Blackout Poem – “Death of a Salesman”

How much importance can one give to success, and how much is one willing to push their limits in order to be successful? Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman is a play written in the 50’s which depicts the life of a travelling salesman, Willy Loman, and his family. This dramatic play is considered to be a tragedy due to the conflicts within the plot.

Willy Loman struggles to make ends meet with his low salary even though he works long and hard hours travelling and lifting his valises. It also doesn’t help that he’s delusional and pretends to be successful. All this, while talking to himself about old memories and slowly going crazy. Luckily he has a caring and understanding wife, Linda, who wishes for nothing more than a happy family. His two sons, however, have struggles of their own while trying to meet their dad’s high expectations. The younger son, Happy, has a job and is working up the ranks while also getting girls, but he’s lonely. The older son, 34 year old Biff, practically stopped living after his big high-school football game. He has no stable job to speak of and a lack of motivation. As the play goes on, more and more is revealed about the life of Willy Loman and what being well-liked and successful meant to him.

There are many reasons why one can consider Death of a Salesman as a tragedy. These reasons may include the main protagonist’s characteristics and what changes he might have undergone in the play. Firstly, Willy’s downfall as a salesman shows that he is flawed and unsuccessful. He also shows pride by not accepting help from others unless he’s desperate and by pretending to be successful. Another one of his flaws is that he’s unfaithful. Even though he has a caring wife, he cheated on her. In addition he begins to develop mental illness. Another reason one may consider the play to be a tragedy is the fact that the main characters, especially Willy, must make big decisions throughout. Willy must chose between life and death at one point as he contemplates suicide. We can also see that he was doomed from the start through his constant flashbacks, his lack of success and by how his sons were raised.

The blackout poem above matches the play through tone, imagery and diction. This poem is meant to represent Biff’s feelings after he discovered his dad was unfaithful and how he began to drift from his dad. The tone is melancholic, surprised and somber, as this is likely how Biff felt upon discovering his dad’s disloyalty. The image drawn is Biff burning his « University of Virginia » sneakers in devastation as he ponders upon what his dad has done. Lastly, the words chosen from the book page fit the plot well. For example, “he had some woman in New York” describes how Willy had a mistress which he used to cheat on Linda.

In conclusion, Death of a Salesman is a tragic play which depicts an unsuccessful, flawed and unfortunate salesman and his troubled family. One can consider this play as a tragedy because of Willy and his pride as well as the big decisions made throughout the play. Lastly, the blackout poem above fits the play through it’s attitude, the pictures drawn, and the choice of words.

DOAS Monologue

The following is an example I created of a monologue for the character of Biff from “Death of a Salesman.”

This is a monologue because Biff is speaking for a long time and without interruption. It also reveals something about him.

This monologue would fit in the current plot the night where Linda revealed to Biff and Happy that their father was not doing well and that he was attempting suicide.

Biff: I am struggling. I’m struggling a lot, with dad, with mom and just with life. I wasn’t always struggling though. There was once a time where I was confident and self-assured. When I was in high school, I was on the football team and dad was proud of me. All we would talk about was that big Ebbet’s Field game. He would say I was gonna be big, that I was gonna be a huge success, but now… Now I don’t know where I’m going. I’ve tried many different jobs in the field of business to try and make it. I tried being a salesman so that dad could be proud of me again, but I just couldn’t do it. Instead I got stuck jumping from job to job to job and mom thinks I’m a philandering bum. I know I’ve got to do something, I’ve got to stick to something. Hopefully I can get that opportunity. Now it’s as urgent as ever, especially now that dad’s life is at risk. I never knew he would… Well now that I know I’ve gotta help by making him confident in me. Then maybe I can be confident in myself. I can build a better future for all of us. I know I’ve been running my mouth for a long while Happy, but you’re one of closest friends. I know I can talk to you.

Lord of the Flies Infographic

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Characterization (3D) – “Sam’n’Eric”

 

Sam’n’Eric are a pair of identical twins within the novel. They act and look almost exactly the same. They both have coarse, fiber-like hair and heads that are small and round. They are likely dressed in torn and dirtied school uniforms since they are schoolboys. Their hair has also likely grown out overtime, for they have spent a long time on the island. They are a couple of the older kids (biguns not littluns), but they are easily led by Jack and Ralph. Even though they are two separate people they are treated as if they were one; they act, think and talk the same way and are always together. They have such a strong sense of unity that even when using the conch, only one of them has to hold it for both of them to speak. They rarely act independently, when they are asked to they get lost or don’t do their job properly.

