Response to the “Death of a Salesman”

Seed is one of the symbols in the drama entitled “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller. Seed is a symbol of possibility, and chance of getting something from it. Although Willy Loman, one of the major characters of this drama, was failure both as a salesman and as a father, he had a hope of doing something for the welfare of his offspring. He took seeds as his last hopes for doing that. Seeds were represented in Willy’s life as his last hopes. Willy worked hard all his life-long, but got nothing except betrayal. He was self-deceived by himself. At the end of his life, he understood all he had done was just nothing but like planting seeds in a field where there was no sunlight. How could one yield anything from that type land? It was the harsh truth which Willy Loman got to know at the end. That realization led him to plant vegetable seeds in the adjoined field of his house, but it was just like the task which he had done before through his life. Seeds symbolized the failure of Willy’s American dreams. Those dreams just showed the abstract picture of material success. People ran though for this; some people could get this, some could not. Willy belonged to the second group. He aspired to gain the material success, and tangible achievement. When he got to know that he failed to do this, he loose his mental balance. Was it the definition of ‘material success’ which lead a person to the imbalance position? This question caused me to think that what was the actual solution? Material success made people impatient to get ‘something successful’ as soon as possible. People forgot the ethical values to get that. Will Loman was the example of this. However, his neighbor Charley never let his son aspiring to the material success which brought nothing but just frustration. That was why maybe his son was able to make him as a successful person.

The writer clearly shows that what the consequence of being impatient to achieve material success is. It is not the solution of being successful in this world. Patience and intelligence make a person successful in that perception.

 

Another Ending of the Play

Willy – I am going to commit suicide (holding seed packets in his hand).

Ben – What?? What are you saying?

Willy – Oh Ben, I am kidding. Actually I am frustrated that Biff didn’t get money from Oliver. Therefore, I have a clever plan to give him money to start his business. I am going to crash my car over the bridge. Then, I will jump on the water of the river, and escape from there. In this way, Biff will get the money of the car insurance and my personal insurance to start a business.

Ben – No, you are not going to do anything like this. You know that you may lose your life.

Willy – Ben, I know that nothing bad will happen to me. I have already made all arrangements.

Ben – Do, whatever you like, but I am not with you. I have to go. If you do so, I will never come back. Good-bye. (Ben exits.)

Willy (In very loud voice) – Ben, please listen to me.

(Hearing the voice, Linda comes out to the home.)

Linda – What’s the matter Willy? Why are you shouting?

Willy – Nothing…, I have to go. One of my friends called me for dinner.

Linda – OK, but please come soon after taking your dinner. I will be waiting for you.

Willy – OK. Bye. (Linda goes inside.)

Willy (Starting his car)(in very law voice) Sorry Linda, I am not going to come back. This was our last meeting.

(After a few days, the police report to Linda that her husband had a car accident over the bridge, and they found the evidence of his car in the river, but can’t able to find her husband’s dead body in the river. In addition, she also gets the insurance money of her husband.)

Biff – (in a sad, crying voice) Due to me, he died. Now, I will work hard to fulfill his dream. Mom, I will open a food restaurant, and achieve material success.

Happy – I will also help you.

Biff – Mom, Please give me the insurance money of the car. Today, I will start the business.

(After five years)

(Willy and the woman, Miss Francis, enters into a restaurant)

Willy – It looks like a big restaurant.

The woman – It is the best restaurant in the city.

(Mistakenly, a waiter pours cold drink on the cloth of the women, and the woman becomes very angry at him. When she shouts at him, the owner of the restaurant, Biff, comes there, and apologizes for the waiter’s mistake. Suddenly, Biff s sees his father sitting beside her.)

Biff – Pop!!! You are alive! Why did you leave us? Why haven’t you come home? Let’s go home. Mom is still waiting for you.

Willy – No, Now, It’s too late. I am leaving with Miss. Francis since five years. Now, it’s not possible to go back home.

Biff — Pop, Don’t take tension. She will also go with us.

(Biff compels his father to come back home then Willy with the woman goes to his home. When he enters in his home, Linda became very happy, but suddenly her happiness demises by seeing the woman with him. Lastly, she can’t tolerate his husband with another woman, so she commits suicide.)  

Charismatic Nature

     In the chapter “Heat and rain” of the autobiography Growing Up Untouchables in India, the author Vasant Moon describes how summer and rain demonstrate the lives of the people in his neighborhood. He describes how heat of summer brings sufferings for them and how rain brings comfort and joy for them. He also describes rain as a blessing and as blame in their lives. However, in this chapter he shows a relationship between human life and nature. Nature causes sufferings, and again, it has the ingredients to comfort these sufferings. Reading this chapter, I have discovered my homeland Bangladesh through Vasant Moon’s description of his own neighborhood.

