Bartleby, from Bartleby the Scrivener, and Willy Loman, from Death of a Salesman, are in many ways opposites. Bartleby is an extreme individualist; only doing what he wants to, no matter the personal or professional cost. On the other hand, Willy Loman is a conformist; he does what he is told, lives an average life, and pursues the “American Dream” like most Americans do. Bartleby and Willy also share similarities: both are physiologically broken and their respective individuality and conformity lead them to their deaths, albeit in different ways. The stories themselves are also similar in that they both critique American society. Bartleby and Willy are like two sides of the same coin, no matter which side faces up the coin still falls. Throughout …show more content…
The Narrator justifies keeping Bartleby and ignores his internal issues with confrontation. When Bartleby refuses to do anything but copy the Narrator forgives the behavior because Bartleby asked so politely. When Bartleby refuses to work all together the Narrator allows him to stay because he thinks it is a good thing to help Bartleby. Even when the Narrator realizes the he can’t have Bartleby in his office anymore he moves offices instead of making Bartleby leave. All these acts show us that the Narrator does not know how do deal with confrontation so he instead fools himself with excuses. Willy Loman behaves similarly with his perception that he is well liked. Willy insists that being well liked is the key to success and he is very proud of being liked. He also teaches his sons that being well liked is more important than getting good grades. This leads Biff to fail math in high school. Biff wants to retake the class in the summer but when he catches his father having an affair his perception of his father, his biggest role model, is shattered causing him to give up on the things he used to want to do. Willy represses this memory entirely and tries to blame others for Biffs behavior instead of himself. Willy also fools himself into thinking he is well liked and successful. In small moments of clarity Willy admits that people have made fun of his physique and no one talks to him anymore when he goes …show more content…
Death of a Salesman deals with a conformist unable to conform to his image of success and Bartleby the Scrivener addresses an extreme individualist who values what he wants to do over all else. Both paths lead to the downfall of the character, but from different angles. The two stories also question aspects of the perception of the American Dream. Death of a Salesman asks what happens when the American Dream fails and Bartleby the Scrivener questions whether the American Dream promotes conformity or individuality. The characters from both stories take two sides of the same issues; the conformist view and the individualist
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He has flashbacks of certain things that have happened in the past. For example, at different parts of the story, Willy would go back in time to the times where Biff and him really got along. This would be the times where Biff was about to play football. Willy used to be really proud of Biff. Now, Biff would try to explain to his father how he felt, but Willy would try to see the good in him and try to help him.
In order for Willy to be a successful father, he needs to feel that his kids are respected and accomplished. However this shows that Willy is such an outsider, because Biff is quite the opposite, as the Bill Oliver that is references has no idea who Biff is. Another example that shows how Willy’s goals and dreams turn him into a misfit is when he asks for a promotion “ Well, tell you the truth, Howard. I’ve come to the decision that I’d rather not travel anymore.” ( Miller 59).
Life revolves around the quest for comfort. Wealth makes us comfortable without the stress of making money or worrying about affording life's necessities, which keep us safe. Comfort in a partner to marry, start a family, and share one's life with, to have companionship on a primitive level, is also a significant factor in our pursuit of comfort. In "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald and "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller, the protagonists pursue comfort through wealth and family yet are too focused on perfection, and refuse to settle, leading them to self-destruct.
The story has come to a point where Bartleby has refused to work and the narrator lets this slide by. This refusal to work would result in dismissal of one’s job, but the narrator continued Bartleby’s employment. However, this charitable act may just be a feint so the narrator’s “can cheaply purchase a delicious self-approval; to befriend Bartleby…will eventually prove a sweet morsel for my conscience”. (Melville 56). Rather than for the good purpose, the narrator is conforming to what he thinks society would like him to do in this kind of situation.
The narrator does have a problem with the Bartleby as the following conversation shows:"[Bartleby,] would you like to re-engaging copying for some one?" "No; I would prefer not to make any change." "Would you like a clerkship in a dry-goods store?" "There is too much confinement about that. No, I would not like a clerkship; but I am not
Willy tries to make himself feel better by lying to himself. Although Willy’s death is unfortunate, if one closely examines his pride, bad temper, and his lies, one can see that these flaws will eventually bring him to his demise. Throughout the play, Willy demonstrates his sense of pride while talking to his family and friends. In this quote one can
Tragedy can spread. In Death of a Salesman, Willy Loman is the protagonist, however he not the only person in the play who’s story ends tragically. His view on life spreads to those close to him. Primarily, Willy teaches it to his children who look up to him while his wife simply attaches herself to him, rooting for him in blind support while really she should be waking him up to the cold and dark reality that is their life. Throughout the play, the Loman family evolves differently.
Both characters realized that hard work is necessary to get what they want and that success is not a result of popularity. Bernard recognizes this much earlier in his life and becomes successful from an early age. This highlights how fathers play a crucial role in character development. Ironically Biff is similar to Willy, even though he refuses to admit it. Through this, Miller implies that all humans have inherited traits from their parents that cannot be denied.
However, in the narrator’s statement, “At first Bartleby did an extraordinary quantity of writing”, it is evident Bartleby’s behavior begins to change (Melville 301). The narrator emphasizes that Bartleby “wrote on silently, palely, mechanically” (Melville 301). This description of Bartleby’s performance is the foundation to understanding Bartleby’s behavior throughout the remainder of the story. Bartleby’s behavior changes when
Biff, a consequence of Willy, attempts to bring Willy out of his fantasies and his see the realities of his life, but in the end fails to. The two are different in their ideas, demeanors and personas, yet have some akin characteristics. Willy and Biff’s physical traits are different. At what point, Willy tells his wife Linda, “I’m fat. I’m very foolish to look at, Linda.”
While Linda enabled him, Willy could not help himself too keep ruining the good opportunities he had and turning them into some factious reality. At Willy`s funeral Biff comes to the realization that his father had all the wrong dreams and visions of success. Willy`s only dream was the fake “American Dream” that people believe will happen overnight. Willy`s failed attempts and happiness bonded into one and played a part into him creating this false reality and persona that he was the best salesman and that he was well loved by everyone around him.
Willy Loman believes success in life is having nice things, having money, and being known by people. Unfortunately, Mr. Loman never realises that success is much more than having material things. Hopefully Biff and Happy learn from their dad’s mistakes, and reach the real American
Willy’s American Dream The tragic play of Death of a salesman by Arthur Miller tells a story about an old man of 84 years old named Willy. Willy was captured by the American dream. He believed that hard work and ambitions could take him to a life of fame and popularity like the american dream was supposed to be. In Death of a salesman, the american dream reveals disappointment, failure and loss of hope. Thus showing that the american dream is not a great dream after all.
This cancelled his plans to be a collegiate football player. Ever since then, things have kept going on a downhill path for Biff. Willy and Linda both notice this and it devastates them. But, instead of helping his son, Willy becomes agitated for the rest of his life. He expected his son to be better but, Biff did not want to be better.