 

  1. “The two boys, bullet-headed and with hair like tow, flung themselves down and lay grinning and panting at Ralph like dogs” (Golding 14). >Describes their appearance by talking about their hair and heads
  2.  “They breathed together, they grinned together, they were chunky and vital” (Golding 15). >They were very close and were kind of chubby
  3.  “They raised wet lips at Ralph, for they seemed provided with not quite enough skin, so that their profiles were blurred and their mouths pulled open” (Golding 15). >Describes their skin and mouths. Their mouths are usually open.
  4. “In theory one should have been asleep and one on watch. But they could never manage to do things sensibly if that meant acting independently” (Golding 104). >They are always together so they can’t really act independently.
  5. “The twins shared their identical laughter, then remembered the darkness and other things glanced round uneasily” (Golding 105). >This quote shows their sameness, they are identical twins.
  6.  “They became motionless, gripped in each other’s arms, four unwinding eyes and two mouths open” (Golding 106). >This quote shows how they are the same not just in appearance but in personality. They react the exact same way.
  7.  “By custom now one conch did for both twins, for their substantial unity was recognized” (Golding 108). >Even though they are two separate people they are treated  like one person because they are so unified.
  8.  “The twins nodded like one boy” (Golding 126). >Like mentioned previously they are so unified it’s like they are one person even though they aren’t.
  9. “Some were naked and carrying their clothes: others half-naked, or more or less dressed in school uniforms; grey, blue, fawn, jacketed or jerseyed. There were badges, mottos even stripes of color in stockings and pullovers” (Golding 14). >This quote describes how they all dressed, school uniforms or half naked.
  10. “‘Eric!’ cried Ralph in a shocked voice. ‘Don’t talk like that!’ Sam knelt by Eric” (Golding 180). >The twins are always together/support each other no matter what. They are practically the same person.

LOTF Podcast

 

Hello! This is a podcast about the psychology in Lord of the Flies presented to you by myself (Nour) and by Minji. Listen as we explore concepts like mob mentality, morality and social conformity and apply them to both the novel and some real life scenarios.

Opening song: Take Five by Dave Brubeck

Closing song:  Kong by Bonobo

Works Cited in Order of Mention:

1. Mob/Herd Mentality:  Describes how people can be influenced by their peers to adopt certain behaviors on a largely emotional, rather than rational, basis. (https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herd_mentality&ved=2ahUKEwjH_N_L173aAhXH6J8KHTiQDp8QFjACegQIBxAB&usg=AOvVaw3KeGZBmAeJAuD4M84fGAfC)
2. Vancouver Stanley Cup riot 2011: It is a sport riot that happened at downtown 7 years ago. The people who watched the game, were so mad about the game results, that they were marching through the streets, destroying cars and even stealing things from the nearby stores.

(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Vancouver_Stanley_Cup_riot)

3. Human Morality: The human attempt to define what is right and wrong about our actions and thoughts, and what is good and bad about our being who we are. (https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-morality-definition-principles-examples.html&ved=2ahUKEwj70cSq1b3aAhWDFXwKHSa3AeIQFjAOegQIBhAB&usg=AOvVaw07vpOZ5SlyfpAznW6nmysy)
4. Fact about morality: Between the ages of 2 and 5, many children start to show morally-based behaviors and beliefs.

(https://www.gracepointwellness.org/462-child-development-parenting-early-3-7/article/12769-early-childhood-moral-development

5. Moral Awareness: Civilization is a human creation, restricting the cosmic or primitive in man by bounding it within moral awareness.

(https://learningandcreativity.com/lord-of-the-flies/)

7. Bitcoin: Bitcoin is a digital currency created in 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity has yet to be verified. … Bitcoins are not issued or backed by any banks or governments, nor are individual bitcoins valuable as a commodity.

(https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.investopedia.com/terms/b/bitcoin.asp&ved=2ahUKEwiIua7Dqs7aAhUG3mMKHTMOAtwQFjABegQICBAB&usg=AOvVaw2_uZv4lhrnQQLkH9-VQBpd)

8. Phycology behind investing: Psychologist Somon Asch, has said “Humans are social and generally want to be part of the crowd.”