     Vasant moon describes summer as a season of fruits. Summer appears in his neighborhood with lots of fruits such as Shembdi, chinchas,chikkus, khirni, kavathes etc. During the summer, the poor village people have abundance of fruits to savor. They are always eating and eating. Similarly, in Bangladesh, summer is called “Honey month” for the sweetness of summer fruits. Most of the Bangladeshi fruits grow in summer such as mango, berry, pine apple, litchi, water melon, jack fruit etc. These fruits are so abundant during summer that most of the poor people remove their hunger eating fruits only. Vasant Moon mentions their throwing stones to other’s fruit trees. Similarly, in my country, it is a common picture in summer that naughty boys are throwing stones to fruit trees. Again, Moon describes how intolerable heat becomes, and how this extreme heat brings unique happiness. He says life becomes peaceful after drinking water taken in a metal cup from an earthen pot to quench their relentless thirst. Similarly, our rural people also quench their thirst eating water melon, and drinking water from earthen pots. They suffer from extreme heat all day long, but life seems to be heaven when they sleep on cool earth surface at night. Those houses seem more comfortable than air conditioned rooms.

      Summer becomes more and more extreme; people wait for the cool rain to soothe the mother earth. Like the way Vasant Moon’s village people repair their rooftops, our village people also take rain preparation repairing their roofs. Every men, women, and children join in repairing the roofs with a great interest. Suddenly, one day the whole sky becomes overcast with black cloud, and it starts raining. As Vasant Moon describes the troubles during rain, rain also causes lots of sufferings in our country submerging the roads and houses of the poor people. Again, it is the same rain that gives the poor people an opportunity to eat fish. During the rainy season, all the village people start to catch fish. Moreover, during the rainy season, people make extra money plying their boats.

     In conclusion, the life of the poor people is more close to nature everywhere in the world. Although nature causes sufferings to these people, nature plays the responsibility to comfort her poor children’s lives.

Good and Bad differs with context

As Edward T. Hall states in the selection, “The Anthropology of Manners,” that good manners in one circumstance may be bad in another condition. It depends on the place and the kind of people you are dealing with. He illustrates it very vividly telling an incident of an Arab diplomat. When the ambassador attends a feast in the United States, he refuses the first time what he was offered in the meal, but later he is not offered the dish. Therefore, he feels so hungry that he asks a friend to go get eating stuffs. He did so because in an Arab country, refusing the offered dish for several times is a crucial part of manners; however in the United States, once you refuse the proffered dish, you are not offered again. Here Hall clearly suggests us that we should be very wary about our manners and demeanors when we are in new places and new situations.

 

The similar differences can be noticed among people in the same country also. In Nepal, respecting other people is one of the most important manners. If someone kicks another person even unintentionally, the former person is regarded to be very disdainful. Therefore, he or she either bows or touches the person and again touches his or her forehead to show apology and respect. However, the trend of this form of showing respect also varies from community to community. For instance, In Newari societies, whoever kicks another person should touch that person and again touch their forehead to show respect. There is not any age factor or gender factor that we have to follow. However, in Brahman communities, the trend is totally different. According to their belief, elder ones should not bow to younger ones, and men should not bow to women. Therefore, the elderly people and men do not follow the trend even if they kick another person. To a surprise, they even kick other people intentionally thinking they are superior. However, women and younger children are bound to follow the tradition. Hence, if a Brahman person has to deal with a Newar person, they have to know and acknowledge each other’s tradition to have a good rapport with one another.

Manners

After reading the article, “The Anthropology of Manners” by Edward T. Hall, I got to know about different sets of manners in different cultures. At the same time, I too came up with many questions and doubts about the author balancing his article. No doubt the writer has presented us varied set of manners in his article, but very often his American idea of manners seems to dominate over other cultures’ notion of manners.

In the very first paragraph, he says, “Americans are shocked when they go abroad and discover whole groups of people behaving like goops—eating with their fingers, making noises and talking while eating.” As soon as I encountered this sentence, my perception towards the writer changed. I had thought that I could go alongside with Hall in his article and share his opinion. Conversely, I thought it was impossible after having encountered this sentence. Once a student of Sociology and Anthropology, I was excited to read this article and was eager to learn many things about people’s manners in varied atmosphere. The practice of using fingers while eating may seem weird to many Americans, but it seems to be a casual thing in many South-Asian cultures. So being a South-Asian, I felt quite dissatisfied with Hall, comparing “Goops” and those eating with fingers. However, I was consoled when I re-read the sentence and found him saying, “…, making noises and talking while eating.” While it may be a bad thing for Americans to talk while eating, it may not sound so serious for other cultures unless people try to talk with their mouth full.

