The dysfunctional family. Willys lack of respect
The Dysfunctional FamilyIn Arthur Millers drama, Death of a Salesman the protagonist is a sixty-year-old salesperson by the name of Willy Loman. Willy suffers from self-delusion and is obsessed with the desire to succeed. Willys actions strongly influence his family, which contributes to their self-delusions. Willys wife Linda is an enabler and is codependent upon him. Linda encourages and participates in Willys delusions.
She is unselfish and her life revolves around Willy and their two boys Biff and Happy. The Lomans are definitely a dysfunctional family due to their lack of communication, respect, and morals.The basis for any healthy relationship is communication. Communication is something the Lomans do not practice often, and when they do, it usually ends in a shouting match. Willy has extremely poor listening skills, which is an important part of communication. When Willy goes to speak with Howard about getting a job in New York, Willy would talk over Howard whenever he would say anything that Willy did not want to hear. Howard leaves Willy in the office alone to greet people outside.
Willy then notices this himself saying, “Pull myself together! What the hell did I say to him? My God, I was yelling at him! How could I! (Miller 1350; all page references are to the class text, The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature, 5 th ed.). Willy however, is not the only member of the Loman family with problems communicating. Everyone in the family has a habit of interrupting one another, this is obvious when Biff and Linda are talking about Willys car accidents: Biff 🙁 sharply but contained): What woman? (Linda simultaneously):and this womanLinda: What? Biff: Nothing. Go ahead.
Linda: What did you say? Biff: Nothing. I just said what woman? (Miller 1339). This is a normal conversation in the Loman household interrupting each other, not listening to each other, and lack of interest in what one another are saying.Lack of respect for each other is another reason why the Lomans are a dysfunctional family. Willys lack of respect for his wife is obvious, because he cheats on her during his business trips and thinks nothing of it. When he is caught cheating on Linda by Biff, Willy explains it is because he gets lonely, and while putting his arms around tells Biff him Now look, Biff, when you grow up youll understand about these things. You mustnt you mustnt overemphasize a thing like this (Miller 1369).
Willy does not think there is anything wrong with cheating. He is upset that Biff has found him out if anything. More evidence of the lack of respect existing in the family occurs when Willy meets Happy and Biff at the restaurant on the day of Biffs meeting with Bill Oliver.
Willy starts out by having one of his delusional episodes and goes into the bathroom. Biff and Happy get into an argument about Happys apparent disregard for Willy. Biff then storms out of the restaurant. Happy later leaves with two women while Willy is still in the bathroom having a flashback. When one of the women asks Happy about his father, he replies, No, thats not my father. Hes just some guy (Miller 1366).
This is the ultimate disrespect because Happy is not willing to admit that Willy is his father. Taking into account the state Willy is in when Happy and Biff leave him, this shows a total disregard for their own fathers well being. The Lomans Dysfunction is also evident by the lack of morals demonstrated throughout the family.
Happy and Willys womanizing alone shows a lack of morals, especially in Willys case, considering he is married. When we factor Biffs pilfering into all of this, the Lomans lack of moral value becomes irrefutable. Even more disturbing is the fact that Biff goes unpunished for these acts by both of his parents. In fact, at one point they encourage the boys to steal.
When Willy wants to rebuild the front stoop he yells to his boys to Go right over to where theyre building the apartment house and get some sand (Miller 1334). Another time when Biff was playing football, he stole a football from the locker room at school. Not only did Willy chuckle with Biff about the theft, he makes the excuse that Sure, hes gotta practice with a regulation ball, doesnt he? (Miller 1324).
This is an obvious example of the lack of morals possessed by the Loman children, as well as the lack of morals taught by Willy himself. Willy never taught his sons right from wrong, only how to be thieves.The Lomans are a dysfunctional family due to their lack of communication, their lack of respect for each other, and their overall lack of moral values. The Lomans dysfunction and Willy’s suicide could have easily been avoided by a more attentive and nurturing family environment. Unfortunately, this is the case with many families in society today.Words/ Pages : 872 / 24