(https://www.irishtimes.com/business/personal-finance/investing-why-it-feels-good-to-conform-1.3437861)

9. Normative Conformity: Involves changing one’s behavior in order to fit in with the group. Normative influence stems from a desire to avoid punishments (such as going along with the rules in class even though you don’t agree with them) and gain rewards (such as behaving in a certain way in order to get people to like you) (https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-conformity-2795889)
10. Informational conformity: Happens when a person lacks knowledge and looks to the group for information and direction.

(https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-conformity-2795889)

11. Belonging, Difference and Shame: Belonging to a society or tribe is essential to survive. Difference threatens the solidarity of the group. Shame lead to formation of Jack’s tribe; shame is pre-linguistic and coded as “pain” into the developing brains.

(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/you-can-t-sit-us/201710/all-female-lord-the-flies-remake)

12. Remake of “Lord of the Flies”: Remake of Lord of the Flies movie is planned and it is going to be all-female cast

(https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/you-can-t-sit-us/201710/all-female-lord-the-flies-remake)

Lord of the Flies – Island Desciption

 

The following are an illustration and quotes describing the island from Lord of the Flies:

  1. Beach/Forest: “He kept back onto the terrace, pulled off his shirt, and stood there among the skull-like coco-nuts with green shadows from the palms and the forest sliding over his skin” (4).
  2. The Platform: “Here, the beach was interrupted abruptly by the square motif of the landscape; a great platform of pink granite thrust uncompromisingly through forest and terrace and sand and lagoon to make a raised jetty 4 feet high” (6).
  3.  The Platform: “The top of this was covered with a thin layer of soil and coarse grass and shaded with young palm trees. There was not enough soil for them to grow to any height and when they reached perhaps 20 feet they fell and dried” (7).
  4. The sea/coral: “He picked his way to the seaward edge of the platform and stood looking down into the water. It was clear to the bottom and bright with the efflorescence of tropical weed and coral” (7).
  5. The Scar: “He looked up and down the scar. ‘And this is what the cabin done.’ The fair boy reached out and touched the jagged end of a trunk. For a moment he looked interested. ‘What happened to it?’ he asked. ‘Where’s it got to now?’ ‘That storm dragged it out to sea. It wasn’t half dangerous with all them tree trunks falling. There must have been some kids still in it.’ He hesitated for a moment, then spoke again” (8).
  6. The Jungle: “Ralph disentangled himself cautiously and stole away through the branches. In a few seconds the fat boy’s grunts were behind him and he was hurrying toward the screen that still lay between him and the lagoon. He climbed over a broken trunk and was out of the jungle” (10).
  7. The Beach: “The shore was fledged with palm trees. These stood or leaned or reclined against the light and their green feathers were a hundred feet up in the air. The ground beneath them was a bank covered with coarse grass, torn everywhere by the upheavals of fallen trees, scattered with decaying coconuts and palm saplings. Behind this was the darkness of the forest proper and the open space of the scar” (10).
  8. The Beach: “Out there, perhaps a mile away, the white surf flinked on a coral reef, and beyond that the open sea was dark blue. Within the irregular arc of coral the lagoon was still as a mountain lake—blue of all shades and shadowy green and purple” (10).
  9. The Scar: “beyond falls and cliffs there was a gash visible in the trees; there were the splintered trunks and then the drag, leaving only a fringe of palm between the scar and the sea” (26,27).
  10. The Beach: “the beach between the palm terrace and the water was a thin bow-stave” (4).

Walter Mitty Daydream 6

He took one last drag on his cigarette and snapped it away. Then with that faint, fleeting smile playing about his lips, he faced the firing squad; erect and motionless, proud and disdainful, Walter Mitty the Undefeated, inscrutable to the last. The firing squad asked the infamous question: “Any last words?” Mitty then pointed his hand, as if it were a gun, towards the shooters, “bang…” He said it softly, as if he’d come to accept death. “What?!” The firing squad were suddenly confused by the gesture. The warden came out to see what was happening, but shouted something unexpected: “Walter!”…

“Walter! Let’s go I’m done here! Walter? Are you listening? It’s unbelievable I got into a fight with the cashier, he refused to sell me the socks at the sale price!” Mrs. Mitty’s face was hot with frustration, “They said they weren’t on sale but the tag said! 2 for 50 cents!” Walter agreed absent-mindedly “Oh really? Ok.”
“Let’s go already! Start the car.” Mrs. Mitty took her seat as Walter Mitty started the car. He carefully navigated out of the parking lot as to not upset Mrs. Mitty even more than she already was, but the effort was futile: “Walter, do you smell that? Wait, have you been smoking again? I’ve been telling you not to smoke! It’s dreadful for you!” Walter replied defensively, “Oh jeez, I’m just finishing up this last packet, I promised I’d quit and I will…”
“Good! You know I hate the smoke; it’s suffocating. Not to mention that now we have to wash those clothes or you’ll smell like cigarettes!”
“Yea, I know..” Wanting to distract himself from the grumpy wife sitting next to him, he looks out the window and sees a bar with anti-alcohol posters around it. They looked like they could date to a few years back…

