throughout the play, and he is the character that ultimately dies, but the title can be seen as figurative, rather than literal. The true death in the play is that of Willy's dream for Biff to follow in his footsteps and become a salesman. At the climactic scene when Biff is pleading with his father to forget him and let him and his own dreams go, it is apparent that Biff will never become a salesman as his father had, and that is another death that the title is referring to.

3.) DREAMS LEADING TO DENIAL
This is best exemplified in the life Willy chose for himself. In reality, Willy loved to work with his hands. He had completed large improvements on the house, and prior to his suicide, he planted a garden so that he could leave something tangible behind. However, Willy denied himself of the pleasure of using his hands to make a living because of his dreams to be like Dave Singleman and be so loved that his buyers all came to his funeral. Willy believed the untruth that it was more prestigious to be a less than adequate businessman than a content handyman.
Biff proves to be the true son of his father because he wants to go somewhere in the great outdoors so that they can all work with their hands. A few scenes later, Willy seems to be exceptionally proud of a ceiling that he had installed in the living room. It was a task that the successful Charley could not perform. Both father and son need to express themselves through some type of physical labor. However, when Biff suggests that the Lomans should be "mixing cement on some open plain, or ... be a carpenter," Willy argued that, "your grandfather was better than a carpenter." As a result, Willy's disillusionment got in the way of his happiness.

Morals
Follow your heart:- Willy was well aware of the joy physical labor brought him, but he suppressed those desires to fulfill the meaningless position of a salesman
Know your strengths and weaknesses:- Willy should have chosen a career based on his skills and his interests, not on false perceptions and the opinions of others. He should have encouraged his sons to do the same.
Hard work is what pays off:- Willy did himself and his family a disservice by putting too much emphasis on appearance and popularity, and not enough on the value of hard work. He wound up living in a daydream whenever things went wrong, and his sons were unethical (ex: Biff's stealing and jail time out West) and unsuccessful.

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