Despite this, I am quite impressed by Hall’s minute observation and comparison of our daily habits among different cultures. I am alarmed by his mention of time and space in different cultures. I think it is very essential for us especially, who have to deal with students and teachers from different cultures. On being conscious of this fact after reading Hall’s article, I came to infer that the whole set of manners depends upon the type of culture one grows up in.

Though dissatisfied with Hall’s American point of view on some issues of manners, I admit that it was both knowledgeable and informative to read his article. After reading his article, my perception towards people’s behavior around me have changed. I no more dislike them for their manners; instead I take it as a result of cultural variation.

Rain, Lake, Potato, Fairytales

In the chapter 4 of the book Growing Up Untouchable in India, Vasant Moon talks about his childhood memories before, during, and after the monsoon rains. He mentions how he used to roam around with friends, steal fruits from neighborhood trees, take off his clothes and run freely under the rain, search for crabs in the river bank after the rain, and participate in festival of snake.  It seems that despite the poverty he has suffered, Moon has been a free child and enjoyed this freedom by exploring the nature with the company of friends.

I have good memories of the rainy days. Kazeroon, my hometown, was hot and dry in the summer, but cool and rainy in the winter. It never snowed but rained a lot in the winter, and Kazeroon turned to an alive, fresh, green city in the winter. After the rain stopped, I used to wear my green, rubber boots and rush outside the house. Our alley was not paved during my childhood; therefore, rainwater gathered in one corner of the alley and created a big pond, which looked like a lake for us. I remember we enjoyed a lot to step in our lake and watch the circles of water created around our feet. We crossed the pond several times and sang songs loudly. Then we would come home, and my uncle baked potatoes in a small fire he made in the yard. It tasted wonderful with salt and chili.

Sometimes when the rain was accompanied with the storm or strong wind, then we lost electricity. We used to light a candle, go to my father, and along with my siblings and my cousins, ask him to tell us grandmother’s stories. He remembered many exciting, and wonderful tales and legends that his mother had told him in his childhood. My father was a good storyteller. In the light of the candle and amid thunderclaps,  I enjoyed listening to my father’s Afghan fairytales and legends. They all were adventurous and had happy ending.

Now that I am a grown-up, I feel happy that I had a wonderful childhood. It fills my heart with pleasure when I reminisce about it. However, now I think about other children as well. I ask myself if all the children in the world enjoy their right to play outdoors, to scream under the rain from the bottom of their heart, and to chase their playmates among the trees without being worried about tomorrow, about their dinner for tonight. But the answer is there are many children who do not experience those innocent moments of childhood when one is not supposed to worry about responsibilities, about war, about family’s expenses. They have to work and sell their childhood happiness to buy a better tomorrow, which they may never see!!!

Variations of Manners

In the essay “The Anthropology of Manners” by Edward T. Hall, I read about different manners of different countries and their people. Manners and codes of conduct vary from country to country, society to society. For example, I have observed different ways to greet elders in different localities. Once in Calcutta, an elderly person had come to visit us in my grandparent’s home. Then, I had greeted him just by saying “Namashkar.” Right after that, one of my aunts corrected me that I should touch his feet as he is much elder than me, but I was excused because I belong to a different country where the custom may vary. Eventually, in Bangladesh, the manner is sort of the same. People here touch the feet of their elders, especially, elderly relatives as well. Again, this manner sometimes varies from family to family. In one of our neighborhoods, grandparents are respected in a very interesting manner. Whenever their grandparents used to visit them, they used to wash grandparents’ feet with their hand at first and then kiss them on the feet. On the other hand, in my family, touching others feet except parents is prohibited. My grandfather himself has
made this rule. As he is a very religious person, he says that nobody should bow their head in front of anyone except Allah and their parents, who gave birth to them.

In addition, the essay reminded me of a novel named America by Md. Zafar Iqbal, a famous novelist of Bangladesh. In this novel, he has shared experiences he had on his living in the United States for several years. Before going there, he learned to eat with spoon and practiced to say “excuse me” after sneezing. Still he had to face difficulties regarding different manners there. However, through his novel, I had come to know a manner the people of the USA follow to eat a banana, which seemed to me very funny. They eat a banana by peeling the skin fully and holding it tightly in the hand! I have never seen an American eating a banana, that’s
why I wonder whether it’s true or not.

However, it is manners that makes people different from each other. Manners of other countries may seem to us weird, but at the same time our manners may seem ridiculous to others. So, we should have respect for different kind of manners of different countries, and I think it’s a good idea to try to follow the manners of the country we visit to so that we don’t feel isolated or embarrassed.