…”Quick drive away! We got em!” The gangsters laughed as they started the car.
“Alright let’s go!” The car sped up and took its leave as the bar behind them went up in flames. “That’s what they get for refusing to sell our beer, they definitely had it comin’” said Tony with a mischievous grin, “Alright Mitty, what’s next?” Mitty thought a moment before responding, “There’s one more bar down here that needs persuadin’.” The notorious pair made their way up to the old bar, Lorettie’s Bar & Grill. There were propaganda posters all around it declaring things like, “Gin is the devil’s juice!” Or “Liquor is a killer!” As the pair strolled into the bar, the host didn’t seem the least bit afraid. Once they came up closer, however they could see the anxiety and sweat dripping from the host’s forehead. “What brings you two here? You know I’ve been selling your beer and no one else’s…” Tony laughed with a derisive tone, “Sure pal… You certain you ain’t been selling someone else’s booze, say… Al Falone’s kinda liquor?” The host went pale as if coreopsis had just set in, “No- uh.. of course not” Mitty smirked at him, “Oh really, eh… Then you won’t mind if I take a swig from our beer right now?” The host, Paul Bradly, was really beginning to panic, just by looking at the three you could tell something was going on. The customers, however stayed silent. They knew that Mitty and his partner were trouble. Paul slowly and sneakily put his hand behind him; he was trying to reach for his pistol, but Mitty was quicker. He pulled out his revolver as quickly as it took Paul to blink, “I don’t think so.” Mitty was very intimidating, the delivery of that line made everyone in the bar begin to whisper.
“Alright! I’ll sell your beer! Just please…spare me…”
“Ok, don’t soil yourself just yet. Tony, go get the beer from the trunk I’ll be watching this guy.”
“Sure thing pal, be right back! As for you,” Tony pointed menacingly at the host, “don’t you go nowhere!” He began to laugh at his own joke. Mitty was still pointing the gun at Paul, “So how’s the family?” Paul ignored the question and ducked really fast while getting his weapon. “Shoot!” Gunshots fired! Pew pew! Bing bing! Pa Pa! Pandemonium consumed the bar. Customers screeched and cried for help. Beer bottles smashed. Cutlery falling to the ground. Plates and glasses shattering. Tony had shown up for backup, “I got your back Mitty!” Sirens were ringing in the distance. “Time to blow this joint! We’ll be back Paul! You just wait, you’ll regret this!” They fled, but they were gonna be back and they meant business.

Plot Point Photos – “Father and Son”

In the short story, “Father and Son”, written by Bernard MacLaverty we are introduced to a family of two. Although they are father and son, they do not have much in common other than the fact that they live together. Ever since the mother in family passed away, they drift apart, both have personal conflicts, and a conflict between them. The father in the family wants to talk to his son and bond with him like they used to. Unfortunately he has severe anxiety and lacks the initiative he needs to really have a conversation with his son. The son, has his own problems and a life outside the house albeit, a dangerous one that possibly has to do with drugs. He does not want to deal with his father because he believes he is a coward. This story ends in tragedy as the father and son don’t end up communicating until the bitter end.

1) Exposition
“I know that in a few minutes he will come to look at me sleeping. He will want to check that I came home last night” (MacLaverty 165).

This quote establishes the emotional and physical setting by stating that they are at home and by showing the disconnect between the characters. They show this by telling us the son’s thoughts; his thoughts show that he is pretending to be asleep in an effort to avoid his dad. It also tells us that the dad cares about his son and wants to check on him.

2) Initiating Incident
“If I leave him alone he will break my heart anyway. I must speak to him. Tonight at tea. If he is in” (MacLaverty 166).

This quote tells us that there is conflict between the father and son. Not only that, but it shows that the father wants to take action. It also demonstrates that the fathers seems to be putting off the conversation for a later time; this means that the father is nervous about talking to his son.

3) Rising Action
“Your hands shake in the morning, Da, because you’re a coward. You think the world is waiting round the corner to blow your head off…Son you’re living on borrowed time. Your hand shook when you got home” (MacLaverty 167).

