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Death Of A Salesman (Charly Passage Analysis)

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Death Of A Salesman How does Miller make this scene (pages 31-34) such a dramatic and revealing moment in the play? In the scene involving pages 31- 34, Charley and Willy are playing cards, during which Willy has a flashback of his first meeting with his brother, Ben. Many characters are introduced during the course of the scene: Ben, Charley, Bernard as well as Biff, Happy and Linda. It is the second flashback that Willy has during the book and the new character of Ben, Willy's brother is introduced into the story. In order to understand how Miller makes the scene so dramatic and revealing I will be looking at the pace of the scene, the use of foreshadowing, Willy's desperation, and the relationships between the characters. The appearance of Ben in the scene triggers many interjections. When Biff and Ben are mock fighting, short exclamations are heard,' Oh, no Sir!' and 'Okay.' These quick outbursts are surprising to the audience, as they come from various characters at various times. As these cries build up, spontaneous events begin to happen. 'Suddenly [Ben} comes in, trips Biff.... ...read more.


Willy overlooks Charley's sensible opinions and it is so alarming that Willy does so making the scene very dramatic. Willy desperation is another important factor during the course of the scene. Willy is in need of reassurance and guidance from Ben. As soon as Ben comes, Willy asks, 'What's the answer?' and 'How do you do it?'. Willy's gushing questions magnifies how insecure and unconfident Willy is. He is so desperate for Ben to help him that he does not care about Ben's mood. Willy also needs Ben to tell him about his heritage and his childhood. As Ben tells Willy, that father 'made more in a week [with one gadget]' it reassures Willy that in any one week he could become very rich and successful. Ben is a connection to Willy's childhood. 'Was it Nebraska?' questions Willy. 'I feel temporary about myself.' Willy is so anxious to feel comfortable about himself and he believes that being knowledgeable about his childhood and family will bring him closer to this. In previous scenes he has made his own insecurities known to Linda. 'I'm fat' and 'I talk too much,' are excuses he uses for not bring home much money, when in fact he just can't accept the fact that people won't always like him or people don't like him the way he is. ...read more.


Willy is the admirer seeking attention from Ben, whilst Ben patronises Willy, Willy just ignores it. 'Good luck with your- what do you do?' Ben does not care for what Willy does, his tone suggests he came to Willy just lord his wealth and success over their family. Charley and Linda are concerned about Ben's influence on Willy. Linda does not understand Ben's intentions. She 'withdraws her hand coldly.' She is unsure of him and therefore does not trust even though he is a relative. Charley contradicts Ben. Charley is actually trying to help by telling Willy,' the jails are full of fearless characters,' but Ben interjects saying,' and so is the stock exchange.' He even adds, 'my friend,' to make Willy come round to his way of thinking, and so he is believed by Willy. The various relationships between the characters are revealing as it shows the control that Ben has over Willy. The scene is also dramatic in the way in which Charley, Linda and Biff react to the arrival of Ben. In conclusion, the most important factor making this scene revealing and dramatic as is shows Willy's state of mind. The way in which Willy can be influenced by Ben and the way in which his ambitions manipulate him and his sons, ?? ?? ?? ?? English Homework ...read more.

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Response to the question

This essay responds well to the task, but there is plenty of room for improvement. I liked how there was a clear focus on the techniques that Miller uses rather than simply looking at the plot. By stating in the ...

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Response to the question

This essay responds well to the task, but there is plenty of room for improvement. I liked how there was a clear focus on the techniques that Miller uses rather than simply looking at the plot. By stating in the introduction that you're looking at the place, foreshadowing, etc, this tells the examiner that you are going to analyse rather than narrate. From experience with this exam, examiners are looking for close analysis of the extract and looking at such techniques will gain credit. I would note that there needs to be more focus on the audience response. The question refers to the dramatic nature of the scene, and there needs to be exploration of how the audience are forced to respond.

Level of analysis

The analysis here is sound. I particularly liked the focus on the pace of the scene, as structure is one of the sections they liked candidates to analyse. Being able to analyse things other than language and imagery shows an able candidate. I do feel the need to address that in this play, Willy Loman has mobile concurrencies of past and present - not flashbacks. Although examiners won't penalise if you use the term flash back, they aren't what's occurring. If this essay had included these, it would've fitted well with the comment around "the unpredictability and unsettling pace of the scene". I sometimes feel as if there needs to be more awareness that Willy, Ben, etc are Miller's constructions. In particular the paragraph starting "To Willy, Ben is the American dream" the essay talks about the characters as if they are real and make their own decisions. It is vital that you talk of Willy and Ben as being made to do things Miller - after all, he is writing the play and constructing them for a reason. This will focus your argument towards why he chooses to make the scene dramatic, thus moving the discussion further and placing an essay into the top band. Language could've been analysed more closely here, with the choice of words used by Miller displaying Willy's lack of control and misguided path.

Quality of writing

The essay has a solid structure, introducing the main points in the introduction. Paragraphs aren't used superbly here, as some points are separated into two paragraphs. I would note that each point should always link back to the question. Even if it's a simple sentence saying "So through Miller's use of Willy's loss of control on stage, this scene then becomes more dramatic". I feel with some of the paragraphs that it loses focus on the question somewhat. When looking at particular extracts, I would've liked to have seen the conclusion make a judgement about the significance of the scene, as this ensures you show knowledge of the whole play. Unfortunately, the conclusion here is weak and adds nothing extra. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are fine. I'm not sure I like the use of the first person in the introduction stating "I will be looking at". It's simply unnecessary and comes across as unsophisticated at GCSE level.

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Reviewed by groat 06/04/2012

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