“heat and rain” in my childhood

When I was reading Vasant Moon’s description about flower, fruits, friends and occasions in the summer and rainy days of his childhood in the 4th chapter “Heat and Rain” of his autobiography Growing up Untouchable in India, it seemed that the images were passing through in front of my eyes. Was I seeing Moon and His friends? No! The images were so clear and I found that I was thinking about my own childhood and enjoyment with my friends.

As I lived in a small town, there were lots of trees, flowers and fields surrounded my community. The boys and girls of my community used to roam those gardens and fields all day long in holly days. On other days, after school we used to gather together and eat green mangos, tamarinds and other fruits of summer. We collected known and unknown flowers and played different kinds of games. As the days were so much hot, we would get so much tired roaming in the sun whole day. Our parents would scold us and took us home. At the afternoon, we again gathered the nearest field and play. Since there had unbearable load-shadings in summer, we rarely used to sit down for studying in the evening. We went to the field and listen to the stories told by elders or ourselves.

In the beginning of rainy days, we became happy as we could play in the rain. However, after some days we became bored as we could not go outside for playing. My mother used to cook delicious foods on rainy days and I enjoyed eating and sleeping. If it rained heavily, we would suffer a lot. The roads and yard were slippery; water came from our roof and so on. As a result, rainy days turned into pain.

Actually, childhood is the best part of one’s life. It does not matter the season is hot, cold, or rainy. As people grow up, they involve with lots of activities to be successful in life. Then they can’t enjoy the life with a free mind. Though Vasant struggled a lot in his childhood, but I think, the test of nature, enjoyment with friends, and happiness of independent activities would not come back again in his life. Similarly, the days I had left in my childhood, will not come back again in my life.

Manner!?

Looking through a dictionary, I found this definition for manner: “The prevailing customs, ways of living, and habits of a people, class, period, etc.” and “Ways of behaving with reference to polite standards; social comportment” (Dictionary).Of course, you have used this word many times, you are grown with this word. For example, when you were little kids, your parents used to say not to shout or cry in public, they taught you how to eat your food and how to talk with you teacher when you went to school for the first time. Sometimes this question might have come to your mind that why your parents emphasize on the way of doing something and how do they know these things? Some of you may have received your first answer when you resisted doing something as your parents or adults would appreciate–“You have to do this way because otherwise, people would think how impolite you are.” The next question is that how they have learnt this politeness—manner—themselves? Now it is clear for you that they have learnt these manners form their parents and so on. This fact shows that manners can be common among a group or many groups in though different times. Since many years ago, you have learnt to shake hands for greeting. I think here you will say that I am wrong, because this is not the manner of greeting in your society. Yes. You are right. Despite that many “hows” and “more polites” are completely in my family and society, I cannot expect the whole world to know and follow them. The manners of one group, class, city or ethnic may be different from others. Some manners that are acceptable in one country may not be in for others. For example, I saw in TV that in a country that the gusts are expected to belch after having a meal. If the gust didn’t belch, the host would think that the food had not been good or pleasant for the guest. This example might sound strange and even disgusting to some of you—as it was so for me—because in many places belching is considered a rude behavior, but we cannot claim that it is the same everywhere. Therefore, it shows that even though some manners have been passed through the time, but they might not be able to pass the places.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/manner

Willy should not have committed suicide.

                 According to my interpretation, I suppose Willy could have made some other decisions other than deciding to commit suicide because committing suicide resembles a cowardly act. Moro over, it also suggests that Willy is not satisfied with what he had: his wife, boys and other properties that he owned. He could have done something else other than making this drastic decision and putting his family in to trouble. He could have chosen another path out of the thousands of options that a person can chose in order to live successfully.


                The first option that I can suggest is that he and his boys could have opened a new business and run that together.  They could have initiated with a small scale business and eventually expand that in to an extreme one and thereby they could have owned a family business.  This will allow them to have more interconnected family bonds and closeness. Moreover, this will automatically solve Biff’s problem as well, the fact that he did not have a proper job.  


                 The second option is that Willy could have agreed with Charley’s appointment and worked with him though he did not like.  If he had managed to work with Charley, some how he could have changed his positions in the future during his work days.  He and Charley could have spoken that in a smooth manner and decided for the better future.


                  If not, my third suggestion is that he could have at least mad his mind satisfy with what he had; he could have thought that enough is enough and not to bother too much about money and other material success. 


                  However, he did not have any sort of shortages in his life other than his over imaginations in unending hopes.  Willy could have survived for some more days and live with his family. I think he has chosen the worst path a man could do to find a permanent solution to all his problems rather than trying to cope with the existing situation.