This is when the conflict is getting more complex. We now see more layers of conflict. The son thinks his father is a coward and the father worries for his son’s well-being, but neither of them are actually speaking. The characters are starting to develop along with the conflict.

4) Rising Action
“For two years I never heard a scrape from you…Watched scenes from London on the news…I know you son, you are easily led…’I had to go and collect you. Like a dog’”(MacLaverty 167).

We are shown more information that adds more layers to the conflict. This quote adds more to the conflict between the father and son by bringing up past events. We see that the father and son have been having issues for a long time and continue to miscommunicate. The conflict thickens.

5) Rising Action
“The door swings open and he pushes a hand-gun beneath the pillow” (MacLaverty 169).

This quote foreshadows what might happen to the son. The father questions his son’s life outside the house because he saw the gun. This action shows that the son is in danger, or could be bringing harm to others. We can clearly tell that the climax is nearing.

6) Climax
“There is a bang. A dish cloth drops from my hand and I run to the kitchen door” (MacLaverty 169).

This is the highest point of interest and where the main event unfolds. We know that the son is in danger and how the relationship between the father and son might end. The story reaches its peak and from here begins to fall.

7) Falling Action
“Not believing, I look into the hallway…My son is lying on the floor…The news has come to my door” (MacLaverty 169).

This shows the father confirming what happened to his son and we are nearing the end. We begin to understand what happened and loose ends are tied. The conflict has been resolved.

8) Denouement
“I take my sons limp head in my hands and see a hole in his nose that should not be there…My son, let me put my arms around you” (MacLaverty 169).

The concluding sentences in the short story. This describes and confirms what happened implicitly. It also shows the end of their relationship after all the hardship between them. The father lost his son and the story has ended.

Character Sketch – Two Fishermen

Michael Foster is the main character in Morley Callaghan’s, “Two Fishermen”. He is described as a, “tall, long-legged, eager young fellow” (Callaghan 1). He lives on the countryside and works as, “the only reporter on the town newspaper, The Examiner” (Callaghan 1). He is eager to work and is great at his job; it is easy for him to get information from others thanks to his friendly and soft spoken nature. He continues to work in this small town, but has ambitions of building up an impressive profile, so he can, “go to the city someday and work on an important newspaper” (Callaghan 1). Concerning wealth, Michael seems to be in the lower-middle class, as he is still young and just starting his career. He also seems to have a high school to college level education because he is good at asking questions and writing reports.

Michael is not in any romantic relationships, but is liked by the town’s people and acquainted with several people like the sheriff. He also began a friendship with Smitty, who is a hangman, when they fished together. During this time, Michael interviewed Smitty to get information on the Thomas Delaney case for the paper. This event proved that Michael can manipulate others into giving the information he needs. Michael is easy-going and doesn’t like hurting others feelings, but is afraid to stand up against the town’s people. He is afraid because he does not want to be judged, or become another target for the town’s people. This fear is what led to the betrayal Smitty felt when Michael didn’t stand up against the town’s people and let one of them throw one of the fish Smitty gave him. Despite not doing anything about it, Michael does believe the way they treated Smitty was wrong.

Capital Punsihment in “Two Fishermen”

Canada used to use capital punishment but eventually took it out of the Canadian Criminal Code in 1976. When it was first introduced in 1865 it was used for criminals who committed rape, treason or murder but this changed as time went on.  In the early 60’s rules changed to only use capital punishment for premeditataed murder or the murder of a police officer, warden or guard. Then the last executions were carried out and as I mentioned before, capital punishment was taken out of the Criminal Code in 1976. According to this history, if the short story “Two Fishermen” written by Morley Callaghan, were taking place in Canada it would’ve likely taken place in the 1940’s or 1950’s because that was before there was any rule change on capital punishment.

Continuing on from “Two Fishermen” Thomas Delaney was put on death row for murdering the man who molested his wife. I do not believe he should’ve been put on death row because this crime was emotional, his crime does not merit death row (according to modern rules) and after spending a long time in jail he could likely change and know what he did was wrong. Delaney really could’ve spent about 20 years in jail instead of being killed because what he did was out of emotion for his wife and after that amount of time he could regret what he did and it’s not likely he would kill anyone again (assumed from the fact that he murdered for a specific reason that is not likely to repeat).

photo from : http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4800074/More-95-cent-adult-farmed-fish-deformed.html