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"Death Of A Salesman" Annotated Bibliography

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Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" reflects the numerous issues post-war United States was dealing with during the late 1940's when it was written. Death of a Salesman was written and published in 1949, when the United States was booming with new economic capabilities and new found power, resulting in a golden age regardless of the growing tensions of the threat of communist invasion. Racial violence and the escalating issues regarding the deluded American dream that was turning out to be quite different than that which our founding fathers had originally idealized. During the time "Death of a Salesman" was created, Post-War United States was undergoing a metamorphosis into a new era of prosperity, communist paranoia, and social/philosophical change.

World War II had left the United States into an economic nightmare, but its resilient nature allowed a hasty return to glory. The United States entered the late 1940's as the strongest, most stable and powerful economy in the world (Wikipedia). Trade surplus and booming business's engulfed the country as the nation initiated into a new period of economic miracle. The deciding factors in this were the record breaking trade surpluses and the raising real income and investments into foreign business. Rising productivity and lowering unemployment allowed the nation to conjure a time where confidence in business and government reigned supreme. in business and government grew greatly, as large industrial corporations accounted for vast portions of the national income.

Nevertheless, the Yalta conference did make USSR the second leading superpower after Nazi Germany's fall in 1945 (The American Pageant). The Communist machine led a monstrous influence to countless countries and possible allies to the democratic United States. Such neighboring nations to the staggeringly huge Soviet led nation succumbed quickly to its humungous size and sheer military strength. The result of this was a terrifying internal attack on the United States by alleged communist enthusiasts. Led by the brainwashed and borderline insane Joseph McCarthy, the Red Scare during the 1950's led to a new concept of warfare dictated by the drawn out Cold War (Wikipeida). The balancing influence between the free democratic countries and allies of the United States and the communist controlled soviet states was the beginning of something the world has never seen before.

Following the end of the threat of fascism to the world, the United States converged into a new sense of prosperity and social reform. Conflicts arose between traditional cultural ideals such as segregation and a new generation of writers and artists arose from the darkness to battle for self-realization and pursue personal meaning (Sparknotes). Post war artists and writers like Arthur Miller became captivated by older notions of existentialism and ideas of human subconscious by psychologists Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung. What came to be so disturbing was that the majority of Americans centered their lives too much on material possession. This triggered many writers to criticize the loss of American national values.

Needless to say, the time period when Death of a Salesman was born, was a time of extreme change for the entire world. The changes that led to the book influenced not only Arthur Miller but his work as well. Like Miller, The writers of the time were heavily influenced by the severe changes that were taking place in history. These changes brought about a new sense of lifestyle by the social and political changes, the communist scare, and the economic golden age which led the United States into an age of tense uncertainty.

Criticism #1: Benets' Readers Encyclopedia

Benet's Encyclopedia defines Miller's work in several different ways. It's main description of his style; characterized in one sentence. It states that his exploration of the relationship between public and private morality, becomes a man's attempt to "evaluate himself justly". Miller has struggled a great deal in order to compensate for all the 20th century American experience. Described as the best play ever written by an American, Death of a Salesman shows the incredible fusion of the ideas and formal problems that Miller had been wrestling with. The play fuses the traditional naturalism with expressionistic techniques that enable him to explore life to conventional form. The focus of Death of a Salesman is upon the interior life of a single character producing a distorted perspective. Although with intense concentration and rationalization. In conclusion though, the social and psychological levels of the work are imperfectly related.

Criticism #2: The Oxford Companion to 20th century Literature

Death of a Salesman deals with an epic theme in American drama. The play deals with a common yet epic theme in American drama. The capacity for opportunity for the little man to achieve the widely desired American dream. Death of a Salesman is heavily criticized as being simply put; a morality play. The main character's name is Loman, hence being a "low man", along with other comparisons to the son's of Willy Loman in the play. In contradiction to this view, however, Death of a Salesman shows more individualism than simply a morality play because of it's naturalistic revelation about the atmosphere of the world's society. Stating that society simply is a pit of traps and deceit, aimed intentionally for Loman, or the little man in America's commercial workforce. One may also be led to believe that the play could be seen as a tragedy; being said because the main character may be seen as



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