Arthur Miller is a fantastic writer. 4 of 5 stars to one his most known works, Death of a Salesman, written in 1949. Most Americans read this in middle school as a required book for their English courses. I am not positive when I read this, but I re-read it as part of my English degree in college. I enjoyed it more the second-time around, but it is still a very rough book to read. Not in terms of bad writing, but in terms of topics and emotions.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It focuses on the Loman family. The patriarch has been a salesman for over 30 years, most of his adult life. But eventually, it ends, and he’s forced to face the reality of a 60+ year old man in the mid 20th century between the two world wars, where everything was not so cozy in America. The play touches on themes of mental illness, depression, parenting, suicide, life’s purpose, the role of a father and husband, etc. I’m not fond of the main character, nor will most readers be. He’s quite tragic and unable to really do the right thing for everyone else. But it’s not entirely his fault; this was a bit of an issue in society at the time.
Miller’s talent is top notch. He clearly can capture the mental state of his characters, who each struggle with things we all struggle with. They take it to a newer and higher level, but it’s still something we can all relate to in our lives, whether it’s a teacher, father, uncle, grandfather, or another person in our lives, we have seen this happen. And it’s not pretty. The various passages and speeches by each of the characters are quite strong, pushing you as a reader to think about what society has done to us. But then again… we all have choices and should know better. The book makes you think… a lot… and for that, it does an excellent job at being one we should all read, or at least watch the play acted out.
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